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South Carolina overpowers Angel Reese in big win over LSU

(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

The biggest game of the season delivered in thrilling fashion on Sunday, with South Carolina dominating LSU 88-64 in a battle between the last two unbeaten teams in Division I college basketball.

South Carolina got off to a hot start, taking a 12-point lead under four minutes into the game. It was LSU’s largest deficit of the season up to that point, as the Gamecocks’ lead grew to as much as 24 in the fourth quarter.

LSU seemingly had no answers for South Carolina, while the Gamecocks contained Angel Reese better than any other team the Tigers have faced this season. Reese was held to just three points and no rebounds at halftime and finished with 16 points, four rebounds and four blocks. She was 4-of-14 on field goals and ended the game with four fouls.

Reese’s 14 points tied her lowest points total of the season. The junior’s streak of 23 consecutive double-doubles also came to an end.

Alexis Morris was one of the lone bright spots for the Tigers, scoring 15 of her 23 points in the first half. She and Reese were the only Tigers to finish in double digits.

South Carolina’s bench, meanwhile, was once again instrumental in their win. Senior guard Zia Cooke had 17 points off the bench, and junior center Kamilla Cardoso contributed 18 points and 13 rebounds for the game’s only double-double. Raven Johnson added 10 points of her own off the bench.

Aliyah Boston joined them in double digits with 14 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Brea Beal was all over the court with 11 points and seven rebounds on offense and crucial defense against Reese.

Foul trouble became an issue for the Tigers in the second half, with LaDazhia Williams, Flau’jae Johnson and Sa’Myah Smith all committing at least three fouls before the end of the third.

With the victory in front of a sold-out crowd at Colonial Life Arena, South Carolina extended its consecutive win streak to 31 games, a program record.

“We don’t wanna lose, and we certainly don’t wanna lost in our building. We don’t lose very often here. We wanted to make sure that we took care of it. Our players are driven, they’re competitive, they wanna win at all costs,” said head coach Dawn Staley. “How can you not rise to the challenge of playing in front of 18,000 fans?”