Latest Global News | No. 1 South Carolina women’s basketball dominates No. 11 UConn 83-65

Dominant from the opening tip, No. 1 South Carolina led for more than 39 minutes Sunday in a 83-65 victory over No. 11 UConn, the Huskies’ largest ever margin of defeat in series history.

Te-Hina Paopao led the way for South Carolina with 21 points, immediately proving her recent five-game shooting slump a relic by canning a jumper just eight seconds into the ball game. The Oregon transfer repeated her trick exactly a minute later, this time nailing a three-point basket, and the Gamecock were off and running on their home floor. America’s most efficient defense would hold a typically surgical UConn offense to just 5-19 shooting through ten minutes, and a pair of late free throws gave South Carolina a 19-11 edge after the first quarter. 

Starting the second period with similar excellence, Paopao needed just 23 seconds this time to connect from deep, and two more jumpers in the middle of the quarter saw South Carolina’s lead balloon to 17. Paopao would finish the half with 16 points, and despite a Paige Bueckers layup — the former No. 1 overall recruit co-led the Huskies with 20 points — just before the buzzer, the Gamecocks took a 44-30 lead into the locker room. 

As UConn’s Aaliyah Edwards, who matched Bueckers with 20 on the afternoon, emerged from her first-half cocoon with eight quick points out of the locker room, Gamecock guard Raven Johnson has stepped up to keep the pesky Huskies at bay. On the heels of two Edwards free throws, Johnson surged down the court and converted an athletic layup before turning a long rebound into a quick-fire assist to Chloe Kitts. Johnson’s dominance stretched the South Carolina lead once again to 58-40 and forced another UConn timeout. 

Johnson stuffed the third quarter stat sheet with eight points, six rebounds and a pair of steals, and the sophomore finished the afternoon with a 12-rebound double-double. Her yeoman effort personified the collective approach of South Carolina, as four Gamecock starters finished in double-figures while the bench outscored UConn 19-3. 

The Gamecocks would lead by as much as 27 early in the fourth quarter after a 17-4 run, and South Carolina’s search for a perfect season continues emphatically at 23-0.