COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Kamilla Cardoso had 23 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks as No. 1 South Carolina shook off some poor shooting to rout South Dakota State 78-38 on Monday night.
The Gamecocks played without their most reliable outside shooter in Oregon transfer Te-Hina Paopao, who was out with an ankle injury, and her absence showed.
South Carolina (4-0) shot 33% (15 of 45) in the opening half, but took control with relentless rebounding and defense. The Gamecocks had 16 blocks, 15 steals and led the Jackrabbits 21-10 in offensive rebounds.
South Carolina outscored its opponent 31-0 on the fast break.
Raven Johnson had a career-high 18 points, plus six assists and five steals. The 6-foot-7 Cardoso had her third double-double of the season and 19th of her career.
Brooklyn Meyer scored 19 points for the Jackrabbits (2-2), who were the preseason favorites to win the Summit League.
SDSU went up 13-11 after Meyer’s basket late in the first quarter. But South Carolina set off on a 19-7 surge to move in front for good.
The Gamecocks missed all 12 of their 3-pointers, their first time they didn’t make a 3 since a 76-62 win over Mississippi State in the Southeastern Conference tournament title game on March 8, 2020, when they were 0-for-8 from behind the arc.
South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits made things unusually difficult on South Carolina early. But they ultimately couldn’t keep it close against the faster, taller Gamecocks.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks looked a little out of control at times as less experienced players like MiLaysia Fulwiley and Sahnya Jah jacked up several poor shots while coach Dawn Staley stood on the sideline with her arms folded and scowling.
South Dakota State returns home to face South Carolina State on Friday night.
South Carolina concludes a four-game homestand against Mississippi Valley State on Friday.
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