At Lexington, Ky., fourth-ranked South Carolina continued to make it look easy when the gauntlet looked anything but beforehand.
The Gamecocks blew out No. 15 Kentucky 81-58, riding 21 points from Aleighsa Welch to a cruising victory. USC led by just eight at halftime, but stretched it to 15 and then 21 out of the locker room. While the Wildcats (19-7, 7-6 SEC) cut the lead to 11, USC stayed patient, worked its offense and found a couple of big 3-pointers to crack the game open.
USC (24-2, 12-1) remains in first place in the SEC by one game over Texas A&M with three to play. The Gamecocks return home for two games before ending the regular season at Tennessee.
The Gamecocks set a school record with their 12th SEC win. Coach Dawn Staley has improved her SEC win total in every year of her tenure and is only one win from matching her overall win total of each of the past two seasons.
Due to early foul trouble to Tiffany Mitchell, Welch had to take over. The junior had 10 rebounds and five blocks to go with her points, while Elem Ibiam scored 16 and Khadijah Sessions had 18, including three 3-pointers. Welch also scored her 1,000th career point.
A complete story will be posted shortly.