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Third quarter surge sends South Carolina past Stanford to the National Championship Game

Gamecocks recover from second period struggles to beat Cardinal.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Women's Final Four-Stanford vs South Carolina Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks will play for the NCAA women’s basketball championship on Sunday after knocking off the Stanford Cardinal 62-53. A’ja Wilson and Allisha Gray powered the Gamecocks to victory. Wilson finished with a double-double, scoring 13 points with 19 rebounds while Gray led the team with 18 points.

  1. The Gamecocks started off alright, jumping out to a 7-2 led. Points did not come easy after that as Carolina only scored 13 points in the remaining 15 minutes of the half. As expected with the low point total, it was a poor shooting performance. The team was 8-31, good enough for only 25.8 percent. Poor foul shooting also plagued the Gamecocks, going only 2-6 from the charity strip. Stanford lost Karlie Samuelson to an ankle injury early in the second quarter. They still were able to score consistently in the second period after Marta Sniezek came off the bench to score 8. During that period, the Gamecocks had a seven minute drought without a field goal. That allowed Stanford to take a 29-20 lead into the half.
  2. It was a much better third period for the Gamecocks. They opened the half on a 15-4 run that was capped off by a Bianca Cuevas-Moore three to give them the lead. Wilson grabbed her 16th rebound in the third period but was having trouble getting her offense going. She was constantly getting double-teamed down low. She took a shot to the face that left her on the bench for the final minutes of the third period. The Gamecocks took a 41-37 lead into the final period after scoring 21 points in the third, one more than the entire first half.
  3. Carolina started out the final period strong to take an eight point lead into the final three minutes. Stanford did not go away though, cutting the lead to three a minute later. Wilson split a pair of three throws before a Stanford turnover gave the Gamecocks the ball into the final minute. Tyasha Harris hit a jumper to put the Gamecocks up before a Cuevas-Moore put them up eight. Stanford hit a three to give them a little life before the Gamecocks iced the game from the foul-line.

Next up, the Gamecocks will take on the winner of UCONN and Mississippi State in the title game at 6 p.m. Sunday on ESPN.