LSU’s Kim Mulkey wishes Kamilla Cardoso pushed Angel Reese instead of ‘uncalled for’ shove

LSU coach Kim Mulkey wishes South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso had chosen to pick on someone her own size during the fight in the final minutes of the SEC women’s basketball championship game.

The near brawl, which included the brother of LSU’s Flau’jae Johnson jumping onto the court and having to be taken off by police, took the focus off of what had been a highly entertaining game between two of women’s basketball’s best programs.

Mulkey did express regret for the fracas that involved her and the eventual champion Gamecocks, who won 79-72 on Sunday, but added a little extra when speaking with the media.

“No one wants to be a part of that. No one wants to see that ugliness,” Mulkey said. “But I can tell you this, I wish she would have pushed Angel Reese. Don’t push a kid. You’re 6-8, don’t push somebody that little. That was uncalled for in my opinion. Let those two girls that were jawing, let them go at it.”

LSU coach Kim Mulkey


LSU coach Kim Mulkey

The two girls that Mulkey was referring to were Johnson and South Carolina’s Ashlyn Watkins.

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley gave a bit of a different response when she spoke with ESPN after the game.

Watkins, who is 6-foot-3, celebrating right in front of Johnson led to Johnson pushing Watkins, thus resulting in Cardoso running in and shoving the 5-foot-10 Johnson to the ground sparking the bench-clearing melee.

“I just want to apologize to the basketball community. When you’re playing in championship games like this in our league things get heated,” Staley said. “No bad intentions. Their emotions got so far ahead of them that sometimes these things happen. So I want to apologize for us playing a part in that. That’s not who we are. That’s not what we’re about, but I’m happy for the players that were able to finish the game to get us another championship.”

South Carolina's Kamilla Cardoso

South Carolina’s Kamilla CardosoGetty Images

 

Aalyah Del Rosario #23 of the LSU Lady Tigers celebrates with Angel Reese #10 of the LSU Lady Tigers after a basket and foul against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the third quarter on Sunday.

Aalyah Del Rosario #23 of the LSU Lady Tigers celebrates with Angel Reese #10 of the LSU Lady Tigers after a basket and foul against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the third quarter on Sunday.Getty Images
Staley reiterated that message when she addressed reporters and added that Johnson had come up to her after the game and apologized, according to The Post and Courier.

Cardoso has also since apologized for the incident.

“I would like to extend my sincerest apologies for my actions during today’s game,” she posted on X. “My behavior was not representative of who I am as a person or the South Carolina program, and I deeply regret any discomfort or inconvenience it may have caused. I take full responsibility for my actions and assure you that I am committed to conducting myself with the utmost respect and sportsmanship in the future.”

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