Women's basketball conference title game scores, highlights: South Carolina tops LSU to win SEC after ugly late brawl

Women's basketball conference title game scores, highlights: South Carolina tops LSU to win SEC after ugly late brawl

With guaranteed bids on the line and plenty of jostling to get into the NCAA tournament, championship week rarely disappoints. It certainly didn't this year.

Caitlin Clark got things started early in the day as Iowa mounted a furious comeback to beat Nebraska in the Big Ten title game. It was the Hawkeyes' third consecutive conference tournament win and they needed overtime to topple a lively Nebraska team. Clark finished with 34 points, 12 assists and 7 rebounds in the winning effort.

The action continued in the afternoon as South Carolina stayed perfect on the season after outlasting Angel Reese and defending NCAA champ LSU. The game took a turn in the final two minutes after a wild scrum resulted in mass ejections for both teams. When the remaining players returned to the court, South Carolina held on for a 79-72 win.

USC capped off the day out West with a strong showing in what's likely the final Pac-12 title game. The Trojans didn't get much out of star freshman JuJu Watkins, but it didn't really matter as senior guard McKenzie Forbes picked up the slack with 26 points.

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    South Carolina tops LSU in SEC title game marred by bench-clearing scuffle, mass ejections

    Click to read story. (Eakin Howard/Getty Images)
    Click to read story. (Eakin Howard/Getty Images) (Eakin Howard via Getty Images)
  • Final: USC 74, Stanford 61

    McKenzie Forbes was the star for the Trojans as USC wins what is potentially the last Pac-12 championship game. The senior finished with 26 points in the 74-61 win.

  • With 2 minutes left, it's still a double-digit game. This is USC's title to lose.

  • Every time Stanford chips into USC's lead, McKenzie Forbes hits another shot and it's undone. She now has 24 points with just over 6 minutes left in the game.

  • End of Q3: USC 53, Stanford 44

    McKenzie Forbes has 19 points for the Trojans. They've been able to keep Stanford at arm's length for most of the game.

  • Watkins hits her first field goal of the game with less than 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. And it was not an easy one as she was forced to contort her body for a tough low-post bucket.

  • We are back for the second half of the Pac-12 title game and the Trojans have pushed it to double digits.

    A stunning stat:

    JuJu Watkins against Stanford on Feb. 2: 51 points

    JuJu Watkins against Stanford tonight: 2 points

    And yet, USC is comfortably in the lead. Stanford is forcing Watkins left and doubling her at every opportunity and the freshman hasn't been able to settle in. Her teammates, however, are cashing in on the extra attention being paid to Watkins.

  • Halftime: USC 40, Stanford 31

    The Trojans go into the break up nine thanks to McKenzie Forbes, who has 14 points on 6-of-10 shots at halftime. Kayla Padilla and Kayla Williams also have eight a piece for USC. Cameron Brink has 13 points and five rebounds for Stanford.

  • As all that played out, the final Pac-12 title game tipped off and is nearing halftime. The Trojans have been the better team early despite star freshman JuJu Watkins being held scoreless so far.

  • Final: South Carolina 79, LSU 72

    The Gamecocks hold on to win the SEC title after a wild late-game scrum led to mass ejections for both teams. South Carolina's Kamilla Cardoso will have to sit out the first game of the NCAA tournament for her role in the fight.

    Complete box score

  • Barring a miracle, the Gamecocks are going to be able to ice this thing despite the bizarre circumstances in the final 2 minutes.

  • LSU desperately needed a stop but fouled and then was unable to secure a defensive rebound. South Carolina goes to the line, sinks two.

  • The action on the court has restarted and the Tigers have cut the deficit to 75-70. Just over a minute left in the game.

  • Every player who was just ejected will not be able to play in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

  • The final 2:08 will be played out with the 5 players on each team who were not involved in the scrum or did not leave the bench area.

  • Here's another angle of the melee, including the fan who leapt the scorer's table and was quickly followed by a security guard.

  • There are going to be a lot of fouls and decisions made by the refs here shortly. The fan, who per the ESPN broadcast was Flau'Jae Johnson's brother, was taken off in handcuffs.

