One year ago, the Gamecocks saw their title hopes disappear in this same stage, but today, it was a different story.
In a battle of one-seeds from different regions, South Carolina (34-2) defeated Louisville (29-5) in the Final Four Friday night by the score of 72-59 to advance to the NCAA National Championship.
The story of the game was how dominant South Carolina was offensively, scoring at least 15 points in each quarter while shooting 47% from the field.
The Gamecocks were able to attack both the inside – led by Aliyah Boston, who contributed 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting – in addition to the outside – led by Destanni Henderson, who contributed 11 points while shooting 3-of-6 from three-point range.
The game was also heavily led by starters for USC with each scoring at least 10 points.
In the beginning, it looked like South Carolina was going to run away with it as they took a quick 11-2 lead to start the game, capped off by a layup by Boston.
Louisville responded in the second quarter with a 12-0 run of its own, including six of those points being scored by Cardinal standout Emily Engstler, to take a 22-19 lead with 6:15 left to play in the first half.
The Gamecocks responded well to the run by the Cardinals, and they went into the half leading 34-28.
South Carolina would proceed to control most of the second half, extending the lead to as large as 15. Louisville would continue to cut the lead, but they never could quite get the deficit down to below six in the second half.
The Cardinals managed to put up a fight in the battle of the boards, too, being out-rebounded only 36 to 33.
The Gamecocks will face the Connecticut Huskies in the National Championship game Sunday night at 8 p.m.