The No. 1-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks used great defense to lead to productive offense and jumped all over Texas, smothering the Longhorns 62-34 in the Elite Eight to advance to their third Final Four appearance in program history.
The No. 6 Longhorns, who had been the aggressors in their Sweet 16 upset over Maryland, found themselves instead getting bullied by the Gamecocks, particularly in the lane. South Carolina racked up 14 blocks, grabbed 47 rebounds to Texas’ 33, and otherwise controlled the paint. Most impressively, UT scored just seven points in the first quarter, and was held scoreless in the fourth.
Zia Cooke led all scorers with 16 points and also earned the highlight of the night with this nifty reverse layup:
As the above clip shows, South Carolina dealt a lot of damage in transition, using blocks and defensive rebounds to key aggressive offensive possessions. While Texas did muster enough for a couple runs, the Longhorns simply couldn’t regroup to an extent that would have allowed them to challenge to the Gamecocks.
Victaria Saxton and Destanni Henderson each put up 12 points for South Carolina, with Saxton’s eight rebounds just missing a double-double. Aliyah Boston (10 points, eight rebounds) got the better of fellow big Charli Collier, who was held to just four points in their highly anticipated bout. Laeticia Amihere continued to be an impressive spark off the bench, scoring 10 points, collecting eight rebounds, and enjoying a monster defensive performance with nine blocks.
The Gamecocks join No. 1 seed UConn and No. 3 Arizona in the Final Four. South Carolina awaits the winner of No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 2 Louisville, which it will meet on April 2 (time TBD).