Home » No. 1 South Carolina heads into final week of regular season still unbeaten

No. 1 South Carolina heads into final week of regular season still unbeaten

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Dawn Staley has South Carolina in a familiar place with a week left in the regular season.

For the second straight year the No. 1 Gamecocks haven’t lost a game heading into March — a feat they hadn’t accomplished before last season. Even with all five starters from last year’s Final Four run gone, the Gamecocks sit at 27-0 with two games left.

They visit Arkansas on Thursday before hosting Tennessee on Sunday. The Gamecocks clinched their third consecutive outright Southeastern Conference regular-season championship and eighth in 11 years after Sunday’s win over Kentucky.

“We haven’t lost a game and our players are thinking this is the way it is. The competition gets better and better as we approach the postseason,” Staley said after beating Kentucky on Sunday. “We want to give our players their flowers but want them to know there’s work to do.”

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Staley has been impressed with her squad and how even when they have been down in games, have rallied.

“They find a way to win basketball games,” she said. “That’s the sign of a really good team. I’m not gonna say that we’re not a good basketball team. We’re a really good basketball team when we are playing like we played today.”

It’s been a balanced effort for the Gamecocks, who have seven players averaging 8.5 points or more this season.

Once again, South Carolina won’t have to go far for the SEC Tournament as it’s played in Greenville. The Gamecocks are poised for the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. They will have the first two games at home and then most likely will travel to Albany, New York for the regional, meaning they won’t have to leave the Eastern time zone. The other regional is out in Portland, Oregon.

While the Gamecocks have wrapped up the SEC already, there are a bunch of other big games this week.

REGULAR SEASON HOME FINALE?

Sunday’s matchup against No. 2 Ohio State could be sixth-ranked Iowa star Caitlin Clark’s final regular season game at home. The NCAA’s all-time scoring leader has a fifth year of eligibility left if she wants it. She hasn’t announced whether she’ll come back for a fifth-year or not or enter the WNBA draft where she is the presumed No. 1 pick.

Clark will have potentially two more games at home in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament as the top 16 teams host those games.

BIG 12 TITLE

No. 3 Texas visits 20th-ranked Oklahoma on Wednesday with first-place in the Big 12 Conference on the line. The Sooners have a one-game lead over the Longhorns. Oklahoma won the first meeting by four points last month. If Texas wins and the two teams end up tied in the standings — they each have one game left after Wednesday — they’d share the regular season crown.

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Get alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here. AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball

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