Last Monday, the No. 6 South Carolina Gamecocks (1-0) lit up the City of Lights, running away from the No. 10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the 100-71 victory in Paris. Back stateside, they welcome the No. 14 Maryland Terrapins (1-0) to Columbia for a Sunday afternoon showdown at 1 p.m. ET on ABC.
Will the Gamecocks again look like a free-wheeling and fast-paced force, turning defense into offense in the blink of eye? Can the Terrapins scrap, shoot and score enough to keep up?
Last season in College Park, Maryland had then top-ranked South Carolina on the ropes, with the undersized Terps causing the Gamecocks’ offense to stall by surrounding Aliyah Boston. But a late third quarter tussle changed the game’s tenor, agitating the Gamecocks and fueling a dominating finish. A player involved in last season’s game-changing moment—Kamilla Cardoso—should have a significant impact on Sunday’s contest.
While the magician-like MiLaysia Fulwiley stole the show in South Carolina’s win over Notre Dame, Cardoso was the key the Gamecocks’ dominance. The Fighting Irish had nothing for her as she consistently established deep, early post position, allowing her score with seeming ease on her way to a 20-point and 15-rebound double-double. She certainly looked like a future WNBA star.
Maryland lacks the experienced size required to cause trouble for Cardoso, much less contain her. While freshman center Hawa Doumbouya matches Cardoso’s 6-foot-7 height, it would be surprising if head coach Brenda Frese called on the raw prospect, as she did not play in Maryland’s opening win over Harvard. No other Terrapin stands taller than 6-foot-2. In the starting lineup, the Terps’ tallest player is 6-foot-2 junior point guard Shyanne Sellers.
So, Maryland must keep Cardoso from getting the ball, with the starting lineup of Sellers, 6-foot-0 grad guard Jakia Brown-Turner, 6-foot-1 grad guard Lavender Briggs, 6-foot-1 grad wing Faith Masonius and 6-foot-0 grad wing Brinae Alexander switching and swarming to prevent the South Carolina guards from finding Cardoso with uncontested entry passes. That’s easier said than done. Against Notre Dame, the Gamecocks’ ball handlers, particularly Fulwiley and sophomore guard Raven Johnson, raced up the floor at every opportunity, quickly lobbing the ball to Cardoso. It also is imperative that the Terps take care of the ball and not allow the Gamecocks to turn defense into offense; if South Carolina gets rolling in transition, it could be a long afternoon for Maryland.
No. 14 Maryland Terrapins (1-0) vs. No. 6 South Carolina Gamecocks (1-0)
When: Sunday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC
How to watch: ABC