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The No. 1-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks remained undefeated Saturday thanks to one of the most stunning victories in program history. Star center Kamilla Cardoso, who had never made a 3-pointer in her career, banked in a triple at the buzzer to lift her team over Tennessee, 74-73, in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament

"I'm very happy," Cardoso said. "I feel like my teammates needed me. I didn't have the best game that I could have. I was off all night, so I'm just happy that I made that shot and I'm able to take them to the finals."

After trailing by as many as 23 points, Tennessee appeared to have the game in its hands. Rickea Jackson, who finished with 22 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, banked in a bucket with 25 seconds to play to give the Lady Vols the lead at 73-71, and they got the stop they needed on the other end. 

Jasmine Powell was then fouled and went to the line for two free throws to ice the game with four seconds left. She missed both, however, which opened the door for South Carolina. MiLaysia Fulwiley tried to race the length of the floor, but Tennessee used its foul to give to slow her down and force the Gamecocks to inbound the ball with no timeouts remaining. Raven Johnson found Cardoso all alone at the top of the key, and with less than a second remaining, the Brazilian had no choice but to let it fly. 

"Well, coach wanted me to get the ball at the top of the key and hit it to [Te-Hina Paopao]," said Cardoso, who finished with 13 points, five rebounds and three blocks. "And then she told me to shoot it, and I was like, 'OK.' I practice them in practice, so I just stepped back and shot it." 

In retrospect, perhaps Tennessee should have let Fulwiley put up a prayer on the run, but in its defense, Cardoso had never even taken a 3-pointer in her three seasons at South Carolina, let alone make one. In fact, prior to this game, only eight of Cardoso's 247 shot attempts this season had been jumpers, per Synergy Sports. 

Now 31-0 on the season, South Carolina will play the winner of LSU vs. Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament championship game on Sunday. 

This is the ninth time in the last 10 seasons the Gamecocks have advanced to the SEC Tournament championship, and they've come up winners seven times. The only team to defeat them in the SEC Tournament title game during this run was Kentucky by two points in 2022.