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No. 1 South Carolina wraps up road schedule with 37-point win over Arkansas

No. 1 South Carolina defeated Arkansas 98-61 Thursday night in Fayetteville. The Gamecocks are now one win away from another perfect regular season the second in school history.

USC started Kamilla Cardoso, Te-Hina Paopao, Bree Hall, Raven Johnson and Sania Feagin. Cardoso made her return, playing limited minutes (16), after sitting out South Carolina’s previous two games for rest. Feagin made her first career start. Kitts, usually starting at the four-spot, entered the game at the start of the second quarter and played a total of 17 minutes.

USC initially listed sophomore Ashlyn Watkins as a starter and was issued an administrative technical foul for a late lineup change. As a result, USC started the game down 2-0 after Arkansas’ Samara Spencer sank two free throws before tipoff. The Razorbacks played without leading scorer and star freshman Taliah Scott for a fourth consecutive game as she deals with a family issue.

Five Gamecocks scored in double figures: Watkins (a career-high 21 points), Cardoso (11), Tessa Johnson (12 points with a career-high four made 3-pointers), Kitts (10) and MiLaysia Fulwiley (17).

South Carolina (28-0, 15-0) returns home Sunday for its regular-season finale versus Tennessee.

USC hampers Arkansas perimeter production

Heading into Thursday’s game, the Razorbacks attempted the fourth most 3-pointers per contest (29.7) in the nation. During her press conference Wednesday, Staley said South Carolina would need to focus on controlling the quality of looks Arkansas managed on the perimeter.

The Razorbacks attempted 13 3s in the first quarter and seven in the second, sinking four of their combined 20 attempts by halftime. All four makes came in the first period.

Arkansas finished Thursday’s game with eight made 3s on 41 attempts.

Gamecocks outrebound Razorbacks

South Carolina ranked third in the nation with 46.5 rebounds per game and fourth in rebounding margin (plus-12.1) heading into Thursday’s contest. True to form, USC dominated the glass in Arkansas as well.

The Gamecocks outrebounded the Razorbacks 27-14 in the first half. Arkansas snagged four offensive rebounds in the first two quarters but was unable to convert on those second-chance opportunities. USC made nine points out of seven offensive rebounds during that time.

South Carolina ended the game having grabbed 52 rebounds to Arkansas’ 21. The Gamecocks scored 17 second-chance points to the Razorbacks’ two.

South Carolina’s bench dominates

For the eighth time this season, USC’s leading scorer came off the bench. Watkins added another impressive entry to her Sixth Woman of the Year resumé, accumulating a career-high 21 points, plus 11 rebounds and a steal against Arkansas. It marked her eighth double-double of the season.

The Gamecocks bench entered Thursday night having outscored opponent benches by 19.5 points per game and 16.6 points per SEC contest. South Carolina’s bench outscored Arkansas’ 64-6.

Next South Carolina women’s basketball games

  • Sunday: vs. Tennessee, noon (ESPN)

  • March 6-10: SEC Tournament