A consistent offensive performance, along with a lockdown defensive display, was enough for the Gamecocks as they won their Elite Eight matchup against the Florida State Seminoles on Monday night.
The Gamecocks saw an even all-around production on the offensive end of the floor, as junior Kaela Davis lead the way with 23 points and All-American A’ja Wilson scored 16 points. South Carolina would end the game having shot 57.8 percent from the floor. Guards Tyasha Harris and Allisha Gray also added 16 and 11 points, respectively.
South Carolina defense steps up
While their performance on offense was as strong as usual, it was their showing on the defensive end of the floor that kept Florida State at bay for most of the game, and played a key part in the Gamecocks ultimately sealing their trip to the Final Four in Dallas.
Although the game finished with Florida State losing by only seven points, by a score of 71-64, South Carolina limited the Seminoles to just 36.6 percent shooting from the field as well as a miserable 13.3 percent from three-point range.
Florida State started the fourth quarter with a run that saw them cut the Gamecock lead to just three points with just under four minutes left to play, but South Carolina’s defense limited the Seminoles to just two more points throughout the remainder of the game.
A’ja Wilson foul trouble no problem for Gamecocks
A major confidence-booster heading into the Final Four will be South Carolina’s ability to play their game and play well, even without A’ja Wilson on the floor.
Midway through the second quarter, Wilson got into foul trouble and was forced to sit out for the remainder of the first half, as well as most of the third quarter. Despite playing without arguably their best player, the Gamecocks were still able to run their offense just as efficiently.
South Carolina’s win on Monday marked the second time in both Dawn Staley’s reign as head coach and the last three seasons that the Gamecocks will be making a trip to the Final Four. Previously they reached the national semifinal in 2015 with an Elite Eight win over the same Florida State Seminoles team that they knocked off this year.
In their 2015 trip to the Final Four, the Gamecocks failed to advance to the national title game after falling to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish by a single point. This time around, South Carolina will face up against the two-seed Stanford Cardinals, who will be seeking their third national championship.
The Gamecocks tip off against Stanford this Friday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time in Dallas.