March 29, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: 2023 Final Four: LSU, South Carolina and underrated SEC get their due 

Howard and Gabriella chat about SEC being underrated and South Carolina's dominance

It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. Host Howard Megdal is joined by the prolific and brilliant Gabriella Lewis, just back from covering the NCAA super-regional in Greenville. Lewis has thoughts on South Carolina’s dominance but also on the greatness of the SEC writ-large, from LSU’s Final Four trip to the impressive growth by Coach Yo and Mississippi. Don’t miss this in-depth look at a conference that’s provided so many moments as the 2023 season winds down.

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Gabriella talks about whether SEC was underrated:

“Yes, yeah. I know I’ve got a front row seat, so I know it best. But I was driving home from Greenville last night and I thought to myself, I will never forget; I will never forgive the world for not ranking Ole Miss. I mean, that was a team that was not ranked the entire year. Almost beat South Carolina, only two teams almost beat South Carolina, and no teams to actually do it. And Ole Miss was one of them that went to the Sweet 16 after upsetting Stanford. I think the SEC was definitely underrated, right? You know, you had LSU and South Carolina and the rankings top five for the most part for the whole season. Tennessee fell out of the rankings, but by the end, they were winning a lot of games.

They looked really good. So there was, I think, plenty of really good basketball in the SEC. And I think March Madness it’s only been vindicating of that. I’m not the only one to say it; I would say basically every single SEC coach saying it. Dawn Staley was last night saying it. Kim Mulkey really went off about it and how she called South Carolina winning the championship. Coach Yo of Mississippi has been talking about, so yeah, I think that the SEC was definitely underrated and this past couple of weeks have really only been a nail in the coffin in that.”

Gabriella talks about South Carolina’s dominance:

“How good is this team? Um, they’re very good. I’ll tell you that. I think defensively, in that UCLA game, they barely scored the ball. But that’s fine. They’ve got great defensive numbers. And so I think that’s also indicative of a larger SEC trend. Basically, a lot of teams in the past couple of days or a couple of weeks have not been able to score the ball up and have a great defensive, but they’re incredible. They’ve got the size. They’ve got the discipline, they’ve got the depth, and the depth, I think, is the biggest part of that, right? Like you’re talking about you have this incredible amount of players and they also can adjust so well. I think that’s the most incredible part about South Carolina.

And what really makes me upset sometimes when folks talk about South Carolina is they talk about how big they are and that’s all, there’s so much more than that. They are an extremely high-IQ basketball team. And, of course, they’ve got the size. I mean, to bring 6’7 Kamilla Cardoso off the bench is almost unfair. But they also are very high IQ. And it’s a very impressive team to watch.”

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