Each time Texas attempted to stomp back into it, South Carolina answered. The No. 1 seed Gamecocks handled the six seed with ease in the Hemisfair region, 62-34, and are moving on to the Final Four. Texas didn’t score over the final 12:30 of the game.
South Carolina, which finished the 2020 season as the No. 1 team in the country, plays the winner of No. 1 overall seed Stanford and No. 2 Louisville.
South Carolina shuts down Texas in final quarter
South Carolina advanced with a balanced attack that included a near triple-double by Laeticia Amihere off the bench. She had 10 points on 5-for-8 shooting with nine blocks and eight rebounds. The young group went up early and pulled away late, never allowing Texas a whiff of a comeback.
“It says they’re locked in,” Dawn Staley said of the final score. “Obviously, we didn’t play perfect basketball. There’s some areas in which we need to improve or else we’re going to get rocked. But super proud of our players. They have been focused. They wanted to opportunity to get to the Final Four. The know nothing about what they just accomplished.”
Zia Cooke led all scorers with 16 points, six rebounds and three assists. Destanni Henderson had 12 points and a team-high seven assists. She was 2-for-3 from range. Victaria Saxton added 12 points and eight rebounds. Aliyah Boston was kept to 10 points on 2-for-11 shooting and eight rebounds against Texas center Charli Collier.
Brea Beal was the only starter kept to single-digit scoring. She made 1-of-3 field goals but added eight rebounds, two blocks and an assist.
The Gamecocks controlled the boards (47-33), doubled Texas up in assists (14-7) and quadrupled them on blocks. They had 14 blocks as a team on 61 Longhorn shot attempts (22%). Texas didn’t score again after Audrey Warren hit a 3-pointer with 2:30 to play in the third quarter.
Longhorns’ upset train ends
No. 6 Texas took down No. 3 UCLA and No. 2 Maryland en route to the Elite Eight. The upset of Maryland, an offensive juggernaut that averaged more than 90 points a game this season, took everything Texas had defensively.
As they did against the Terrapins, the Longhorns fell behind immediately against South Carolina. But this time they couldn’t come out of it as they had then.
Saxton continued her strong performance from the Sweet 16 and scored the Gamecocks’ first eight points in the paint on assists by the backcourt of Cooke and Henderson. Henderson, Boston and Cooke got into the scoring column and suddenly it was 14-2 in South Carolina’s favor three minutes into the contest.
The Gamecocks led, 18-7, after one quarter and carried a lead of at least eight points to take a 37-22 advantage at halftime. Saxton had 12 of the team’s points as the Gamecocks scored more in the paint (24) than Texas had as a team.
Collier, a junior widely considered the No. 1 pick in next month’s WNBA draft, was 2-for-10 from the floor and scored her four points in the first half. She added four rebounds and three blocks going up against Boston down low and sat for much of the third quarter with three fouls.
Warren, a junior, led all Texas scorers with 13 points and five rebounds. Sophomore Celeste Taylor and junior Lauren Ebo each had a team-high seven rebounds. Taylor added eight points and three steals. No one else scored more than four.
More from Yahoo Sports: