Cocks by 80? South Carolina basketball dominates MVSU in historic performance

South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley coaching her team during their blow out win over Mississippi Valley State. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley coaching her team during their blow out win over Mississippi Valley State. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports /
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South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley and the Gamecocks are 4-0 and are beating their opponents by over 40 points per game so far this season. Next up on the schedule was the struggling Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils (known as the Devilettes).

The starting lineup returned to normal (Raven Johnson-Te-Hina Paopao-Bree Hall-Chloe Kitts-Kamilla Cardoso) as Te-Hina Paopao was back after an ankle injury. Tessa Johnson, dealing with her own ankle issue, remained out.

Devillette forward Leah Perry did not even attempt to challenge Kamilla Cardoso for the opening tip, and the game was underway. The Gamecocks didn’t score on their first trip down the floor, but Cardoso had a huge block on their first defensive possession. Te-Hina Paopao, in her first game back from a one-game absence, knocked down a 3-pointer to open the USC scoring.

Raven Johnson and Chloe Kitts continued their aggressive play from recent games, picking up the next two buckets for the Gamecocks. A Johnson assist to Cardoso followed by a Paopao corner jumper made the score 12-4 at the first timeout.

The scoring slowed down after the short break, but the reprieve on the Gamecock net was short-lived. After the team scored just 2 points over 3 minutes, Raven Johnson scored 5 points in the next 30 seconds on a pair of free throws and a corner 3-ball.

With 3 blocks and 6 forced turnovers, the 1st quarter came to a merciful close for Mississippi Valley State. South Carolina basketball led 24-6.

The Gamecocks scored 8 quick points in the first 2 minutes as both teams struggled with turnovers. Two turnovers for each team made for some sloppy basketball early in the 2nd period, but Cardoso’s strong day continued as she gobbled up boards, leading to scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates on the offensive glass and starting fast breaks by finding guards quickly after rebounds.

With the score standing 40-10 at the 2nd quarter media timeout, the Gamecocks already had a 15-rebound advantage, had blocked 4 shots, and forced 8 turnovers.

MVSU’s top offensive threat Sh’Diamond McKnight couldn’t get much going against the Carolina defense, and she picked up 3 fouls in the 1st half, and the only player who had enough size to compete down low for MVSU, Lucia Lara, got hurt.

The lopsided basketball continued until the half ended. South Carolina went into the locker room with an astounding 52-12 lead. Te-Hina Paopao, Kamilla Cardoso, MiLaysia Fulwiley, Ashlyn Watkins, and Raven Johnson all had at least 7 points. Paopao, Cardoso, Watkins, Johnson, and Chloe Kitts all had at least 4 rebounds. As a team, USC had 5 blocks and forced 11 turnovers.

The Gamecocks started the 2nd half on a 13-2 run through the first 3 minutes of the half. Raven Johnson, Kamilla Cardoso, and Chloe Kitts led the way in the 3rd quarter. Cardoso increased her block production to 4 swats while Johnson snatched her 5th steal.

The pace slowed a bit, but the run extended to a 17-2 run, making the score 16-14. In the quarter, the Devilettes had a scoring drought that lasted over 5 minutes and a stretch without a field goal make that lasted the rest of the period, stretching over 9 minutes.

Raven Johnson quietly dominated most of the game, and that continued in the 3rd quarter. #25 filled up the box score, having 12 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals about halfway through the quarter when she took a rest.

The 3rd quarter ended with the Gamecocks leading 77-16 and South Carolina basketball fans wondering if the final score could, indeed, be “Cocks by 90.”

Because the Gamecocks only had 10 available players, some starters still played minutes in the blowout 4th quarter. However, the bench unit of Fulwiley-Jah-Watkins-Feagin-Walker played the majority of the period, even with just one guard on the floor.

Kamilla Cardoso picked up a double-double in the 4th quarter, and MiLaysia Fulwiley wowed the crowd with back-to-back alley-oops finishes. The game came to an end a few moments later, and while 90 points were too much to ask for, South Carolina basketball did win 101-19, setting a program record for the fewest points allowed in a game.