South Carolina’s march through madness and along the path of its title defense continues today at 2 p.m., when the No. 1 overall seed squares off in a postseason rematch with the fourth-seeded UCLA Bruins (27-9) in the Greenville 1 Regional.
Earlier this season in the non-conference portion of their schedule, the Gamecocks found themselves in a dogfight with the Bruins, emerging victorious in a 73-64 win that they had to work for. Post play saved the day for USC, with Kamilla Cardoso and Aliyah Boston teaming up in the second half to score 14 and 12 points, respectively, to make the difference for the Gamecocks, who trailed by four at halftime.
Now, South Carolina (34-0) will face a UCLA squad coming off an 82-73 win over fifth-seeded Oklahoma, a game the Bruins largely controlled from the tip and saw senior guard Charisma Osbourne net a career-high 36 points, which was also a program postseason record. Freshman Kiki Rice stood out for the Bruins as well, scoring 14 points and making seven of her eight free throws — a UCLA strength (78% on the season).
The Bruins, making their eighth appearance in the Sweet 16, led the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds (14.9 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.48). They are also, oddly enough, one of just two teams in Division I to have a -6.0-point or less scoring margin in its losses.
Should the Gamecocks advance to the Elite 8, they would face the winner of No. 2 Maryland vs. third-seeded Notre Dame.