Kentucky pulls upset, reaches SEC final
DULUTH, Ga. -- Kentucky built an early lead against South Carolina and never let up, upsetting the tournament’s top seed 68-58.
Key stat: The No. 4 Wildcats forced the Gamecocks into 11 turnovers in the first half and then held on to advance to the finals of the SEC tournament.
What it means: The loss is a blow to South Carolina’s chances at a No. 1 overall seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. The Gamecocks, who are 27-4 and won the SEC regular-season title, are no longer in control of their own destiny. Coach Dawn Staley and her young squad must now wait and see what happens in conference tournaments around the country, which will determine whether they receive a coveted No. 1 overall seed, or slip to a two-seed.
How it was won: Kentucky used its aggressive defense and a steady, balanced offensive attack to upend the Gamecocks. Four players finished in double figures for the Wildcats: Bria Goss (14 points), DeNesha Stallworth (12), Linnae Harper (12) and Makayla Epps (10 points). The Gamecocks could never get over the hump, trailing early 11-2, and then by about 10 points for the entirety of the second half.
What's next: Kentucky (24-7) will play the winner of the other semifinal, No. 2 seed Tennessee versus No. 3 seed Texas A&M, on Sunday (ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET).