The No. 1 South Carolina women’s basketball team won its third game in a row to start the season, defeating the Clemson Tigers 109-40.
This is the thirteenth straight win for the Gamecocks over its in-state rival. The last time that these two teams met, South Carolina beat Clemson by 54 points, 85-31, on Nov. 17, 2022.
The Gamecocks started the first half on a 14-2 run, and senior guard Te-Hina Paopao made her first four attempts from the field.
South Carolina continued its dominance on both sides of the floor for the rest of the first half, leading 62-15 at halftime. The Gamecocks shot 53.3% from 3-point range in the opening two quarters, and converted a total of 26 shots before the break.
"We could not have envisioned this is how we're playing back in June," head coach Dawn Staley said.
South Carolina continued to run up the score in the second half, and a large lead allowed Staley to give her bench players more playing time. Players off the bench accounted for 42 of the Gamecocks' 83 total shots and scored 54 points, 14 more points that the entire Tigers team.
"People getting opportunities to play, and we can certainly teach from them playing in actual games rather than practice," Staley said after the game.
Freshman guard MiLaysia Fulwiley finished with 18 points, including four 3-pointers on seven attempts. Fulwiley got the crowd on its feet in the first half with a fake behind-the-back pass that led to two points. Less than a minute later, Fulwiley assisted sophomore forward Ashlyn Watkins with a behind-the-back pass.
This is the not the first time Fulwiley has pulled off this flashy move in the middle of the game. Against Notre Dame in the South Carolina's season-opener, Fulwiley executed a complex series of moves in the paint for a layup that caught national attention.
Fulwiley said she learned the moves from the internet, watching highlights of former NBA players.
“I actually first seen it on YouTube,” Fulwiley said. “I think it was (Rajon) Rondo.”
Fulwiley has now scored in double figures in her first three games as a Gamecock, following 17 points against Notre Dame and 12 points earlier this week against Maryland.
Sophomore guard Raven Johnson scored just 6 points but assisted on 17 baskets, which is just one assist short of the single-game school record. Johnson was effective on the defensive end as well, forcing five steals.
"That's the beauty of basketball. Share the ball, find the open person, it's called poetry in motion," Johnson said. "You find the person that's open, they hit the open shot, you celebrate. Assist is like a point, that's how I think of it."
Senior center Kamila Cardoso added another strong game on both sides, posting 15 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks for her second double-double of the season.
South Carolina's offense ended the game shooting 53% from the field while its defense held strong, keeping Clemson to just 22.2% shooting.
With the win, the No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks improve to 3-0 and will host South Dakota State at 7 p.m. on Nov. 20 at Colonial Life Arena.