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No. 1 South Carolina beats Tennessee to complete perfect regular season

Jacob Kupferman / Getty Images Sport / Getty

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Kamilla Cardoso had 18 points and 14 rebounds, Te-Hina Paopao scored 14 points and No. 1 South Carolina completed its second straight perfect regular season with a 76-68 victory over Tennessee on Sunday.

Cardoso and Paopao, both seniors, excelled on Senior Day as the Gamecocks (29-0, 16-0 Southeastern Conference) won their 47th straight SEC regular-season game, their 57th straight at home and their sixth in a row over the Lady Vols (17-11, 10-6).

Rickea Jackson had a game-high 29 points for Tennessee.

Cardoso played in front of her mother, Janete Soares and and older sister, Jessica Silva, after they arrived from Brazil. Coach Dawn Staley facilitated their arrival, with help from U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, by getting visas approved. Cardoso put on quite a show with her family in the crowd.

She had six points and six rebounds in the first quarter. After Tennessee took a 24-23 lead, she led the way as the Gamecocks outscored the Lady Vols 17-8 to close the second period and take a 40-32 lead into the break.

When Tennessee cut a 15-point deficit to 63-60 on Jackson's jumper with 4:51 to play, it was Cardoso who extended the margin with consecutive inside shots. Cardoso, who fouled out late in the fourth quarter, got a loud ovation from the sold-out arena as she went to the bench.

Cardoso finished with her 13th double-double this season and 29th of her career.


Tennessee: The Lady Vols will have to find some scoring punch outside of Jackson if they hope to make another deep run at the SEC Tournament like a year ago when they fell to South Carolina in the tournament finals.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks used a different opening lineup with freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley getting her third start and a different rotation off the bench. Still, it was more than enough for another double-digit win (their 26th this season) and a second straight perfect record heading to postseason play.


Tennessee: At SEC Women's Tournament in Greenville, South Carolina.

South Carolina: At SEC Women's Tournament in Greenville, South Carolina.


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