No. 1 Gamecocks stay perfect, top Arkansas 93-66 at SEC tourney


GREENVILLE - Victaria Saxton scored 19 points and Aliyah Boston had her 79th career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds as No. 1 South Carolina improved to 30-0 with a 93-66 victory over Arkansas at the Southeastern Conference tournament on Friday.

The Gamecocks, who've won 36 straight, took control early and used their talented, tall lineup to advance to the SEC semifinals Saturday where they'll play either Mississippi or Texas A&M.

Arkansas (21-12) will now sweat things out until Selection Sunday on March 12, on bubble watch as one of the last four teams out according to the latest projections by

No such worries for defending national champion South Carolina, the last undefeated who reached 30 wins for the sixth time in the past nine seasons.

South Carolina put this one away early. After Erryn Barnum's 3-pointer tied things at 7-all, the Gamecocks scored 10 straight points lead by a pair of threes by Brea Beal.

South Carolina closed the second quarter on a 19-9 surge as Boston and Saxton combined for 10 points around the basket.

The Gamecocks, who lead the country in rebounding margin, were at it again against the Razorbacks. South Carolina outrebounded Arkansas 74-17 in a 92-46 victory two months ago. The Gamecocks couldn't quite reach that same margin this time, but had a healthy control of things down low with 51 boards to Arkansas' 26.

Kierra Fletcher added 12 points for the Gamecocks. Saxton hit eight of 10 shots in 20 minutes. Boston had a season-high five assists and tied her season best with four of South Carolina's eight blocks.

Laeticia Amihere scored 16 points, all in the second half, as the Gamecocks poured it on. Kamilla Cardoso had 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

The Gamecocks' defense bottled up Arkansas' leading scorer Barnum for a second time this year. She was 3 of 11 for 11 points in the January loss at South Carolina and was 2 of 13 for eight points in this one.

Saylor Poffenberger had 22 points to lead Arkansas.

Former East Clarendon star Talaysia Cooper was able to get her first taste of SEC Tournament action, recording an assist.


Arkansas: It won't be a comfortable week or so for the Razorbacks, who have lost nine of their last 13 games after opening the season 17-3. Winning 21 games in the rugged SEC is an accomplishment, but will it be enough for Arkansas' third straight NCAA Tournament bid?

South Carolina: The Gamecocks got a boost from its two less heralded starters in Saxton and Fletcher. Saxton was active down low as Arkansas concentrated on slowing SEC player of the year Aliyah Boston and Fletcher's scoring offset Zia Cooke's 1-of-10 showing from the floor.


In Mike Neighbor's opinion, South Carolina is right there with some of the great undefeated championship programs UConn had the past decade. "I've been in it 23 years," he said. "You've got to put them in the conversation with the great UConn teams."


South Carolina's 6-foot-7 Kamilla Cardoso had her streak of five-games with double-figure rebounds ended with just eight against Arkansas. But the junior believes she's playing up to her potential after scoring 14 points. "I believe I've been more confident," said Cardoso, the ACC freshman and defensive player of the year in 2021. "I feel like my shots are all going in."


Arkansas will wait out its NCAA Tournament selection.

South Carolina will take on Mississippi or Texas A&M in the tournament semifinals Saturday.