Top-ranked Gamecocks stay perfect, dominate Arkansas


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Ashlyn Watkins had 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead No. 1 South Carolina to a 98-61 road win over Arkansas on Thursday.

South Carolina (28-0, 15-0 Southeastern Conference) stayed unbeaten with just one game to play in the regular season. The Gamecocks have beaten all but three opponents this season by double-figures. They lost just once - in the Final Four last year to Iowa - in the last 358 days.

South Carolina took control in the second quarter, starting the period on a 14-0 run to build its lead to 17 points. Arkansas (18-12, 6-9) was wholly ineffective offensively, missing its first eight shots from the floor in the quarter, seven of which came from 3-point range, and committing five turnovers in those 10 minutes.

The Gamecocks dominated on the inside, outrebounding Arkansas, 53-21, and outscoring the Razorbacks in the paint 56-22. South Carolina shot 61% from the field and limited Arkansas to 33%.

Watkins' 21 points were a career high. She entered averaging just under 10 a game.

"She's a really good, skilled post player that is just now coming into her own and the basket was big for her today," South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. "I thought she smoothly handled scoring in traffic, getting rebounds, putbacks. … Really happy because she's putting in the time."

Maryam Dauda led the Razorbacks with 19 points, while Carly Keats and Samara Spencer each scored 11 and MaKayla Daniels added 10. MiLaysia Fulwiley (17), Tessa Johnson (12), Kamilla Cardoso (11) and Chloe Kitts (10) joined Watkins in double figures for South Carolina.


South Carolina's regular season is all a warm-up for the NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks appear plenty ready.

Arkansas would likely be out of the NCAA Tournament field right now and badly needs a win in its regular-season finale to have an outside shot.


South Carolina hosts Tennessee on Sunday.

Arkansas travels to Ole Miss on Sunday.