Kentucky shocks No. 1 South Carolina wins the SEC women's title

The Kentucky Wildcats needed a strong run to make it to the Southeastern Conference women’s tournament to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

Kentucky shocks No. 1 South Carolina wins the SEC women's title

Their berth as SEC tournament champs is secured thanks to their four victories in the same number of days.

"Nope! "We are not on the bubble," Kyra Elzy, second-year coach at Kentucky, said. "We have our ticket stamped! We're going!

Dre'una Edwards made a 3-pointer at the top of the key in 4.2 seconds. The Wildcats won their first SEC tournament title since 1982, defeating top-ranked South Carolina 64 to 62.

Kentucky took the shot with 11 seconds remaining. Pass the ball to anyone who is open and then catch and shoot. South Carolina tried but couldn't foul in the time allowed.

Edwards stated, "I had to let that fly."

Elzy ran up the sideline immediately Edwards' shot was up, knowing that it was good. Rhyne Howard, a senior from Kentucky, watched the ball move through the air and compared the experience to a scene in the movies.

Howard stated, "We knew it was a game." "We knew that we had just won."

Kentucky hadn't reached this stage since 2014. The seventh-seeded Wildcats (19-11), who defeated sixth-ranked LSU (No.6), won their 10th consecutive game. 18 Tennessee to reach this championship.

This is a remarkable turnaround for a program which started SEC play 2-8, with Edwards being suspended for four games. Elzy then became the first player to knock out the top three seeds in the tournament to win the title. Kentucky is the No. Kentucky is the first No. 7 seed to win, with Auburn ninth in 1997 being the lowest seed to win this event.

The Wildcats ended South Carolina's 18-game winning streak and also stopped the Gamecocks from claiming a third consecutive SEC tournament title as regular season champions.

Dawn Staley, South Carolina coach, said "Hats off Kentucky." "They're hot. They're streaking. We have been on both sides. We are super happy for Kyra's program and their ability weather storms early and emerge as the SEC Tournament Champions.

South Carolina led 45-30 at 4:45 in the third quarter. It seemed like minutes before the nets would be blown again. The Gamecocks couldn't score after Aliyah Boston’s jumper at 5:04 that gave them a lead of 62 to 53.

Boston stated that he didn't feel like the team took their foot off the pedal in the fourth quarter. "I believe we were playing and they just found other ways to score," Boston said.

The Wildcats won the game with a 11-0 run. Howard was fouled and lost the ball when she fell in the lane with 18.3 second left. South Carolina then got the ball back. With 16.4 seconds remaining to complete the final sequence, Zia Cooke missed both free shots.

Destanni Henderson, Kentucky's lead player, threw the ball up from just beyond midcourt and hit the rim. This set off a wild Kentucky celebration.

Edwards ended the game with 27 points. He also scored 12 in the fourth quarter, and had three 3s, including the game-winner. Howard was awarded 18 points.

South Carolina should still be entered in the NCAA Tournament as No. The No. 1 overall seed should still be South Carolina.

Boston had 21 points and 11 assists for her 24th consecutive double-double. Cooke was the final scorer with 15 points.

After holding Kentucky to three points during the second half, South Carolina led 21-18 and was leading at the end of the first. At the end of the third, the Gamecocks led 55-43.

BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: Kentucky made a program-record 12 3-pointers against 18th-ranked Tennessee in its semifinal win. Kentucky shot 50% from beyond the arc. After scoring 5 of 8, the Wildcats won 6 of 14 against the fourth-stingiest scoring defense in the country.

South Carolina: South Carolina had a 32-26 advantage in scoring in the paint, despite outrebounded Kentucky by 44-32. ... They missed the final seven shots of this game. Staley was more concerned about their defense. "We gave up 21 point in the fourth quarter."

MORE SECHISTORY

Staley and Joni Taylor, Georgia's coach, were the first Black women ever to be a coach in a Power Five tournament. Kyra Elzy, a second-year Kentucky player, joined Staley for her second season to make it two consecutive seasons in the SEC. Elzy won the title.


 

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