Home College BasketBall South Carolina Breezes Pass Kentucky Behind Te-Hina Paopao Efforts 98-36

South Carolina Breezes Pass Kentucky Behind Te-Hina Paopao Efforts 98-36

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Courtesy Of South Carolina Athletic Communications

Columbia, S.C. —Te-Hina Paopao and MiLaysia Fulwiley scored 14 points each and Ashlyn Watkins had her second career dunk as No. 1 South Carolina rolled past Kentucky 98-36 on Monday night. Freshman Fulwiley and Tessa Johnson were 3-3 from beyond the arc in the first half.

Kamilla Cardoso had 12 points, 11 boards and five blocks as the Gamecocks (16-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) stayed perfect as the country’s last undefeated team.

They began their day with a Martin Luther King Jr. Day visit from Vice President Kamala Harris. They ended it with a bit of showtime from some of their most dynamic players.

“Anytime our lead guards are able to complete passes and have low turnovers it creates an edge,” coach Dawn Staley said. “They scored too.”

Ashlyn Watkins dunk was the show stopper, the 6-foot-3 sophomore, who stole the ball at the Kentucky end, dribbled up court alone and threw down a right-handed jam for the program’s second dunk ever to go along with her jam as a freshman in a win over Clemson in November 2022. The crowd went crazy after Watkins’ slam. But the thrill ride was far from over.

Coach Dawn Staley decided to go small ball to start the second period. Electing to sit Center Camilla Cardosa down. Something she hasn’t usually done all season. Leaving Ahley Watkins and Sania Feagin to control the paint. That didn’t stop Cardosa from having double digit rebounds in the first half.

Raven Johnson and Tessa Johnson had 11 points each and Watkins scored 10. Cardoso posted her ninth double-double of the season and 25th of her career.

Saniah Tyler had 13 points to lead the Wildcats (8-10, 1-3), who were held to their fewest points since a 50-40 loss to Georgia last February.

Kentucky shot 24.6% from the court and 22.2% from three. South Carolina had 34 points off 24 Wildcats turnovers. South Carolina was plus-14 rebounding.

With a substantial lead, coach Staley emptied her bench early. The line-up of underclassman held on to the lead handily. With the last possession in a showcase of class and sportsmanship, Staley told her team to hold the ball and not go for the 100th point of the game. Instead, the Gamecocks take it in with the final score 98-36. South Carolina improves to 16-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC.

UP NEXT:

Kentucky returns home to play Missouri on Sunday.

South Carolina heads to Texas A&M on Sunday.