South Carolina women beat Stanford 62-53 in Final Four


Gonzaga controlled the first half, making 20-of-34 field goals, but couldn't break away as the Gamecocks made some timely shots and only turned it over four times.

OR stands in the way of North Carolina's chance to reach the title game for a second straight year.

Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

SC has faced teams with size in the NCAA Tournament, but Gonzaga might be the toughest challenge yet. "But then we also can combine that with the athleticism, the shot-blocking of Zach Collins and Killian Tillie helps".

The Gamecocks (26-10) start the Final Four against Gonzaga (36-1) in the opener at 3:09 p.m., while Corona del Sol product Casey Benson and OR (33-5) take on the Tar Heels (30-7) in the game afterward at approximately 5:49 p.m. The Tar Heels are on a revenge tour of sorts after last year's loss in the championship game at the buzzer and the Ducks have been flying under the radar since the loss of their 3rd-leading scorer Chris Boucher to a torn ACL in the PAC-12 Tournament.

SC forced 16 turnovers, nine of them in the second half, in a defensive performance that was typical for a Gamecocks team known for their aggression and physicality.

Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss turned the corner and dribbled into traffic, waited for three SC defenders to converge on him in the paint and then lobbed a little hook toward the rim despite Justin McKie smacking him on the left arm. He made the first and missed the second on goal. One concern with the Ducks, who are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games on a Saturday, though, is their late-game execution, since they rely on freshman PG Payton Pritchard and are inefficient at free-throw shooting.

"We had been practicing it all year and we always want to foul under 6 (seconds). I've just got to make the most of my minutes", Woods said. The second part is you've got to get the rebound, and that's what's been hard for us at times. Point guard Williams-Goss has put together a Wooden Award-type season and down low, 7-foot-1 center Przemek Karnowski is a matchup nightmare who can score from the post or find open teammates. It's sort of a painfully obvious thing to say, but if anyone's going to dethrone CT, it will be the victor of this game.

The spread is somewhat surprising for this game, considering how good SC has looked.

The Gamecocks were the surprise team of this Final Four.

When South Carolina shot just 14 percent in the second quarter and trailed by nine at halftime, it appeared all the momentum was on Stanford's side. And I think the whole unfinished business or revenge, I don't know how you can have revenge on a team that wasn't the person that took it from you.

"First I'd like to congratulate Dawn and her South Carolina Gamecocks".

The interlopers feel like they have a little more intruding to do as the Final Four gets ready to take place in Glendale. The Zags made 12 of 24 3-pointers to beat Xavier in the Elite Eight, but went 12 for 46 in wins over South Dakota State and Northwestern. Good luck to both teams, as the victor will take on the winner of the Gonzaga versus SC game that precedes theirs.