Top-seeded South Carolina (33-2) defeated 10-seed Creighton (23-10) Sunday night by the score of 80-50 to win the Greensboro Region of the NCAA Tournament and advance to the Final Four with hopes of avenging last year’s loss to Stanford at the same stage.
Although USC is mainly known for its defense, which keeps them in games even when the offense is not performing as well as it should, the Gamecocks excelled in both categories against Creighton.
South Carolina didn’t get off to an ideal start defensively, allowing 16 points in the first quarter, but it was clear from the get-go how things were going to play out on offense.
The Bluejays simply did not have an answer for the Gamecocks – most notedly Aliyah Boston – in the paint, scoring 42 of their 80 points in that area in addition to out-rebounding Creighton 43 to 23.
With Boston having to be double-teamed or even triple-teamed on multiple occasions, all the attention that was needed to guard her freed up countless opportunities for her teammates like Victaria Saxton and Brea Beal to dominate inside as well.
The Gamecocks responded defensively to start the second quarter, allowing only nine points in that frame, which appeared to be enough to break the game open.
A 19-2 run by South Carolina in the second quarter transformed a seven-point contest into a 24-point contest, and the Gamecocks eventually went into halftime with a 46-25 lead.
Things wouldn’t get much better for Creighton as the game went on with the lead growing to as large as 35 points in the fourth quarter.
In all, this was a very great showing for the Gamecocks as they enter the Final Four. USC shot 51% as a team (a tournament high), only had seven turnovers, continued its fantastic defensive play and found a way to spread the wealth offensively with four Gamecocks finishing with double-digit points.
Although Saxton secured a double-double, scoring 11 points with 11 rebounds, Boston’s double-double streak came to an end. She finished with 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting and seven rebounds after being taken out of the game with 6:37 left to play.
The Gamecocks travel to Minneapolis next Friday to play either the Louisville Cardinals or Michigan Wolverines with a national championship game berth on the line.