Mar 8, 2014 3:35 PM
DULUTH, Ga. (AP) - Bria Goss scored 14 points and No. 12 Kentucky upset No. 5 South Carolina 68-58 Saturday to advance to the Southeastern Conference tournament championship game.
DeNesha Stallworth and Linnae Harper each had 12 points for Kentucky (24-7), which will play Sunday in its fourth SEC tournament final in the last five years. The Wildcats won their only title in 1982.
South Carolina (27-4), the SEC regular-season champion, had 16 turnovers, most coming in the first 10 minutes. The Gamecocks were playing in only their second semifinal, following an appearance in 2012.
The Gamecocks scored the game's first points on a basket by Elem Ibiam, who had 16 points. Kentucky scored the next 12 points and never lost the lead.
South Carolina's Tiffany Mitchell, selected by coaches as the SEC player of the year, had 11 points while making only 4 of 12 shots.
Kentucky took its second straight SEC tournament win over a team that swept the Wildcats in the regular season. Kentucky beat Florida in the quarterfinals.
The Gamecocks battled turnovers and cold shooting during Kentucky's early 12-0 run.
Ibiam, the 6-foot-4 center, ended South Carolina's 7-minute scoring drought with an inside basket, but the Gamecocks' struggles kept coming. When Epps scored to give Kentucky a 19-11 lead, South Carolina's 11 turnovers matched its points.
Bria Goss sank back-to-back 3-pointers to give Kentucky its big lead of the half at 33-20. Ibiam had 12 points in the half, including South Carolina's last three baskets before the break, to trail 37-29.
Kentucky again stretched its lead to 13 points in the second half. South Carolina never made a serious surge, pulling no closer than eight points in the final 20 minutes.
Trailing by 12 points, South Carolina coach Dawn Staley pulled her starters with 1:16 remaining.
Aleighsa Welch had 12 points for South Carolina, and Makayla Epps added 10 points for Kentucky.