Gamecocks advance to Final Four behind historic win
Following their 76-65 win against 5th-seed Georgia Tech in the Sweet 16, South Carolina came into tonight’s matchup with 6-seed Texas looking to advance to the Final Four for the third time in school history.
Behind a dominant second half, that included a historic fourth quarter defensive stand, the Gamecocks took down Texas 62-34 to advance one step closer to the championship.
The Gamecocks dominated the first quarter as they outscored the Longhorns 18-7. Texas was limited to shoot just 18.6% from the field, while South Carolina shot 57.1% from the field.
South Carolina would take a 37-22 lead into halftime.
The Gamecocks’ defensive performance in the second half can only be described as historically dominant.
Texas’ Charli Collier, who is projected as a top draft pick in the upcoming WNBA draft, was held to just four points on 2-8 shooting.
Leading 52-34, South Carolina would not let their foot off the gas as they entered the fourth quarter.
Texas would miss their last 19 shot attempts and go scoreless in the final quarter, becoming the first team in NCAA tournament history to not score in a quarter.
“Defense is what wins games,” said South Carolina guard Zia Cooke.
Cooke was named the Hemisfar Region’s Most Outstanding Player after leading the Gamecocks with 16 points, six rebounds, and one steal.
“You can’t shut a player down like Zia”, said South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley.
The Gamecocks’ dominant frontcourt of Aliyah Boston, Victaria Saxton, and Brea Beal combined for 24 points and 24 rebounds. Destanni Henderson would also score 12 points and dish out seven assists.
Coach Staley will be a part of history, along with Arizona’s Adia Barnes, as this year’s Final Four will be the first every in tournament history to feature two black women head coaches.
South Carolina will look to advance to the championship as they face No. 1 overall seed Stanford on Friday, April 2 at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN.