Paopao, No. 1 South Carolina cruise past No. 11 UConn without Cardoso in 83-65 win

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Te-Hina Paopao scored 21 points with five 3-pointers and Raven Johnson added 10 points and 12 rebounds as No. 1 South Carolina took an early lead and beat No. 11 UConn 83-65. But achieved fourth consecutive victory. on Sunday.

The Gamecocks (23-0) won their 54th consecutive game at home and their second game this week without leading scorer and rebounder Camila Cardoso, who is playing in Olympic qualifiers in her home country of Brazil.

No matter who coach Don Staley put on the court, it was too much for the Huskies (19-5).

Ashlyn Watkins finished with 15 points, nine boards and three blocked shots, while teammate Chloe Kitts had 14 points for the Gamecocks.

UConn stayed strong early and trailed just 11-9 after a 3-pointer by Ashlyn Shedd midway through the opening period.

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But then South Carolina took off and went on a 24-11 run to reach double digits in the next 10 minutes. UConn never got closer than 12 points the rest of the way as South Carolina moved to 6–0 against ranked opponents this season.

South Carolina's strong defense was a big factor, facing Bueckers throughout the season. The UConn star finished with 20 points, but on 8 of 20 shooting.

Aaliyah Edwards had 20 points and 11 rebounds for UConn.

The Huskies made only 5 of 19 (26%) shots in the opening quarter and South Carolina continued to chip away at its lead.

UConn: When this series began, the Huskies were by far the better program and the most dominant in the country. Now, UConn is clearly a step or two behind the Gamecocks, who have won both of their national titles since the Huskies in 2016.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks are moving forward much like they did a year ago, where a group of experienced upperclassmen made the Final Four before losing to Iowa. These youth from South Carolina seem determined to go further this year.

UConn will travel to face Xavier on Wednesday night.

South Carolina plays at Tennessee on Thursday night.

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