The wildest 24 hours of college basketball we’ve ever seen! 🫣 BRAWL In South Carolina vs LSU SEC Championship Game! SEVERAL Ejections, Fighting DQ For Cardoso! 

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6 ejected in SEC title game after South Carolina-LSU tussle

– South Carolina forward Kamilla Cardoso was one of six players ejected from the SEC championship game after she shoved LSU’s Flau’jae Johnson to the floor late in the fourth quarter of the Gamecocks’ 79-72 win.

Gamecocks guard MiLaysia Fulwiley had stolen the ball from Johnson, who wrapped her up and was called for an intentional foul. Johnson bumped South Carolina’s Ashlyn Watkins while heading to her bench, and then the 6-foot-7 Cardoso rushed in and pushed the 5-10 Johnson to the ground.

Aside from Cardoso, the other players ejected — all for leaving the bench area — were South Carolina’s Chloe Kitts, Tessa Johnson and Sakima Walker, and LSU’s Aalyah Del Rosario and Janae Kent. LSU was left with only its starting five players after the disqualifications.

Johnson’s brother jumped over the scorer’s table onto the court and briefly made contact with Kamilla Cardoso before being escorted away by police officers. He was not arrested, an LSU spokesperson told The Advocate.

South Carolina beats LSU after both teams' benches ejected | LSU |

“For us playing a part in that, that’s not who we are,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. “That’s not what we’re about.”

The SEC, against the usual practice at its postseason tournaments, closed both locker rooms to reporters. Cardoso issued an apology on social media shortly after the game, and her remaining teammates celebrated the championship without her.

“I would like to extend my sincerest apologies for my actions during today’s game,” she wrote. “My behavior was not representative of who I am as a person or the South Carolina program, and I deeply regret any discomfort or inconvenience it may have caused. I take full responsibility for my actions and assure you that I am committed to conducting myself with the utmost respect and sportsmanship in the future.”

Cardoso, the Gamecocks’ leading scorer and rebounder, could miss time in the NCAA tournament for her actions. According to the rulebook, players ejected for fighting will be suspended for their team’s next game, including tournament competition. Players ejected for leaving the bench area are not subject to suspension if they did not participate in the fight.

The NCAA on Sunday night said it was waiting for the final game report before issuing any potential suspensions.

The Gamecocks enter March Madness as the clear-cut No. 1 seed and the only undefeated team left in Division I, men or women. And they did it against the defending national champion Tigers and SEC Player of the Year Angel Reese.

SEC Tournament final brawl: South Carolina vs. LSU devolves into chaos, benches ejected after shoving match -

LSU-South Carolina scuffle leads to fan on court, mass ejections - The Washington Post

It was South Carolina’s eighth tournament crown in the past 10 seasons and its 16th straight win over LSU (28-5), including all four meetings since Kim Mulkey became the Tigers’ coach three seasons ago.

Staley, who was screaming toward the LSU bench during the incident, apologized afterward to the crowd on behalf of the ejected players, saying their emotions got the better of them.

“I know it didn’t come from an ugly place,” Staley said.

Mulkey said Johnson was smart to stop Fulwiley, who would have had an uncontested layup otherwise. Mulkey added that she understood emotions getting high at such a critical juncture of the game.

“It’s ugly, it’s not good, no one wants to be a part of that,” she said. “But I’ll tell you this, I wish [Cardoso] would’ve pushed Angel Reese. If you’re 6-8, don’t push somebody that little. That was uncalled for in my opinion. Let those two girls who were jawing, let them go at it.”

The Gamecocks led 73-66 with 2:08 to play when the dustup took place, and the game was delayed for about 15 minutes while officials reviewed video of the incident.

Cardoso, who is expected to be one of the top picks in next month’s WNBA draft, hit the winning 3-pointer, her first made 3 as a college player, with 1.1 seconds to play Saturday in South Carolina’s 74-73 semifinals win over Tennessee.

She had 8 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks in 22 minutes against LSU.

Staley said her young team — the Gamecocks lost seven seniors from a group that reached the past three Final Fours and won the national title in 2022 — is a tightknit group that sticks up for each other.

“That would have never happened with last year’s team, because they would have been so political about it,” Staley said. “Aliyah [Boston, the WNBA Rookie of the Year] probably would have been the referee and like, ‘No, don’t do that.’ And then you’ve got this team, they’re protectors.”

Staley said that’s an admirable quality, but her team needs a reminder about when to pull back before things get out of hand.

“I hope this is the last of the last,” Staley said.