South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from domination of Kentucky

South Carolina basketball dominated Kentucky by 48 points in Rupp Arena to stay undefeated.

South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley with guard Tessa Johnson and forward Chloe Kitts
South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley with guard Tessa Johnson and forward Chloe Kitts / Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Basketball vs. Kentucky Wildcats
Thumbs Up 1: Balanced and Efficient in Every Way

It is extremely rare for a college basketball team to have a balanced scoring effort while all of their contributors played efficiently, but that's exactly what South Carolina basketball did on Sunday.

Carolina had 7 players score at least 9 points, and all 9 players who got in the game shot at least 50% from the field. Every player logged at least one assist, 7 had at least 3 assists, and 8 of 9 had more assists than turnovers (and the one who didn't was given a turnover for an undeserved technical foul).

Every player pulled down at least 1 rebound and at least 1 steal or block, and 5 different players hit a 3-pointer in the game. They made over 90% of their free throws and won the turnover battle. They shot over 60% from the field and from behind the 3-point line.

In every way, the Gamecocks were efficient and well-balanced.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Kentucky Wildcats
Thumbs Up 2: No Kamilla, No Problem

Kamilla Cardoso has taken the last two games off to allow her body to rest after the heavy workload from playing in Olympic qualifying in the middle of the SEC season.

On Sunday, the other Gamecock post players held things down in her absence.

Chloe Kitts had a double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds) with 5 assists and 2 blocks, Sania Feagin set career-high numbers in points (16) and blocks (5), and Ashlyn Watkins was a perfect 6-6 from the field as she scored 13 points in just 19 minutes. Sakima Walker did some nice things in her 11 minutes, too, but she fouled out a bit prematurely.

The Gamecocks are better with Kamilla Cardoso, but it is nice to know they can handle business even with their best post player out.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Kentucky Wildcats
Thumbs Up 3: Defense Travels

There's an old adage in basketball circles that "defense travels." The idea is that playing in one's home gym might provide an advantage to a team's shooting, but a good defensive team can play defense anywhere. The Gamecocks proved the saying to be true against Kentucky.

Kentucky shot just 34% from the field and 29% from the arc on Sunday, and they turned the ball over 19 times. This was a direct result of Coach Staley's team continuing to attack Kentucky's ballhandlers and shooters with aggressive perimeter defense and incredible length all over the floor.

The team finished the game with 21 stocks (10 blocks plus 11 steals), and every player logged at least 1 in those categories. It was a special day for the Carolina defense. If the offense wasn't scoring so quickly, they probably would have held the Wildcats below 50 points just like they did back in January.