Fresh off an impressive win over Tennessee, the Kentucky Lady Wildcats hoped to avenge an earlier loss in Columbia when South Carolina visited Rupp Arena last night. The Lady Gamecocks, though, chose not to comply and crushed Kentucky by an 81-58 margin. The win set the school record for regular-season victories for Carolina women's basketball. Aleighsa Welch was again the star for Carolina, scoring 21 points, taking down 10 boards, and blocking 5 shots.
Carolina dominated all aspects of this game, but rebounding was a particular area of excellence. The Lady Gamecocks kept UK off the offensive boards and brought down several themselves, leading to a 12-4 advantage in put-back points. This margin contributed to Carolina's 38-26 advantage in points in the paint. Carolina was efficient offensively, shooting 53% on the night and 60% during the second period.
Carolina remains a single game ahead of Texas A&M in the SEC Standings. If the two finish tied, the Lady Aggies hold the tiebreaker over Carolina by virtue of their head-to-head win earlier in the season. Carolina does have a tough slate over its final three games, culminating with a road trip to Knoxville. That said, given how we've played the past few games, I'm beginning to really believe we can win out and then take the SEC Tournament.
Carolina was recently upgraded to a one seed in ESPN's bracketology. Unfortunately, we can't host regional play in the NCAA Tournament, although if we play in the Seattle Regional, we'll have the benefit of not playing in a regional with a lower-seeded home team. In any event, the hosting rules will change next year.