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Behind USC’s Stunning Win: A Closer Look at Kamilla Cardoso’s Buzzer Beater

In an incredible turn of events, Kamilla Cardoso of South Carolina stole the show with a game-winning 3-pointer that left Tennessee stunned in the semifinals of the SEC tournament.

Fans of Tennessee and USC both were left wondering after the shot: why wasn’t Cardoso guarded? In a postgame press conference, Tennessee coach Kellie Harper addressed the issue and said that a misunderstanding rather than a deliberate tactic was to blame for the defensive blunder.

Harper decided against calling a timeout with just 1.1 seconds remaining and Tennessee leading by just two points, wanting to stick to his defensive principles. The defensive alignment, nevertheless, disregarded Cardoso’s outside shooting prowess.

Tennessee center Tamari Key, who was guarding Cardoso on USC’s pivotal possession, remained in the post, with leading scorer Rickea Jackson positioned on the wing. Cardoso’s shot was unchallenged by any player, which let her to make the game-winning basket.

After the game, South Carolina coach Dawn Staley disclosed that Te-Hina Paopao was supposed to make the game-winning shot. But Tennessee’s strong defense on Paopao throughout the game forced Staley to give Cardoso the shot instead, albeit one that included some strong language.

During her undergraduate career, Cardoso’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer was her first successful shot from beyond the arc, making it a noteworthy milestone. Staley was hopeful that Cardoso would be motivated by this event to add more perimeter shots to her repertoire in the future.

With this incredible win, USC goes to play LSU in the SEC title game, setting up another exciting matchup.

Cardoso’s clutch play offers as a moving reminder of the joy and unpredictability that define college basketball tournaments as the intensity of this thrilling game fades.

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