- Isaac J. Mays
Defense Propels Gamecocks to Sweet 16
Following their 79-53 win against 16-seed Mercer in the opening round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, South Carolina came into tonight’s matchup with 8-seed Oregon State looking to move into the Sweet 16 for the seventh-straight time.
The No. 1-seeded Gamecocks were able use stout defense to hold Oregon State to their lowest point total of the season, leading to a 59-42 win that keeps South Carolina’s championship hopes alive.
The first quarter was a standstill as both teams were slow to score as each team scored under 20 points. Despite having 40% team field goal average, Oregon St. trailed 13-14 at the end of the 1stquarter.
Both teams would get off to a slow start in the first quarter, and Oregon State was shooting well when they had their chances. However, South Carolina would lead by 1-point, 14-13, after the first quarter.
The Gamecocks were able to breakaway in the second quarter, in large part to their defensive efforts.
South Carolina would score nine points off six steals as they held Oregon State to just five points in the second quarter. USC would close out the second quarter on a 14-2 run and go into halftime leading 30-18.
The Gamecocks once again leaned on their talented frontcourt of Aliyah Boston and Victaria Saxton.
The duo was able to lead the team by scoring 15 of USC’s 23 third quarter points and combined for four blocks.
Despite Oregon St. outscoring South Carolina 13-6 in the 4thquarter, South Carolina was able to hold on and clinch the win.
Oregon State would regain the moment in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Gamecocks by seven points, however it was too little, too late as USC closed out the 17-point victory.
Boston, a finalist for both Naismith Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, led the Gamecocks with 19 points and seven rebounds, while guards Destanni Henderson and Zia Cooke combined for eight rebounds and finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Now in their seventh-straight Sweet 16, the Gamecocks will look to take one more step towards the championship as they face 5-seed Georgia Tech on Saturday March 27on ESPN at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.