College basketball’s ugly brawl: Kamilla Cardoso shoved Flau’jae Johnson in a heated fight before Johnson’s brother was handcuffed for jumping onto the court to scuffle with South Carolina players. But it’s worth noting that Reese used his arm to hit Cardoso in the face and was judged to have committed an intentional revenge foul in the second half

South Carolina star Kamilla Cardoso was ejected from the SEC Tournament final after shoving LSU star guard Flau’jae Johnson to the ground after a heated moment between the two teams

Flau'jae Johnson was shoved to the ground by Kamilla Cardoso, starting a huge fight between the two teams

Flau’jae Johnson was shoved to the ground by Kamilla Cardoso, starting a huge fight between the two teams (
Image: X)

A fight broke out on the court that led to multiple ejections and South Carolina star Kamilla Cardoso shoving LSU star guard Flau’jae Johnson after a stoppage of play in the SEC Tournament final. The incident happened in the fourth quarter of South Carolina’s 79-72 win over LSU after Johnson fouled one of Cardoso’s teammates – MiLaysia Fulwiley – to prevent an easy layup.

After Johnson fouled Fulwiley to stop the play, Ashlyn Watkins began jawing at Johnson as the two teams got together. Then Cardoso entered the picture and shoved Johnson to the ground.

During the scuffle, a fan, claimed by ESPN to be Johnson’s brother, jumped over the scorer’s table and was on the court, face to face with numerous South Carolina players. He eventually was taken away by police in handcuffs in the aftermath of the dustup.

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After review, the officials ejected Cardoso for inciting the scuffle. Also, almost all players from LSU and South Carolina’s benches were ejected from the game for their part in the fight.

“I just want to apologize to the basketball community,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley told ESPN immediately after the game. “When you’re playing in championship games like this, in our league, things get heated. No bad intentions. [Everyone’s] emotions just got so far ahead of them that sometimes, these things happen, so I want to apologize for us playing a part in that because that’s not who we are. That’s not what we’re about.”

Staley added that while she is happy the game was able to end under the circumstances, she will be speaking with her team about maintaining decorum in the face of an emotional situation.

The man who was handcuffed by police during LSU and South Carolina's scuffle was claimed to be Flau'jae Johnson's brother
The man who was handcuffed by police during LSU and South Carolina’s scuffle was claimed to be Flau’jae Johnson’s brother 

“We always talk about it,” Staley continued. “Never leave the bench, never get too high with the highs or too low with the lows. It’s hard when you’re playing. I’ve played this game a long time, and I can’t tell you I was a saint at all times. Your emotions get the best of you.”

It appears as if Cardoso’s actions had been brewing throughout the game, especially with how chippy the situation had gotten between the two teams. Cardoso and LSU star forward Angel Reese were involved in another altercation during the second quarter.

Reese hit Cardoso in the face with her arm and was assessed an intentional foul. South Carolina was awarded two free throws and the ball back as a result of the contact.

Cardoso and Reese were physical throughout the game and so it stands to reason why emotions were high for both players. Before Reese hit Cardoso, the latter appeared to nudge the former when the two were under the basket on the other end.

The two were also spotted exchanging trash talk throughout the first half, with Reese appearing to pull Cardoso’s hair, though the officials did not spot the offense. In the end, the Gamecocks got the last laugh, adding an SEC Tournament title to the regular-season crown they took home.

Fulwiley, the freshman, shined for South Carolina after an up-and-down season, scoring a career-high 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting and 4 of 5 from 3-point land, to go along with two steals and two assists. Meanwhile, Aneesah Morrow led the way for LSU, scoring 19 points, grabbing 10 rebounds with four steals.

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