No. 1 South Carolina women's basketball hands No. 3 LSU its first loss to remain sole undefeated team
Final: South Carolina 88, LSU 64
After much anticipation leading up to the undefeated matchup, No. 1 South Carolina downs No. 3 LSU 88-64 to remain the only unbeaten team in Division I basketball.
LSU took its first loss of the season, falling to 23-1; the Gamecocks improve 25-0, 12-0 in the SEC.
“They only want to win and they're going to do their part for that. to happen,” coach Dawn Staley said. “It just clicks. They just respect each other, they hold each other accountable.”
The Gamecocks jumped out to an 18-2 start making a statement early. The Tigers fought back to hang around but couldn’t get over the hump.
Kamilla Cardoso paced South Carolina with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Zia Cooke followed with 17 points, and Aliyah Boston added 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
Alexis Morris scored a game-high 23 points on 29 shots. Angel Reese fell short of her 24th straight double-double behind an intense defensive effort by Brea Beal. Reese was held to 16 points on 5-for-15 shooting and nearly fouled out with four fouls.
The nation’s best defense showed up and then some. South Carolina held the Tigers to 64 points, 18 below their season average.
The sold-out crowd of over 18,000 cheered on the defensive clinic. When Beal locked up a Tigers guard leaving her nowhere to go but dribble side-to-side above the arc, the fans roared. After Aliyah Boston bodied Reese in the paint, blocking the attempt which dropped Reese to the ground — that earned a standing ovation.
WHAT A BLOCK BY ALIYAH BOSTON 😳 pic.twitter.com/KigsnoAF50— ESPN (@espn) February 12, 2023
“Our fans, they’re students of the game,” Staley said. “They understand how we created our success, and it's on the backbone of playing defense.”
The Gamecock's physicality proved too much for LSU. South Carolina outrebounded the Tigers 43-25, and scored 46 points in the paint compared to 38.
Last Sunday, Staley’s squad went into Connecticut and beat No. 4 UConn. In November, they battled then-No. 2 Stanford and won in overtime. South Carolina is now in a league of its own as the sole undefeated team in DI basketball.
Hanging directly above Gamecocks’ basket is their 2022 national championship banner. And much like the banner, this season's rendition of South Carolina stands above the rest.
End 3Q South Carolina 64, LSU 48
South Carolina’s defense is in the driver’s seat.
LSU cut the lead to single digits multiple times, but the Tigers cannot string together enough stop-and-scores.
Locking down the Tigers draws roars of cheers. Aliyah Boston’s late block on Angel Reese, earned a standing ovation.
The Gamecocks outscored LSU 22-16 in the third.
⏰ Halftime: South Carolina 42, LSU 32
The Gamecocks continued to hit the gas in the second, but LSU hung in there not allowing South Carolina to completely run away with it.
Though anytime the Tigers withered away the lead, South Carolina turned it on jumping to a new level.
Zia Cooke continues to lead the Gamecocks with 11 points, Aliyah Boston follows 10 points.
Both teams committed six turnovers but South Carolina took advantage 13-5 on points off turnovers.
Alexis Morris topped all scorers with 15 points. No other Tiger recorded more than three points. South Carolina led LSU to 43% shooting and 33% from three.
End 1Q: South Carolina 24, LSU 15
The Gamecocks are on fire. South Carolina leads by nine, but took control of the game with an early 16-point lead.
The nation’s third-best offense hasn’t been match for South Carolina’s top-ranked defense after the first 10 minutes.
Brea Beal drew the Angel Reese defensive assignment and is acing the test so far. Reese has just two points on 1-of-4 from the field.
LSU’s second-leading scorer Alexis Morris hobbled off to the locker room after landing awkwardly but returned a few minutes later. Morris leads LSU with seven points which helped the Tigers stop the bleeding.
Zia Cooke leads all scorers with a game-high nine points on 4-of-5 shooting.
🔥 Gamecocks start 6-0
South Carolina is asserting its dominance early taking a 6-0 start.
