COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - A'ja Wilson scored 29 points and No. 8 South Carolina had assists on 21 of 26 baskets in an 81-63 victory over Kentucky on Sunday.
Wilson shot 9 of 16 from the field, made 11 of 12 free throws and had nine rebounds and five assists in just 26 minutes for the Gamecocks (22-5, 11-3 Southeastern Conference).
Maci Morris' shooting and Kentucky's collapsing defense kept the Wildcats (13-15, 5-9) in it for a quarter. But the Gamecocks held the Wildcats scoreless until two free throws with 4:17 left in the second quarter that cut South Carolina's lead to 29-20.
The All-America senior would sit on the bench the rest of the first half. But South Carolina still managed to extend its lead by three points. The Gamecocks outscored the Wildcats 29-18 in the third quarter to put it away.
Morris had a career-high 35 points for Kentucky on 13-of-23 shooting, including 5 of 9 on 3-pointers. The rest of the Wildcats were 9 for 32 from the field. South Carolina made 23 of its 25 free throws.
Bianca Jackson had 12 points and five assists for the Gamecocks, and Tyasha Harris added eight points and seven assists.
Kentucky: The loss assures the Wildcats their first losing season in SEC play since 2009 and only the second in coach Matthew Mitchell's 11 seasons. Kentucky has won at least 10 SEC games each season since 2010 and hasn't had an overall losing season since 2003-04. The loss also knocks Mitchell from second to third in wins by active SEC coaches. South Carolina coach Dawn Staley passed him with her 108th league win.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks four-year run as Southeastern Conference regular season champions is likely ending, if not Sunday, then soon. If Mississippi State wins any of its final three, staring Sunday night against Texas A&M then the Bulldogs win the league outright. But the win by the Gamecocks did help them close in on another goal. They remain in sole possession of second place. The top four teams in the SEC get double byes in the conference tournament.
Kentucky: At Mississippi on Thursday night.
South Carolina: Host LSU in the final regular-season home game of Wilson's career.