The South Carolina women’s basketball team had seven different players score on Sunday afternoon as the Gamecocks came away with a 76-65 Sweet Sixteen victory over No. 5 seed Georgia Tech.
At the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, sophomore guard Zia Cooke led the Gamecocks in scoring with 17 points, four rebounds and two assists. Sophomore forward Laetica Amihere also had a big game against the Yellow Jackets with 15 points and seven rebounds.
As a team, South Carolina shot relatively well from the field, shooting 56% despite sophomore forward Aliyah Boston having trouble finding the basket and finishing with 7 points.
“I just think there’s an extra effort of concentration. There’s an extra effort of players knowing that they’re going to play,” head coach Dawn Staley said. “I think they can relax once they get in the game, they can be who they are — the best version of who they are.”
The stellar offensive production kept the game competitive from start to finish. The Gamecocks went on several runs throughout the game, including a run that gave South Carolina a 17-point lead in the third.
However, the Jackets always found a way to get back in the ballgame with runs of its own.
“It’s the Sweet Sixteen, so every team is going to bring their all. We knew that coming into the game it wasn’t just going to be a cakewalk,” Amihere said. “We definitely had to adjust to [the Georgia Tech runs] but we knew that we were not going to be shaken up because this is the Sweet Sixteen.”
Georgia Tech guard Lotta-Maj Lahtinen was also a problem for the Gamecocks in the first half as she scored 16 points on 7-10 shooting. Nevertheless, South Carolina defense was able to slow down the junior in the second half as she only scored 4 points.
Another key factor that lifted the Gamecocks over the Yellow Jackets was the team's 3-point shooting. In its last two tournament games, South Carolina shot just 13.8% (4-29) from downtown but on Sunday, the Gamecocks shot an astounding 57% (8-14) against Tech.
Cooke led the way in 3-point shooting as she shot 5-6 from beyond the arc.
The Gamecocks will face No. 6 seed Texas on Tuesday, March 30, in the Elite Eight. The game will be televised on ESPN.
The Longhorns are coming off a Sweet Sixteen win over Maryland on Sunday night after defeating Bradley and UCLA. Texas is led in scoring by junior forward Charli Collier, averaging 19.7 points per game with three other Longhorns averaging double figures, as well.
This article was updated March 28, 2021, at 11:38 p.m.