No. 1 South Carolina stays perfect with 98-36 win over Kentucky
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) —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.
Kamilla Cardoso had 12 points, 11 rebounds 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.
The highlight was Watkins, the 6-foot-3 sophomore, who stole the ball in 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.
— Southeastern Conference (@SEC) January 16, 2024
The crowd went crazy after Watkins’ slam. But the thrill ride was far from over.
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.
- With the 98-36 win over Kentucky, South Carolina marked its second-largest margin of victory over an SEC opponent at 62 (most was 63 vs. Vanderbilt, 1/14/21).
- The Gamecocks’ defense made its presence known, holding Kentucky to just 24.6 percent shooting from the field (the lowest for an opponent in SEC play so far this season), and allowed only two points in the final 10 minutes of play.
- Ashlyn Watkins had her 15th career game in scoring in double figures, highlighted by a dunk in the first quarter. The dunk was just the second in program history, with Watkins also putting down the first last season against Clemson (11/17/23).
- Kamilla Cardoso finished with her ninth double-double of the season after starting off hot in the first quarter, scoring four of her 12 points all while grabbing three blocks and five boards within the first six minutes.
- MiLaysia Fulwiley led the team for the fifth time this season with 14 points, making an impressive 3-for-3 from behind the arc start in the first half.
- Te-Hina Paopao finished in double figures for the 13th time this season after scoring 10 of her 14 in the second half, finishing 4-for-5 from the field and perfect 4-for-4 behind the free throw line.
- Tessa Johnson had a huge second quarter, scoring nine of her 11 points after hitting all three of her attempts from the 3.