Aliyah Boston, Kierra Fletcher and Zia Cooke each have two points.
LSU committed two turnovers and has yet to attempt a field goal. Kim Mulkey took an early timeout less than 2 minutes into the game.
6-0 RUN FOR THE GAMECOCKS TO START THE GAME‼️ IT. IS. LOUD!— South Carolina Women's Basketball (@GamecockWBB) February 12, 2023
📺 ESPN https://t.co/1su2ba2s4T pic.twitter.com/XqlKOI0p0p
Tipoff minutes away + starting lineups
A sellout crowd at Colonial Life Arena is itching for this undefeated matchup between No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 3 LSU.
a sellout crowd is READY pic.twitter.com/Som5cX8PSv— Amna (@amna__subhan) February 12, 2023
The Gamecocks' season-high attendance record this season is 15,444 against Missouri. This will surely surpass that.
🐔 South Carolina
- 1. Zia Cooke
- Victoria Saxton
- Aliyah Boston
- Brea Beal
- Kierra Fletcher
- Alexis Morris
- LaDazhia Williams
- Angel Reese
- Jasmine Carson
- Flau'jae Johnson
Previewing No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 3 LSU
It’s the women’s college basketball Super Bowl. No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 3 LSU, the two final unbeaten schools in all of DI basketball.
South Carolina (24-0, 11-0 SEC) battles LSU (23-0, 11-0 SEC) with the conference regular season title potentially on the line.
The Gamecocks have been here before. The reigning champions know how to grind out a difficult, at times, ugly win. So far this season, South Carolina has beaten No. 6 Stanford (76-71 OT) and No. 5 UConn (81-77). Both were scrappy wins where the Gamecocks stormed back from a double-digit deficit.
MORE: The tale of the tape for the LSU vs. South Carolina showdown on Super Sunday
Aliyah Boston, despite not leading her team in scoring this season, did in those games. Boston faces double and even triple teams when she touches the ball, but she finds that makes opponents feel her presence. Boston averages 13.3 points and 10 rebounds on the season.
LSU, however, is untested. The Tigers brought in a whole group of new players this season, and haven’t faced an opponent currently ranked in the top-25. In their last two outings, the Tigers escaped Georgia (82-77 OT) and Texas A&M (72-66). But what LSU lacks in experience, they make up for in bravado.
Angel Reese, a transfer from Maryland has soared under Kim Mulkey’s guidance. Reese rose to National Player of the Year heights with 23.5 points and 15.8 rebounds per game. A year behind Boston, Reese is following a similar path. Last season Boston broke the SEC record with 27 straight double-doubles, so far Reese has notched 23 consecutive with a chance to make 24 against the Gamecocks.
RELATED: How to beat a juggernaut like South Carolina in 5 not-so-easy steps
Get your popcorn ready because battle on the block will be fun to watch.
But the talent on both teams doesn’t end at Boston and Reese. Zia Cooke for South Carolina and Alexis Morris on LSU act as a 1B to their teams' 1A elite forwards.
Cooke took a step forward offensive leading the Gamecocks with 14.8 points shooting 35.6% on 3-pointers. Morris scores 14 ppg and 4.5 assists while shooting 38.9% from beyond the arc. Cooke and Morris facilitate their respective offenses and do the unsung work that leads to an undefeated team.
What you need to know about South Carolina vs. LSU
No. 1 South Carolina and No. 3 LSU match up pretty evenly. In several SEC stats, and some overall too, South Carolina sits atop the pack with LSU second — or vice versa.
RELATED: 8 numbers to know ahead of the undefeated showdown
Amongst every conference South Carolina (33.9 points) has the largest victory margin, LSU (32.4) is second. The Gamecocks are No. 1 in defense in the nation holding teams to 48.3 points per contest. The Tigers have the third-best offense scoring 86.7 points a game.
Here's a full statistical comparison:
|SOUTH CAROLINA||TEAM STATS||LSU|