Kamilla Cardoso’s big day powers No. 1 South Carolina WBB past Vanderbilt

The Gamecocks followed their epic win in front of a sold-out crowd at LSU with another sold-out victory, this time at home.

No. 1 South Carolina defeated Vanderbilt 91-74 Sunday at Colonial Life Arena.

Coach Dawn Staley went with the usual starting lineup of Te-Hina Paopao, Bree Hall, Raven Johnson, Chloe Kitts and Kamilla Cardoso. The senior center set a new SEC career high and tied her career high as a Gamecock with 23 points. Including Cardoso, five Gamecocks ended up with double-digit points: Johnson (10), Hall (11), Ashlyn Watkins (11) and MiLaysia Fulwiley (10).

The Gamecocks (19-0, 7-0 SEC) travel to Auburn for an 8 p.m. tip Thursday on SEC Network Plus.

Points in the paint

South Carolina scored over half its first-half points in the paint versus Vanderbilt. USC had 22 to Vandy’s 8, which continued South Carolina’s trend of domination in that region of the court.

Heading into Sunday’s game, the Gamecocks outscored opponents by 26.6 points per game and 23 per SEC game in the paint.

After three quarters, South Carolina scored 36 points in the paint to Vanderbilt’s 12. The Gamecocks ended the game with 48 in the paint, while the Commodores finished with 28.

Defense (and accurate shooting) wins championships

After a first quarter that saw 10 lead changes and four ties, the Gamecocks locked in on defense and pulled away to a double-digit lead.

The Commodores shot 43.8% from the field (7-of-16) and 50% from 3 (3-of-6) in the first period. USC limited Vanderbilt to 25% overall shooting in the second quarter. The Commodores improved in the third quarter, scoring 19 points on 46.7% shooting, including 50% from 3.

By day’s end, the Gamecocks continued their streak of outshooting opponents in every game this season, shooting 51.5% overall to Vandy’s 40.3%.

Narrow battle of the boards

After edging LSU by two rebounds Thursday, South Carolina had another tight rebound battle against Vanderbilt.

Heading into Sunday’s contest, the Gamecocks outrebounded opponents by 14.4 -- the fourth largest margin in the nation. They and the Commodores had 19 each in the first half -- eight offensive and 11 defensive.

By game’s end, USC had 37 rebounds to Vandy’s 35.

Kamilla Cardoso’s career game

Cardoso set a new SEC career high and tied her career high as a Gamecock with 23 points against Vanderbilt. It marked her third 20-point game of the season.

The senior center flexed her physicality, muscling her way through double and triple teams for tough buckets and multiple and-1s.

Next four South Carolina women’s basketball games

  • Thursday: at Auburn, 8 p.m. (SEC Network Plus)

  • Feb. 4: vs. Ole Miss, 2 p.m. (ESPN2)

  • Feb. 8: vs. Missouri, 7 p.m. (SEC Network)

  • Feb. 11: vs. No. 8 UConn, 2 p.m. (ESPN)