Skip to content
Kamilla Cardoso

Kamilla Cardoso not defined by shoving incident

Kamilla Cardoso apologizes for shoving LSU player

Kamilla Cardoso has quietly been one of the best players in women’s college basketball for the last two years. The 6-foot-7 center has led No. 1 South Carolina to a perfect record this season while leading a program that lost five starters from last season’s Women’s Final Four squad.

The Brazilian star is an imposing presence on the court with a sweet demeanor off the court. Unfortunately, some sports fans were introduced to her for the first time Sunday when she was ejected for fighting in the SEC Tournament Championship Game.

She shoved LSU star Flau’jae Johnson to the ground after Johnson exchanged words and a shove with a South Carolina player. Some would argue that Cardoso was standing up for a teammate. Others would say there’s no place for what the 6-foot-7 Cardoso did to the 5-foot-10 Johnson. Tensions were high all game. There was plenty of trash talk on both sides, just as you’ll see regularly in men’s, boys and girls basketball and almost all sports in America. 

The South Carolina-LSU game was intense, to put it mildly. The undefeated Gamecocks were facing the defending national champions. Elbows were flying, and replays show that LSU star Angel Reese even pulled Cardoso’s hair at one point in the game. Was it on purpose? Only Reese knows. 

Kamilla Cardoso shows remorse

The important thing is that Kamilla Cardoso knows she was wrong. She issued an apology via social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

“I would like to extend my sincerest apologies for my actions during today’s game,” she wrote 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.”


Hannah Hidalgo, Celeste Taylor, Kamilla Cardoso shine defensively

Jackson Chourio leads Top 5 Latino Breakout Stars for 2024

Latina Athlete of the Year: Hannah Hidalgo

That apology was her first original post on X since last Sept. 18. Cardoso had shared only two resposts this year, and one of them was a video of her reaction after coach Dawn Staley surprised her by flying Cardoso’s mother and sister from Brazil ahead of Senior Day.

That March 2 video that South Carolina shared showed the sacrifices Cardoso has made to chase her basketball dreams. Cardoso moved to the United States by herself at 15 years old to play basketball at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Four years later, she was a McDonald’s All-American rated as the No. 5 player in the Class of 2020. She originally signed with Syracuse out of high school.

Cardoso transferred to South Carolina after becoming the ACC’s Freshman of the Year and Co-Defensive Player of the Year. She helped the Gamecocks win the national championship as a sophomore off the bench. Later that year, she helped Brazil win the FIBA South America Championship as the tournament MVP.

Defensive excellence

A year later, she was named the SEC Sixth Woman of the Year in 2023. She blossomed further this year as a contender for the SEC Player of the Year Award. She was edged out by LSU’s Reese for that honor, but she was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

Cardoso was a dominant presence throughout the SEC Tournament. With her mother in the stands, she even hit a buzzer-beater in the semifinals against Tennessee to avoid the upset. It was the first 3-pointer of Cardoso’s college career. She banked it in to set up the championship game against LSU. Cardoso’s mother got to see her daughter’s heroics and the celebration.

She added eight points, six rebounds and three blocks on Sunday in the SEC Tournament Championship. Cardoso helped limit the superstar Reese to 15 points. The Reese-Cardoso duel was fun to watch. Two superstars lived up to their status. The game soured by a moment as rare as the previous game’s 3-point buzzer beater.

“But, I mean, Kamilla understands,” Staley told the media afterward. “She really understands. I think if you talk to Kamilla about things, she probably says she let her emotions get the best of her and she’s got to handle them better. She’s got to be better. She’s that important to our team, that important to the state of women’s basketball.

“Kamilla is a star. We just really can’t have her in a position where she’s in the locker room for anything other than halftime and the end of the basketball games.”

Kamilla Cardoso proved to be human. She made a mistake. That rare outburst shouldn’t define her in the same way that nobody should think she’s a 3-point specialist because of her heroics against Tennessee. 

Stay in the Loop

Get the Our Esquina Email Newsletter

By submitting your email, you are agreeing to receive additional communications and exclusive content from Our Esquina. You can unsubscribe at any time.