Some REAL action breaks out at women’s collegiate basketball game when teams brawl

The path to the NCAA tournament included a bench-clearing conflict and handcuffs now “part of” women’s basketball.

A different kind of March Madness overtook the teams at Sunday’s SEC women’s basketball championship when little more than two minutes remained in the contest between the Louisiana State University Tigers and the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.

Down seven points, play was whistled dead when LSU’s Flau’jae Johnson appeared to foul South Carolina’s MiLaysia Fulwiley. Tensions boiled over when the Gamecocks’ Ashlyn Watkins got in Johnson’s face, only to receive a shove for her trouble.

It was then that teammate Kamilla Cardoso charged the offending Tiger and promptly shoved her, sending the opposing player down to the court.

Within seconds, players, officials and even some fans could be seen converging, leading one individual who had been seen jumping over the scorer’s table, later identified as Johnson’s brother, to be taken away in handcuffs.

What followed was nearly 20 minutes of stoppage to wrest control back on the court and review the incident that led to four South Carolina and two LSU players getting ejected for the remainder of the contest.

While most of the ejections had been decided for clearing the benches, Sports Illustrated specified that Cardoso’s removal was specifically for fighting and, as a result, would be suspended from the first game of the NCAA tournament whereas eligibility for the other ejected players had not changed.

Taking to social media after the final buzzer, Cardoso posted a blanket apology that spoke to her behavior.

“I would like to extend my sincerest apologies for my actions during today’s game,” she wrote on X. “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.”

Meanwhile, during the postgame press conference, South Carolina coach Dawn Staley addressed the melee and said, “What you saw were two teams, highly competitive teams, try to win a conference championship and they did not handle it well.”

Recognizing that Johnson had apologized directly to her for her actions after the foul, Staley went on to assert, “People see that and think, you know, that is our game, cause it isn’t. Our game is a really beautiful thing and, to be quite honest, this is a part of it now. So we have to fix it and we have to move on.”

South Carolina went on to secure their victory against LSU with a final score of 79-72 as comments suggested that Staley’s concern was founded, while LSU’s coach Kim Mulkey expressed her desire that she would have preferred Cardoso push a different player.

Kevin Haggerty


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