No. 1 South Carolina beats No. 2 LSU in matchup of women’s unbeatens

COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 1 South Carolina delivered in its highest-stakes game of the season so far, beating No. 2 LSU 88-64 to become the lone undefeated women’s basketball team in Division I.

The Gamecocks (24-0, 12-0 SEC) scored the first six points less than two minutes into the first quarter and never gave up the lead to the Tigers (23-1, 11-1). LSU had not trailed by more than three points all season but were down 10 to South Carolina at halftime.

South Carolina’s nation-leading win streak extends to 31, and it has won 39 consecutive games at Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks’ defense was their greatest strength, holding LSU to a season-low 64 points and keeping Angel Reese below a double-double for the first time this season. The Tigers star finished with 16 points and four rebounds.

Starters carry the load for South Carolina

The Gamecocks have leaned heavily on their depth all season, but the starting five thrived Sunday. Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke combined for 31 points, Brea Beal added 11 and Kierra Fletcher and Victaria Saxton added six apiece.

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South Carolina had one of its best performances from the field all season, shooting 57.4% and 33.3% on 3-pointers. The team also dominated the boards, out rebounding LSU – the No. 2 team in the nation in rebound margin – 43-25.

Kamilla Cardoso comes up clutch again

Against one of the best rebounding teams in the country, 6-foot-7 center Kamilla Cardoso was a machine on the boards, bringing down nine in the first half alone. She finished with a team-high 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Cardoso, who shoots only 65% on free throws, also made all four of her attempts, even though South Carolina only went 16-for-28 at the line as a team.

Cardoso is on a hot streak after leading South Carolina with 17 points and 11 rebounds at No. 4 Connecticut last Sunday. The double-double was her sixth of the season and second against a ranked opponent.

Alexis Morris keeps LSU afloat

Dawn Staley said Friday that she was ‘scared’ of Tigers guard Alexis Morris, and her concerns proved legitimate. Morris put up 23 points, including 15 by halftime. Reese, who averages 23.5 points per game, was stifled by the defensive pressure from Boston, and No. 3 scorer Flau’jae Johnson struggled with no points in 11 minutes

Gamecocks redshirt freshman Raven Johnson struggled to guard Morris, but graduate transfer Fletcher dominated LSU’s standout after playing just four minutes at UConn. Fletcher held Morris scoreless after Johnson checked out five minutes before halftime, and coach Dawn Staley ran a lineup that included both point guards in the second half in order to keep Fletcher on Morris.

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