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Lady Gamecocks finish off the Seminoles; Advance to first Final Four in program history

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In a back and forth tilt, the Lady Gamecocks would battle back from as many as 10 points down and would punch their first ever ticket to the Final Four.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Things started out bleakly for the Lady Gamecocks. By the ten minute mark in the first half, USC was down double digits and looked absolutely flustered on the defensive end. During the halftime interview Aleigsca Welch attributed the slow start by Carolina to needing to "calm down." Well, calm down they did, as Bianca Cuevas came in and immediately sparked the team and made a number of athletic plays. A major problem for the majority of the first half was the pressure applied by the FSU guards on the guards of Carolina. Led by Cuevas, the guards of Carolina started to attack the defense instead of waiting for the game to come to them and it made a huge difference as USC went into half only down by 3 points.

A big turning point in slowing down the FSU offense was Khadijah Sessions on FSU's do it all guard Leticia Romero. Early in the second half it was obvious that Sessions was pestering Romero as she committed several turnovers early on in the second half and had trouble putting the ball in the basket. With Sessions hounding Romero, Coates dominating inside, and Mitchell living up to her SEC Player of the Year award, the Gamecocks slowly started to chip away at the FSU lead.

With 10:41 left in the second half, USC cut the lead to one on a pair of Alaina Coates free throws and then took its first lead of the day soon after at the 10 minute mark. Finally, at the 9:12 point in the second half, USC took their first lead of the second half.  However, the teams would continue to exchange blows as the game continued to go back and forth. With just under 2 minutes left Tiffany Mitchell would hit a left handed layup to take another 2 point lead. After a Carolina stop, Mitchell hit a three pointer to extend the USC lead to 5. After a miss by Mitchell with 30 seconds left and up by three, she grabbed her own miss and knocked down two free throws to extend the USC lead to 5 again.

However, FSU would not go quietly as they quickly knocked down a three pointer to cut the lead back to two points. While USC struggled making free throws today, they quickly turned it around down the stretch as they would make several in a row (with Dozier making four straight in the last 25 seconds). Dozier would salt the game away and the Gamecocks would finish off the game with a 80-74 victory as they moved on to their first Final Four in program history. Mitchell led all scorers with 21 points with Alaina Coates finishing with 14.