South Carolina made sure the second-largest crowd to watch a women’s basketball game in Colonial Life Arena history didn’t go home disappointed on Thursday, beating Georgia 67-56 to claim the undisputed SEC regular-season championship.
The first SEC regular-season title for the program will send USC (26-2, 14-1 SEC) to the SEC tournament as the No. 1 seed. The Gamecocks will play at noon on March 7 against the winner of the eighth and ninth seeds, needing just three wins to take home the tournament title.
Tiffany Mitchell scored a career-high 25 points after carrying the Gamecocks when their inside game stagnated. Alaina Coates shook off heavy foul trouble to finish with 18 points. USC built a double-digit lead when Georgia (18-10, 6-9 SEC) couldn’t buy a basket in the first half, and was able to hit enough shots – and enough free throws, a severe weakness in the past two seasons – to overcome.
Georgia suffered just its fourth losing SEC season since the league was created and is slipping out of contention for the NCAA tournament. The Lady Bulldogs had owned a 14-3 advantage over USC in games in Columbia before Thursday.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive attended the game and participated in a post-game ceremony honoring the champions. USC will be presented its trophy at the SEC tournament.
A complete story will be posted shortly.