Prior to winning 35 straight games (now 36), the location of USC’s last loss was Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina as the team lost in the SEC Tournament Championship last year to Kentucky.
This year, getting it done here is personal for the Cocks, and they showed it in the quarterfinals.
Earlier in the season, USC had its way with the Razorbacks, beating them by 46. While it was not that level of a blowout this time around, the result was the same by a few less points.
Top-ranked South Carolina (30-0) defeated Arkansas (21-12) Friday afternoon by the score of 93-66 to advance to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament.
Although the Cocks have not looked quite as dominant over the last three games, the team returned to form just in time for the postseason.
Both three-point and free throw shooting – massive issues in the game last Sunday against Georgia – were improved as South Carolina shot 4-of-10 from deep and 81.3% from the line. The improvement in scoring beyond the arc was largely the result of Brea Beal and her perfect 2-of-2 shooting from deep with both coming in the first quarter.
The defense also continued to be stout as they held Arkansas to 33% from the field. More specifically, they were able to make Arkansas’ offense a two woman show as Saylor Poffenbarger and Samara Spencer combined for 38 points on 50% shooting while the remainder of the team shot a combined 8-of-39.
What really won the game for the Cocks, though, was its rolling offense.
South Carolina shot at least 50% from the field for the first time since February 16 against Florida, had help from the bench to the tune of 43 points and had 16 second chance points due to 16 offensive boards.
The paint in Greenville should also be named after Victaria Saxton because it was basically hers on Friday as she scored 19 points – a season high for her – on 8-of-10 shooting.
Additionally, Cardoso and Amihere had fantastic days, scoring 14 and 16 respectively and combining for seven offensive rebounds.
In all, South Carolina got back to its bread and butter, dominating the boards, which led to countless second chance opportunities and ruling the paint, where the team combined to score 60 of its 93 points at.
As for Arkansas, they were able to hang around for the majority of the first half before things got away from them near the conclusion of the second quarter. South Carolina closed the half on a 19-9 run capped off by a three from Raven Johnson to extend the Gamecock lead to 15.
When the deficit increased to 20 points with 7:51 to play in the third, it appeared to be the end for Arkansas, but they had another run in them.
A 12-4 Razorback run was able to cut the lead to 12 and put some fear in the hearts of Gamecock fans, but two quick buckets from Amihere in the span of 35 seconds nipped that in the bud real quick en route to a 15-point Gamecock lead through three.
Following a 13-3 run by the Cocks to open the final quarter, this thing was finally put to bed, and the white flag was waived.
South Carolina will be back at it tomorrow at 4:40 p.m. as they await the winner of the Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss game.