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Gamecock women dominate defensively, handle UCLA 59-43

Onward and upward for South Carolina.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Greenville Regional Semifinals - South Carolina vs UCLA Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The top-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks turned in another vintage performance on defense and on the boards, overwhelming the fourth-seeded UCLA Bruins 59-43 on Saturday in the Greenville 1 Regional to earn their third straight trip to the Elite Eight.

Much like they did in November’s meeting against the Bruins, star forward Aliyah Boston and fellow big Kamilla Cardoso put on a clinic in the post: Boston scored just eight points, but pulled down 14 boards and nabbed two blocks, while Cardoso netted 10 points, four rebounds, and two blocks.

Guards Brea Beal and Bree Hall joined Cardoso with 10 points each.

The Gamecocks had a quiet day offensively — sharpshooter Zia Cooke scored just six points — with the Bruins throwing everything and the kitchen sink at packing the paint. But if there’s one way to overcome a 38% shooting performance, it’s to make the other team shoot just 29%, along with harassing them into 15 turnovers.

Owing to its sluggish offensive start, South Carolina held just a 25-15 halftime advantage. But true to their typical form, the Gamecocks dropped the hammer coming out of the locker room with a 25-point third quarter.

UCLA star Charisma Osborne led all scorers with 14 points, but was held in check after exploding for 36 points in the Bruins’ previous win over Oklahoma.

South Carolina (35-0) next faces 2-seed Maryland (28-6), winners of a 76-59 showdown against third-seeded Notre Dame. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. Monday on ESPN.