  • A scrum has broken out at midcourt. Ashley Watkins had gotten into the face of Flau-Jae Johnson and she didn't like it. Then Kamilla Cardoso threw Watkins to the ground and a fan jumped the scorer's table onto the court.

  • LSU had pieced together a 9-0 run to cut it to 1 point, but South Carolina finally stops it with a short jumper. There are just under 3 minutes left; it's going to come down the wire in Greenville.

  • South Carolina freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley is one point off her career-high of 21 points. She started the season big for the Gamecocks in the season opener against Notre Dame (17points, six assists, six steals). And has been key to their SEC tournament run after averaging 11 ppg over the season. Look for her to have big games in the NCAA Tournament as this freshman class that includes USC's JuJu Watkins and Notre Dame's Hannah Hidalgo takes over.

  • End of Q3: South Carolina 59, LSU 53

    The Tigers could've cut it to a single possession heading into the final quarter but couldn't find the net with several chances at the rim and South Carolina took advantage with a transition score to extend its lead.

  • MiLaysia Fulwiley is on fire after hitting consecutive threes and a breakaway layup. That's 20 points for her as South Carolina gets its lead back up to double digits.

  • UConn's Paige Bueckers had another strong outing in the Huskies' Big East semifinal win over Marquette. She finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks and 3 steals. UConn will play the winner of Georgetown and Creighton in the title game.

  • The Gamecocks have opened up a double-digit lead now and are scoring with ease. The Tigers' lack of depth is once again evident.

  • Of course, you don't need to worry about all that when you can finish like this.

  • We're out of the break and Kamilla Cardoso just picked up her third foul. That could be huge as these two teams fight in the post down the stretch.

  • End of Q2: South Carolina 36, LSU 32

    It was a highly physical first 20 minutes of action. Aneesah Morrow leads all scorers with 11 at the break.

    LSU vs. South Carolina
    LSU vs. South Carolina
  • It's still tight with under 2 minutes left until halftime, but Fulwiley is heating up.

  • Angel Reese was given her second foul and it was reviewed for excessive contact and upgraded to an intentional foul. Reese hit South Carolina's Kamilla Cardoso in the face with an extended arm and is headed to the bench. It's been chippy between the two early in this one.

  • Raven Johnson is finding a rhythm now, hitting from deep.

  • End of Q1: South Carolina 18, LSU 15

    The Tigers started out getting easy buckets and had an early lead, but the Gamecocks tightened up defensively late in the quarter to take the lead after an 11-2 run.

  • Morrow has six points and the Tigers have jumped out to a 13-7 lead early.

  • The SEC championship is underway and the Tigers are on the board first as Aneesah Morrow gets an easy bucket right away. Angel Reese follows up with her own jumper later.

  • UConn has a double-digit lead early in the Big East semifinal over Marquette. Paige Bueckers has nine early points as the Huskies try to make it back to the conference tourney final.

  • Final: Notre Dame 55, NC State 51

    The Irish win the ACC championship for the first time since 2019! Hannah Hidalgo led the way with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.

    Full box score

  • The Irish look like they're going to escape with a win here, barring a miracle.

  • Now it's Hannah Hidalgo slashing through the NC State defense for a layup!

  • The Irish have tied things up on a Maddy Westbeld 3-pointer. It's been a tight affair so far. Just over 3 minutes left in the ACC title game.

  • Massive win for Iowa. Battled back from a slow start and overcame another rough first half by star scorer Caitlin Clark. March is all about staying in it to edge out a win in the end. Iowa is a solid candidate for the final No. 1 seed come Selection Sunday after Ohio State's early Big Ten tourney exit. The Buckeyes held a No. 1 seed in the last reveal, but lost to Iowa in the regular season finale and to Maryland in their opening Big Ten tourney game.

  • Final/OT: Iowa 94, Nebraska 89

    The Hawkeyes are Big Ten tourney champs for the third consecutive year. Caitlin Clark led the way with 34 points, 12 assists and 7 rebounds.

    Box Score

  • Oh, and another! Gabbie Marshall comes up huge with a block on the perimeter and snags the ball. Huge late moments by seniors Clark, Marshall and Kate Martin.