The South Carolina Gamecocks’ national title defense came to an end on Monday night, as the top-seeded UConn Huskies dominated en route to a 94-65 Elite 8 victory in Albany, N.Y.
To say the Gamecocks ran into a buzzsaw would be an understatement: UConn shot an unbelievable 90% from 3-point range in the first half, with Crystal Dangerfield hitting all five of her attempts, and the Huskies finished the game with a 60% mark from that distance. While the Gamecocks shot a healthy 50% from the field themselves, they netted just one 3-pointer and couldn’t keep pace with UConn’s scorching performance from behind the arc. Even by the Huskies’ incredible standards, this was a clinic of an offensive showing.
Poor defense and turnovers also haunted the Gamecocks, with South Carolina losing the ball 13 times to UConn’s seven, and the Huskies holding a slight rebounding edge (29-27). UConn came out firing, and the Gamecocks just couldn’t gather themselves long enough to mount a rally.
A’ja Wilson finished her career with a 27-point, 8-rebound effort to lead South Carolina. Alexis Jennings was the only other Gamecock in double figures with 15 points, and Bianca Jackson added eight.
While the loss — and especially the nature of it — is a bitter pill to swallow, South Carolina made it back to the Elite 8 without Alaina Coates, Kaela Davis, and Alisha Gray, all of whom made major contributions during the championship season. The Gamecocks will have to reshape the team again with the departure of Wilson, an all-time program and University of South Carolina great, and Jennings is mulling the WNBA as well.