It wasn’t the first time South Carolina women’s basketball lost this year, but the Gamecocks’ 83-74 defeat on Sunday at the hands of Missouri certainly had USC fans fired up in a way they haven’t been all season.
The main subject of the Gamecocks’ ire was the referees, who assessed two early fouls against star forward A’ja Wilson that kept her on the bench for long stretches of time and ejected head coach Dawn Staley for two technical fouls.
All told, the Gamecocks finished with 26 fouls, including Staley’s, their most in a game since Jan. 12, 2012, and Wilson fouled out for the first time this season and the fourth time in her career.
However, USC fans not only felt that the referees were too harsh in calling fouls on South Carolina, but also too lenient when it came to officiating the Tigers, allowing star Sophie Cunningham and others to get away with dirty plays.
In particular, fans and observers pointed to two plays in particular as examples of unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of Mizzou. Below, we’ll give you video of each and the circumstances surrounding both plays.
First, midway through the second quarter, with the Gamecocks still locked in a close matchup with the Tigers, forward Cierra Porter walked into Wilson’s face with what appeared to be her shoulder as both players were setting up for the ball to be inbounded. Wilson stumbled back, grabbing her mouth, and had to come out of the game briefly while trainers looked at her.
Second, around the same time, Cunningham came up from behind South Carolina redshirt senior Lindsey Spann at the top of the 3-point arc as Mizzou set up its offense and violently tried to move past her, grabbing her by the shoulder and pushing her.