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South Carolina 78-59 NC State (Apr 5, 2024) Game Recap



South Carolina 78-59 NC State (Apr 5, 2024) Game Recap

CLEVELAND — — Completely dominant. Nothing new for South Carolina.

With All-America middle Kamilla Cardoso scoring 22 factors, the Gamecocks emphatically stored their unbeaten season going, advancing to the championship sport of the ladies’s NCAA Event with a 78-59 victory over North Carolina State on Friday evening.

The gifted and tenacious Gamecocks (37-0) led by only one at halftime earlier than placing their full arsenal on show within the third quarter. They clamped down on protection, began pulling down 3-pointers and outscored the Wolfpack 29-6 to show what had been a tense matchup into one other one in all their blowouts.

“We turned up the warmth,” coach Daybreak Staley stated.

South Carolina will meet Caitlin Clark and Iowa for the nationwide title on Sunday in a rematch of a Closing 4 sport final yr, when the Hawkeyes ended the Gamecocks’ excellent season.

After rallying previous UConn in Friday’s later semifinal, Clark and her teammates could have their palms full. South Carolina seems to be on a mission.

“I may inform by our faces and voices,” stated Gamecocks ahead Ashlyn Watkins, who had 20 rebounds. “We needed it extra.”

Aziaha James scored 20 factors on 6-of-17 taking pictures for No. 3 seed N.C. State (31-7), which knocked off a No. 1 and a No. 2 seed to get to Cleveland.

However the Wolfpack had no shot towards the Gamecocks, who have been a unanimous No. 1 many of the season within the AP High 25 and are aiming to turn into the primary undefeated nationwide champions since UConn in 2016.

They give the impression of being all however invincible.

“They simply punched us within the mouth within the third quarter,” James stated. “I felt just like the third quarter actually harm us. I really feel like we may have fought more durable. It was 6-29. We are able to’t let issues like that occur to win a championship.”

Cardoso added 11 rebounds whereas taking part in simply 23 minutes.

She harm her proper leg late within the first half and returned within the third quarter, carrying a black compression sleeve. Staley had the luxurious of resting her star middle within the fourth quarter to verify she’s prepared for Sunday.

“She’s not going to love this reply, however she’s a gorgeous Brazilian warrior,” Gamecocks guard Te-Hina Paopao stated of Cardoso. “She’s simply superior, man. She’s going to play by some ache. She’s going to push by that. Figuring out we’ve got yet another sport, she’s undoubtedly going to be OK.”

Watkins was just as dominant inside for the Gamecocks, getting 15 of her boards on the defensive finish and scoring eight factors. Raven Johnson added 13 factors.

Saniya Rivers, who transferred from South Carolina to N.C. State after profitable a title as a freshman, shot simply 2 of 11 and had 5 turnovers as her former teammates made each contact a tricky one.

N.C. State coach Wes Moore knew his staff must play its greatest to have any probability of bringing down larger, badder South Carolina.

On Thursday, he likened the semifinal to a David-vs.-Goliath matchup and promised his staff would “put the stone within the sling and let it rip.”

The Wolfpack wanted greater than stones.

“I’ll most likely throw up a couple of instances after I watch that third quarter,” stated Moore, who regretted not switching to a zone protection earlier. “I don’t really feel like an excellent coach after that butt-kickin’. However our gamers, you’ve received to have gamers.

“I at all times say you don’t win the Kentucky Derby with a mule. You’ve received to have horses.”

Relishing the underdog function, the Wolfpack, who misplaced a double-overtime heartbreaker to UConn two years in the past within the Elite Eight, have been hoping to copy among the magic the college conjured in 1983. Again then, N.C. State’s Jim Valvano-coached males’s staff shocked the hoops world by beating closely favored Houston within the NCAA title sport — an upset that helped outline March Insanity.

However not like a yr in the past, when South Carolina stormed into the Closing 4 in Dallas with an equivalent 36-0 document earlier than dropping to Iowa, the Gamecocks stored this season pristine.

The 6-foot-7 Cardoso made positive of it regardless of not shifting in addition to traditional after the harm. South Carolina, which gained by a median of 29.6 factors this season, left little doubt after halftime, displaying its dominance to a sellout crowd and nationwide TV viewers.

“Kamilla is a energy of ours,” Staley stated. “She’s 6-7. She’s agile. She will command the paint. She performs with a need to win. She requested for the ball a few instances as effectively, that means get her the ball.

“It is that. It’s ‘I don’t wish to lose, I don’t need our season to finish in any approach besides the way in which I envisioned, and that’s profitable the nationwide championship.’ And when you’ll be able to put your play behind your imaginative and prescient, it makes a gorgeous reminiscence.”

Paopao and Johnson made 3-pointers because the Gamecocks rapidly stretched their result in 10, they usually closed the quarter with a dizzying 17-1 run that quieted a rowdy N.C. State crowd.

Whereas this unprecedented season of girls’s basketball has been largely pushed by Clark’s assault on the document books together with her logo-distance 3-pointers and charisma inspiring followers from coast to coast, one staff rose to the highest.

It’s been South Carolina all alongside.

These Gamecocks have dominated the roost with equal quantities of depth, expertise and swagger.

Staley wasn’t positive what kind of staff she had when the season started after having to switch 5 starters from final yr’s squad. She additionally apprehensive about her younger staff’s carefree perspective and whether or not this group would mature.

However not solely did the Gamecocks bond and get themselves collectively, they’re one win from cementing South Carolina as a dynasty.

“Another sport left,” Paopao stated. “We’re excited for that.”


AP March Insanity bracket: and protection:

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