South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from Gamecocks' NCAA Tournament win over Presbyterian

South Carolina basketball handled the Presbyterian Blue Hose in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament, beating them by 52 points in Colonial Life Arena.
South Carolina basketball forward Sania Feagin
South Carolina basketball forward Sania Feagin / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Basketball vs. Presbyterian Blue Hose
Thumbs Up 1: No Kamilla, No Breezy, No Problem

Dawn Staley was without two key players on Friday as Kamilla Cardoso served her suspension and Bree Hall sat out for precautionary reasons. In the end, it didn't matter.

Presbyterian was powerless to do anything against the Gamecocks as outside of a quick 8-0 stretch in the 2nd quarter, they were outscored 91-31 the rest of the game.

Carolina shot the ball well, they rebounded, they defended aggressively, and they never let up.

The post players in Kamilla Cardoso's absence all shot at least 50% (including Chloe Kitts' 9-9 performance), and they chipped in a combined 45 points, 33 rebounds, and 6 blocks. Kitts and Sania Feagin logged double-doubles, and no one had to play more than 32 minutes even with just 8 players available.

Bree Hall is the only true wing on the roster, but MiLaysia Fulwiley stepped into the "other shooter" role behind Te-Hina Paopao and actually led the team with 5 3-point makes. Raven Johnson and Te-Hina Paopao each took on a little bit of an extra scoring load, combining to score a very efficient 29 points.

Getting both starters back for Sunday's game against North Carolina will be a boost to a team that played really well on Friday.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Presbyterian Blue Hose
Thumbs Up 2: Killer Chloe

It's been mentioned several other times in this article already, but Chloe Kitts was incredible in this game. Frankly, going 9-9 even in an empty gym isn't the easiest thing to do in the world, and Kitts had her perfect day against a conference championship-winning opponent.

#21 wasn't just a force on offense, though. She pulled down 13 rebounds, and some of them were impressive rebounds. She snatched balls out of Presbyterian players' hands, she jumped up over opposing rebounders, she boxed out aggressively, and she chased down some long boards. Simply put, if a shot was missed, Chloe Kitts was the most likely player on the floor to end up with it.

After the game, the sophomore was asked about coming off the bench, and she gave the answer that everyone has come to expect from Dawn Staley-coached teams: "I'm not worried about starting." Chloe Kitts and the Gamecocks are more concerned with team success than individual accolades, and that translates to better performances on the floor for both the team and the individuals involved.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Presbyterian Blue Hose
Thumbs Up 3: Efficient Offense

Since March started, the South Carolina offense has been...well...not very good. In four games against Tennessee, Texas A&M, Tennessee (again), and LSU, the Gamecocks shot 41% from the field and 32% from the 3-point line. They put up a 22-turnover game, they missed 54 shots in one game, and they made exactly 4 3-point jump shots in three of the contests.

The script flipped against PC.

Outside of Tessa Johnson's 0-7 performance, every Gamecock made at least 50% of their shots. Even with Johnson's shooting struggles, the team shot 9-24 from behind the 3-point arc, giving them at least 9 makes from outside for just the third time since Christmas.

The Gamecocks also doubled up their assist-turnover ratio, dishing out 18 dimes while giving the ball away only 9 times. Point guard Raven Johnson had 0 turnovers and so did secondary ball handler MiLaysia Fulwiley. 6 different Gamecocks had multiple assists.