Will Kamilla Cardoso be suspended? Explaining South Carolina star’s March Madness status after starting LSU fight

South Carolina will face a bit of adversity to start the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

The Gamecocks kept their undefeated record alive with a 79-72 win over LSU in the SEC championship game Sunday afternoon. The title is the program’s second in a row, fourth in the last five seasons and eighth in the last 10 seasons, as South Carolin’s dominance continues.

Up next for South Carolina (32-0) is March Madness. The Gamecocks have participated in the competition every year since 2011, winning two national championships in that span.


Last season, Dawn Staley’s team was perfect until the Final Four, when Caitlin Clark and Iowa delivered a stunning defeat to the Gamecocks and advanced to the title contest against LSU.

The Gamecocks are looking to avenge that loss, but they’ll have to start the NCAA Tournament without senior star Kamilla Cardoso. Here are the details on Cardoso’s situation — and the fight between South Carolina and LSU to close out the SEC tournament championship.

Will Kamilla Cardoso be suspended?

Cardoso will be ineligible to play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament due to her ejection during Sunday’s SEC championship game against LSU.

The South Carolina senior was one of the first players involved in the altercation, during which she knocked LSU’s Flau’jae Johnson to the ground with a shove.

Fight between South Carolina, LSU leads to several ejections - ESPN Video

Because Cardoso was tossed from the game for her involvement in the fight, she will not be allowed to play in South Carolina’s next game, which will come in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Several other players were ejected from the game after coming off the bench during the fight, but they will still be eligible to play in their teams’ next games. While initial statements on the broadcast misreported those players’ statuses, the ESPN crew corrected that report.


The Gamecocks will almost certainly enter the NCAA Tournament as the overall No. 1 seed. And they have some familiarity with winning in Cardoso’s absence. Four of the team’s wins this season came when Cardoso was playing for Brazil’s national team or recovering from national team duty. All four of those victories came via double digits.

LSU vs. South Carolina fight

Cardoso found herself in the midst of a scrum that resulted in multiple ejections at the tail end of the Gamecocks’ win over the Tigers in the SEC title contest.

Johnson initially put her hands on South Carolina’s Ashlyn Watkins as she was heading back to her bench following a whistle. After Johnson initiated contact with Watkins, Cardoso came to the defense of her teammate and shoved Johnson to the ground.

The push set off a melee involving both benches, prompting a 20-minute delay to determine ejections.

Cardoso was ejected, along with the vast majority of both benches, which left LSU with just five available players and South Carolina with six down the stretch. Two South Carolina bench players were allowed to remain in the game because they did not step onto the court during the skirmish.

The incident with Johnson was not the first time the South Carolina center got physical in the LSU game. Cardoso and LSU star Angel Reese were going at it earlier in the contest, with the two standouts jockeying for position with a bit more force than usual.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu49V99-YFA&t=1s

After the game, South Carolina coach Dawn Staley apologized for the fight in her postgame interview, explaining that the incident is “not who we are.”

Cardoso also apologized in a postgame tweet, calling her behavior “not representative of who I am as a person or the South Carolina program” while taking “full responsibility” for her actions.

The Gamecocks will enter the NCAA Tournament as clear national championship favorites. Given their perfect record, they very likely will be the top seed at the tournament, and as one of the top 16 seeds they will have home-court advantage through the first two rounds. Considering South Carolina will be matched up with a No. 16 seed, losing Cardoso for the first game isn’t the end of the world.

But the beauty of March Madness in college basketball is that anything can happen. For Cardoso, that means watching the game from the sidelines to see if she gets to play at least one more NCAA contest in her collegiate career.





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