Top-ranked South Carolina holds off No. 11 Utah

Top-ranked South Carolina holds off No. 11 Utah

23 hours ago
South Carolina Athletics

Photo: South Carolina Athletics

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) – Kamilla Cardoso scored 17 points and Te-Hina Paopao added 15 on Sunday to help top-ranked South Carolina hold off No. 11 Utah 78-69 at the Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase.

Freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley and sophomore Chloe Kitts each added 11 for the Gamecocks (9-0), who have beaten four ranked teams this season.

Alissa Pili made 15 of her 23 shots from the floor and finished with 37 points for Utah (8-2).

South Carolina led for all but 43 seconds during the game, but led by just seven points at the half and five after three quarters.

Pili helped Utah cut the lead to two points on several occasions, but South Carolina always responded with a run.

It was still a five-point lead with 3 1/2 minutes left when Pili hit a fall-away in the lane over Cardoso to make it 69-65. A layup by Dasia Young the next time down the floor cut the lead to 69-67.

But Utah could not get over the hump and South Carolina scored nine of the game’s final 11 points. Utah’s 6-foot-2 star Pili had 21 first-half points, but picked up her third foul on an offensive screen with just under five minutes to play in the half.

Utah had won six in a row since falling by seven points to Baylor on Nov. 14.

Notables 

  • The Gamecocks had a strong offensive start, shooting 73.3 percent (11-for-15) in the first quarter for the highest FG% this season in the opening quarter.
  • South Carolina proved its depth, with the bench outscoring the Utes 18-0 through the first half alone and finishing 26-2 over Utah. 
  • The Gamecock defense locked in when it mattered most, holding Utah to just 12 points on 33.3 percent shooting in the period while South Carolina hit 54.5 percent from the field to close out the win.
  • Te-Hina Paopao became a key factor for South Carolina in the second half, putting up 10 of her 15, including a clutch 3 with under five minutes left to keep the Gamecocks on top. Paopao has now made at least two 3s in every game she has appeared in this season. 
  • MiLaysia Fulwiley went a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc, hitting her first to round out an 8-0 run by the Gamecocks in the first quarter, then hit her second to finish scoring in the first half on an additional 6-0 run.
  • Chloe Kitts ended in double digits for the seventh time this season, packing on seven boards and four assists to finish out strong on both sides of the ball 
  • Kamilla Cardoso led the Gamecocks with 17 points, with seven coming in just the first five minutes of the game.

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