South Carolina advances to title game with win over Louisville

No. 1 South Carolina defeated No. 1 Louisville, 72-59 to advance to the 2022 NCAA Women’s National Championship Game.

Naismith Player of the Year, Aliyah Boston, led the way for the Gamecocks, finishing with 23 points and 18 rebounds in the Final Four victory.

South Carolina combined a strong team defense with a timely scoring to walk away with the NCAA semifinal win, advancing to the title game for the first time since winning the NCAA Championship in 2017.

The Gamecocks will play the winner of No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 2 Connecticut in the championship game.

South Carolina scored the first seven points of the game and took a 17-10 lead into the second quarter. In the second quarter, the Cardinals outscored South Carolina 18-17, trimming the Gamecock’s lead to six, 34-28, at halftime.

In the second half, South Carolina finished the third quarter with their strongest stanza of the game. The Gamecocks increased their lead to as large as 15 points in the third, but Louisville was able to cut into the lead late. With South Carolina up just six points with seconds to go in the quarter, Boston grabbed one of her 18 rebounds for the game, laying it up for two points while being fouled. She completed the three-point play, giving South Carolina a 57-48 advantage heading into the final stanza.

In the fourth, Boston scored seven of South Carolina’s 15 points in the quarter, helping punch the Gamecocks’ ticket to the NCAA final.

On Friday night, South Carolina and Louisville made the same number of field goals (27), but the Gamecocks made up the difference from both the three-point line and the charity stripe. South Carolina shot 6-for-17 from three-point range to Louisville’s 1-for-8; the Cardinals attempted just seven free throws (4-of-7), while the Gamecocks went 12-of-17 from the free-throw line.

South Carolina held Louisville’s leading scorer, Hailey Van Lith, to just nine points on 4-for-11 shooting. Coming into the Final Four, Van Lith had averaged 21 points per game over the rest of the NCAA tournament.

Paced by Boston’s game-high 23 points, South Carolina’s remaining four starters also finished in double-figures. Brea Beal finished with 12 points, Destanni Henderson had 11, while Victaria Saxton and Zia Cooke both had 10 points apiece.

South Carolina now awaits the winner of the Stanford-Connecticut showdown. The 2022 NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship Game is scheduled for Sunday at 8:00 pm

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo