For the last four seasons, the SEC women's basketball tournament story has been the same. Dawn Staley and her South Carolina women's basketball team bulldozed their way to the conference championship and took home an SEC ring.
But this year, in a high-scoring 95-89 battle, unranked Arkansas put an end to the streak and wrote their own story, one that ended with them upsetting the No. 12 Gamecocks and advancing the conference semifinals.
Arkansas put points on the board first with a three-pointer from Jailyn Mason, but South Carolina was just getting warmed up. The Gamecocks battled the Razorbacks in the first ten minutes and held the lead for over half the quarter. Arkansas then led by one heading into the first break, 22-21, and extended the lead to three after a jumper from Malica Monk.
A three-pointer from Mason off an assist from Monk gave Arkansas its biggest lead of the night at that point, and the Razorbacks held the advantage through the remainder of the half, extending their gap to as much as 10 points. The Gamecocks put up a fight in the third and fourth quarters, coming within one, but their efforts were not enough, and they ultimately took the loss.
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Chelsea Dungee led the Razorbacks with 31 points, hitting a perfect 13-for-13 from the free throw line, notching a pair of three-pointers and adding eight field goals to her total. Teammates Alexis Tolefree, Monk and Mason also scored in double digits with 18, 16 and 14 points, respectively.
Two Gamecocks toped the 20-point mark with Mikiah Herbert Harrington scoring 27 and Tyasha Harris adding 24. South Carolina's point total of 89 is its second-highest conference total and its fifth highest season total, but the scoring output still wasn't enough to take down the persistent Razorbacks.
Not one, but two SEC tourney upsets
South Carolina wasn't the only team from the AP's Top 25 Poll to get upset in the SEC tournament, as Missouri took down the No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats in an equally exciting fashion, 70-68.
The Tigers led from the start, and after 40 minutes of back-and-forth, they left with the win they desired, surviving to the semifinals of the SEC tournament. Missouri will now face Mississippi State for a chance to compete in the conference final. The semifinal game will be the first in Missouri history, a record that will no doubt inspire the team to want to make more history in its next outing.
Neither Arkansas and Missouri were expected to advance this far by any means, but this is March. And if these games are any indication of what's to come in the NCAA tournament, it's going to be a wild month.
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