The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: South Carolina women's basketball completes undefeated regular season in win over Georgia

South Carolina women's basketball team claimed the SEC regular season championship following its 73-63 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs at Colonial Life Arena on Feb. 26, 2023. The Gamecocks remain undefeated heading into the SEC tournament next week in Greenville, South Carolina.

The No. 1 South Carolina women's basketball team maintained its 35-game home win streak and undefeated 2022-2023 season with a 73-63 win over Georgia in its home finale on Sunday afternoon.

In addition to the victory, South Carolina celebrated its five senior players with a pregame presentation as a part of Senior Day. Head coach Dawn Staley said her decision of putting all five seniors on the court at the same time was "unintentional."

“I did want to get them in and out of the game so the crowd can appreciate them," Staley said. "I didn’t know I had all of them out there at the same time.” 

The Gamecocks and Bulldogs were engaged in a physical defensive battle during the first half. Georgia had 10 turnovers to the South Carolina's eight, and the teams combined to commit 19 personal fouls  — 12 by the Bulldogs and seven by the Gamecocks.  

The second quarter featured extended scoring droughts from both teams. South Carolina's scoreless stretch lasted three minutes and 46 seconds while Georgia's lasted six minutes and 15 seconds. Georgia ended its scoring drought within the first two minutes of the second half with a jumper by fifth-year guard Diamond Battles, who ended as the team's leading scorer with 20 points. 

After halftime adjustments, both teams played higher-quality basketball with fewer turnovers, as South Carolina committed six turnovers to Georgia’s two in the second half. However, physicality increased in the second half as the Gamecocks and Bulldogs committed a combined 27 fouls — six within the first three minutes of the third quarter. 

The Gamecocks controlled the paint on both sides of the ball throughout the game. South Carolina grabbed 47 total rebounds, including 18 offensive rebounds, while Georgia collected only 25 total rebounds and three offensive rebounds. 

Senior forward Aliyah Boston recorded her 18th double-double of the season and led the scoring for the Gamecocks in a 25-point, 11-rebound performance. Boston said her mission was to try and get as many paint points as possible.

"I was just trying to make sure that I demand the ball even if I didn't get it," Boston said. "I could still make a pass out but just getting in touch.” 

Junior center Kamilla Cardoso was second in scoring for the Gamecocks, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds and ending her regular season with seven double-doubles.

After losing in heartbreaking fashion in last year's SEC tournament championship game, senior guard Zia Cooke said that memory is behind them as the team heads into the postseason.

“I think what happened last year is just what happened last year. We've moved on already," Cooke said. "We're just focused on, of course, winning it this year.

The Gamecocks look to continue its undefeated run in the SEC tournament, entering as the No. 1 seed in the conference and the only remaining unbeaten team in the nation. The Gamecocks will make its first appearance during the tournament's quarterfinal round at noon on March 3 in Greenville, South Carolina. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.