Cardoso, No. 1 South Carolina beat Georgia 70-56 for SEC record 43rd straight regular season win

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina coach Dawn Staley knows better than anyone how hard it is to win in the Southeastern Conference.

Staley and her Gamecocks reached another milestone to show that these days, they have few rivals in one of college basketball’s most difficult leagues.

Kamilla Cardoso had 16 points and 16 rebounds as No. 1 South Carolina rallied past Georgia 70-56 on Sunday to win its record 43rd straight Southeastern Conference regular-season game.

The Gamecocks (25-0, 12-0 SEC) broke a mark Tennessee and the late, great Pat Summitt achieved with 42 straight SEC victories from January 1992 through a loss to Georgia nearly four years later.

“I’m just proud of the former players and the current players to put together some of the most historical stretches in this league,” Staley said. “It says something to be able to do that because this is a hard league.”

Georgia and Javyn Nicholson proved that for much of this one. Nicholson had a career-high 27 points and the Bulldogs were ahead 37-28 early in the third quarter.

That’s when Cardoso and the Gamecocks reasserted themselves to take control.

“I feel like we just didn’t get in the flow defensively,” said Chloe Kitts, who scored 10 of her 12 points in the final two quarters. “At the end of the day, we stopped (Nicholson) in the second half and we pulled through.”

Behind Cardoso, Te-Hina Paopao, Kitts and MiLaysia Fulwiley, South Carolina cranked it up to remain the country’s only undefeated Division I team.

Cardoso scored three straight points and Kitts had six of her team’s next eight points to draw within 40-39. Fulwiley, the dynamic freshman, took over after that. Her basket put South Carolina in front for good and she followed with two foul shots and a spinning drive through lane that resulted in an easy basket for Ashlyn Watkins.

Georgia kept things within single digits until the final period when back-to-back 3s by Oregon transfer Paopao widened things to 60-48.

The Bulldogs (11-14, 2-10) could not respond and lost their 18th straight to the Gamecocks.

Nicholson surpassed her previous best of 24 set earlier this season against Ball State. She added 12 rebounds for her 14th double-double this year.

Paopao had 15 points off five 3-pointers as South Carolina won its 55th straight game at home. It was a record-setting fourth sellout of 18,000-seat Colonial Life Arena this season and featured College GameDay in the hour before tipoff.

Cardoso, a senior, finished with her 12th double-double this season and the 28th of her career.

It was Nicholson and the Bulldogs who pushed the pace early on with a 17-2 surge between the first and second quarters to build a 23-17 lead.

They remained ahead, 37-28 after Nicholson had a pair of three-point plays and her opening shot of the third quarter before things fell apart.


Georgia: It’s been a tough season for the Bulldogs, who won 22 games and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament a season ago. They certainly looked like they had the goods to upset the country’s best team before getting overwhelmed down the stretch.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks off-again, on-again performance of late — they trailed Tennessee 28-25 at the half before winning this past Thursday night — is ripe for problems given the one-and-done nature of the NCAA Tournament.

599th WIN

South Carolina’s Staley won her 599th career game in a coaching career she never aspired to. After 172 wins in eight seasons at Temple, she’s won 427 games in 16 seasons with the Gamecocks.

“Hopefully, she’ll stay in it a lot time because she’ll break a lot more records,” Georgia coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said.


Georgia plays at Mississippi on Thursday night.

South Carolina takes on Alabama on Thursday night.


AP women’s college basketball: and

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