Now that was taking 2021 out with a loud bang in women’s basketball. Here are 11 things to know about Missouri’s 70-69 overtime shocker over No. 1 South Carolina Thursday in Columbia.
1. It snapped the Gamecocks’ 43-game winning streak against unranked opponents, going back to 2018. That had been the longest in the nation.
2. It was Missouri’s first win ever over a top-ranked team, and only the seventh time in history any Associated Press No. 1 in women’s basketball had been taken down by an unranked opponent.
3. The Tigers pulled it off despite missing five players, including the team-leading 16.6 points and 12.7 rebounds a game of Aijha Blackwell, who is out on COVID protocol. Missouri had only eight available players, but one of them was Lauren Hansen, who scored the game-winning layup with 0.1 seconds left.
4. The victory put Missouri’s record at 12-2, and earlier in the year the Tigers pushed Baylor to the wire in Waco, so this shouldn’t have seemed an impossible dream. This season represents a dramatic shift in fortune in Columbia. Last year, Missouri was 9-13. The season before, the Tigers were 9-22.
5. Missouri was one of the few teams to do damage against South Carolina’s defense. The Tigers shot 43.1 percent. The Gamecocks came into the game allowing opponents only 33 percent, the 10th lowest in the nation.
6. Take away the mostly inside scoring of Aliyah Boston and Kamilla Cardoso for South Carolina, and the rest of the Gamecocks shot only 28 percent, missing 38 of 53 attempts.
7. Missouri was out-rebounded by 10, outscored in the paint 42-32, in second chance points 22-9 and in bench points 22-2, and still won.
8. We might see the rare event of a team losing and staying No. 1. The Gamecocks are still 12-1 and own six victories over ranked teams, five of them against top-10 opponents. With that shiny body of work, it might be hard to drop them. For the record, Stanford at 8-3 was No. 2 in the most recent AP poll. Louisville at 11-1 is No. 2 with the coaches. Should Stanford somehow end up No. 1, it would mean the defending national champions for both men (Baylor) and women are atop the polls
9. The result left Arizona, North Carolina and Colorado as the lone unbeatens in women’s basketball.
10. South Carolina will have to wait for a chance to wash away the bad taste. The Gamecocks’ Sunday contest with Mississippi has been scrubbed because of COVID matters in the Rebels’ program, so their next game is at LSU next Thursday. The Tigers are 13-1 so that won’t be very easy, either.
11. Oh, and there’s this for possible future reference. South Carolina’s last loss to an unranked SEC team was way back in 2017. To Missouri. On a last-second shot. The Gamecocks ended up national champions.