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South Carolina holds off Florida State, head to second Women’s Final Four in three seasons

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They’ve done it!

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Stockton Regional-South Carolina vs. Florida State John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks are headed to the Women’s Final Four for the second time in three seasons. A 71-64 win over the Florida State Seminoles in the Stockton Regional final sets them up with a date with the Stanford Cardinal in Dallas, Texas on Friday night.

Three quick thoughts from the game:

  1. The key was to see how the team responded with A’ja Wilson in foul trouble. As it turned out, they did pretty well - at least initially. Kaela Davis continued her electrifying play as one of the main catalysts for the team, while the defense kicked it up to a different gear early in the 3rd quarter to grow their lead. Seeing this team come together in Wilson’s absence - and Alaina Coates missing the tournament due to injury - has been extremely encouraging to watch, even though things got a little dicey toward the end of the third quarter despite FSU not being able to get inside single digits.
  2. The Noles were able to get within three points with 3:02 left with Wilson forced to play with four fouls. That’s when Kaela Davis went to work, hitting a big bucket with just over 90 seconds left to stretch the lead to 67-62. Florida State found themselves on the end of a controversial call not long after that as Leticia Romero looked to come up with a steal and a chance at a fast break layup, but it was ruled a foul (the replay showed that she did indeed get all ball). South Carolina was able to hold the Seminoles to a multiple-possession deficit as a pair of big boards by Ty Harris (and a late steal) and two key blocks by Wilson ended up as the difference. Davis had another brilliant night, finishing with 23 points on 10-13 shooting to lead all scorers.
  3. The Gamecocks hope that their latest trip to the Final Four is a little more successful than the one two years ago. They ended up losing a 66-65 heartbreaker to Notre Dame in Tampa in the national semifinal, but this time around will take on a tough Stanford Cardinal program that is in its 13th Final Four and is seeking its third national title.