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Kamilla Cardoso and South Carolina: A Perfect Season Culminates in National Championship Glory

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The South Carolina Gamecocks’ journey to their 2024 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship victory was paved with exceptional talent and unwavering dedication. One player who embodied this spirit was Kamilla Cardoso, the team’s dominant center.

A recent tweet by NCAA March Madness captured Cardoso’s elation after the win: “@MarchMadnessWBB

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“I made the best decision of my life coming to South Carolina.”

#NationalChampionship x

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This quote, accompanied by celebratory emojis, signifies the profound impact South Carolina’s program has had on Cardoso’s career.

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The championship game didn’t start as smoothly as the Gamecocks had hoped. Iowa came out firing, building an early 11-point lead. Coach Dawn Staley needed a spark, and she found it in freshman guard Tessa Johnson. Johnson, who had been outstanding throughout the tournament, stepped up once again. With a team-high 19 points and three crucial triples, she led South Carolina to a slim halftime lead.

Kamilla Cardoso’s Dominance

But it was Kamilla Cardoso who truly shone. The Brazilian center, known for her imposing presence in the paint, faced tough defense from Iowa’s Hannah Stuelke and Addison O’Grady. Yet, Cardoso persisted. She battled for every rebound, pulled down a career-high 17 boards, and found her scoring opportunities. Her partnership with Johnson was instrumental in turning the tide.

South Carolina’s defense, ranked first in the nation during the regular season, lived up to its reputation. They limited Iowa’s star player, Caitlin Clark, to just 12 points on 5-of-20 shooting. Raven Johnson’s savvy defensive play dispossessed Clark, leading to easy points for the Gamecocks before halftime.

The locker room pep talk worked wonders for South Carolina. Chloe Kitts, despite limited minutes, made her presence felt with two quick baskets after halftime. Te-Hina Paopao’s pull-up jumper extended the lead, forcing Iowa coach Lisa Bluder to call a timeout. The Gamecocks dominated the boards, outrebounding the Hawkeyes 51 to 29. Cardoso’s inside presence and Johnson’s perimeter play kept the momentum firmly in South Carolina’s favor.

The final buzzer sounded, and the scoreboard read 87-75 in favor of the Gamecocks. Their perfect 38-0 season was complete. Kamilla Cardoso’s resilience, durability, and scoring prowess had been the driving force. She not only anchored the defense but also contributed crucial points when needed most.


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