LSU and South Carolina need to be pulled apart on the court in the SEC Championship

A scuffle between LSU and South Carolina in the SEC Championship resulting in a number of ejections on both teams.
South Carolina guard MiLaysia Fulwiley (12) makes a technical foul shot after both teams scuffled on the court with about two minutes left in the game.
South Carolina guard MiLaysia Fulwiley (12) makes a technical foul shot after both teams scuffled on the court with about two minutes left in the game. / Ken Ruinard / The Greenville News / USA

It was a tough battle between two-seed LSU and one-seed South Carolina that ended with sparks flying. Late in the fourth quarter, it was clear the game was getting chippy. Players talking to each other down the court, clear fouls that weren't called, and tensions were getting high.

The dam broke with about two minutes left in the fourth quarter when LSU's Flau'jae Johnson intentionally fouled South Carolina's MiLaysia Fulwiley after she stripped the ball from Johnson. After the foul was called, Johnson was walking to the bench and it was seen on the broadcast that Ashlyn Watkins yelled something in Johnson's face, prompting her to shove Watkins away in frustration. That was just the start of it.

Both teams continued to talk at each other after the shove and then out of nowhere, Kamilla Cardosa rushed into the confrontation and shoved Johnson to the floor resulting in both benches erupting.

Players from both teams rushed in to defend their teammates, including the majority of the players on the benches. Coaches rushed in to try and pull everyone apart, including pulling a fan that jumped down from the stands that was later revealed to be Johnson's brother.

After both coaches got their teams back to their benches, the refs immediately went to the monitors to evaluate which players would receive fouls and possible ejections. After about a 20-minute delay, it was announced that Johnson would receive an intentional foul, the one that was called on the court before everything broke out. Cardoso was ejected for fighting, which disqualifies her from playing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

When a fight breaks out on the court, only coaches are permitted to leave the bench area to break it up, no players are allowed to leave that area. In this case, every player on the LSU bench left the bench area resulting in their being ejected, leaving the Tigers with just their starting five on the court, no substitutions. All players but one on the South Carolina bench were ejected, leaving just Sania Feagin as a sub for the Gamecocks as she did not leave the bench area.

Te-Hina Paopao was in the middle of everything, but she was not ejected since she was at the scorer's table waiting to be subbed in. At the end of it all, six players were ejected from the game, leaving just one player on the bench for both teams combined.

After the madness, LSU lost the game 79-72 as South Carolina secured their eighth SEC title. Both teams will now have a week to rest and recuperate before Selection Sunday on March 17.

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