South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from Gamecocks' SEC Championship-clinching win over Alabama

South Carolina basketball dominated the Alabama Crimson Tide for Dawn Staley's 600th win and the team's 8th SEC title in 11 years.

South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley with the SEC Championship trophy
South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley with the SEC Championship trophy / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley made history on Thursday night. The Gamecock head coach pushed her career win total to 600 and led her program to their 8th SEC Championship in the last 11 years. Staley is one of the fastest coaches ever to reach 600 wins (and one of the youngest), and the Gamecocks are the second program ever to win 8 SEC championships in 11 seasons (joining the Pat Summitt-led Tennessee Volunteers).

Playing the Alabama Crimson Tide without Kamilla Cardoso (rest/soreness), Carolina dominated from start to finish as they never trailed in the game. Scoring was at a premium early as the scoreboard read 2-0 until about 5 minutes into the game.

The Gamecocks defense stifled the Crimson Tide, surrendering only 11 total points in the opening half as Alabama shot 15.6% from the floor and 0% from the 3-point line. The 2nd half was a virtual coasting session from Carolina, but they still expanded their lead to 30 points at its largest point.

Ashlyn Watkins, filling in for Cardoso in the starting lineup, logged a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and she and the rest of the post players filled in admirably for the resting star. Watkins, Chloe Kitts, Sania Feagin, and Sakima Walker combined to score 33 points, 27 rebounds, and 8 blocks.

The Gamecocks, as a whole, logged 22 stocks (steals + blocks) as they suffocated the Crimson Tide. No Alabama player shot 50% from the field, and 9 of them shot 33% or worse.

It was another example of South Carolina basketball just being in a league of their own as a mediocre effort from the Gamecocks still ended with a blowout win of a 20-win SEC team.

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