LSU head coach Kim Mulkey recognizes No. 1 South Carolina for what they are: better than the rest of the women’s college basketball field.
“I’ll give my utmost respect and comments about how good they are, how big they are, how tall they are,” Mulkey said after LSU’s 88-64 loss to the Gamecocks. “It’s South Carolina, in my opinion, and everyone else. After playing them today, my opinion on that has not changed.
“They have things that we don’t have and a lot of the teams in the country don’t have. We aspire to be there one day.”
No. 3 LSU and South Carolina entered the game as the only unbeaten teams remaining in the country. The Gamecocks stifled Tigers sophomore and Player of the Year candidate Angel Reese, holding her to 16 points and four rebounds and snapping her streak of 23 consecutive double-doubles.
South Carolina’s bench overpowered the Tigers as much as their starting five. Reigning National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston had 14 points and nine rebounds, while junior center Kamilla Cardoso contributed 18 points and 13 rebounds for the only double-double of the game.
“I’ve always said [Cardoso] is a difference-maker. She’s a separator,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. “If we don’t get her production, it’s probably a lot closer game than what it was. She’s a hard guard, and when we have her and Aliyah in at the same time, you have to guard them player-for-player and not necessarily double.”
For Boston, the game served as a measuring stick as the Gamecocks (25-0) enter the final stretch of the season, with five regular-season games remaining.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” Boston said. “I think every time we get battle-tested against a top-five team or whatnot, I think it just shows our maturity.”
Despite registering their first loss, LSU (23-1) also walked away with learnings for the road ahead.
“Be thankful that LSU was on this stage,” said Mulkey, who took over at LSU in 2021 after 21 years and three national championships at Baylor. “Who in the world would have thought that we would be on this stage in Year 2 of rebuilding the program?”