South Carolina tops Louisville, advances to NCAA women’s basketball championship game

“You see delighted tears, satisfied tears, right now,” Boston claimed in her postgame Television interview. “I’m just thanking God we have a single a lot more sport.”

Brea Beal matched her time large with 12 points and assisted hold Cardinals star Hailey Van Lith to 9 points on 4-for-11 taking pictures as the Gamecocks (34-2) delivered an additional stifling defensive performance and superior to meet up with Connecticut Sunday evening.

“Life in typical, it is likely to toss checks at you. You are likely to have to pass the checks or you’re going to have to retake them,” mentioned mentor Dawn Staley, who will test to win her 2nd countrywide championship with South Carolina 8 months immediately after the Corridor of Famer led the US workforce to a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

Destanni Henderson scored 11 points with 3-for-6 capturing from 3-point selection for South Carolina, which had a 19-5 assists gain and improved to 13- this time from AP-rated opponents.

Emily Engstler led Louisville with 18 factors and 9 rebounds as the Cardinals went 1 for 8 from 3-position vary and ended up never ready to come across a rhythm in the fifty percent courtroom from the No. 1 overall seed in this match.

South Carolina, which received it all in 2017, was ousted in the semifinals last year by a single issue to eventual winner Stanford when Boston’s put-back again attempt bounced off the rim at the buzzer. The 6-foot-5 junior from the US Virgin Islands has bounced suitable again a 12 months afterwards, and the Gamecocks have adopted her guide.

“We knew that had been going to be tested, and this is the hump that we need to have to get around,” Boston said.

Kianna Smith and Olivia Cochran each scored 14 factors for the Cardinals (29-5), who have been the only group in this Closing 4 without having an NCAA championship in their trophy circumstance. This was the program’s fourth vacation to the national semifinals in coach Jeff Walz’s 15 seasons.

“You really don’t ever want to say which is your most loved staff, mainly because then all your earlier teams get mad at you, but I’d put this team proper up there at the major,” Walz said. “It was just an absolute joy to coach.”

The Gamecocks, who ended up the wire-to-wire No. 1 team in the AP poll this period, squeezed their to start with 4 event opponents in the Greensboro Region to a bleak normal of 41.2 points on their way to a fourth Final Four in the very last seven several years.

The Cardinals, 1 of the a few No. 1 seeds in this Ultimate 4, made it out of the Wichita Area without having any difficulties. Van Lith, the relentless sophomore guard with the perpetually flopping blond pigtails, strike the 20-point mark in each individual of their to start with 4 match online games.

Van Lith met her match with Beal, who had a 4-inch peak benefit and shadowed her all more than the court as she generally does to the opponent’s most perilous player. Van Lith, whose very first basket came on a knifing push for a layup with 1:43 left in the 2nd quarter, had two jumpers blocked by Beal and a few turnovers in the 1st 50 percent.

Engstler, the hard-as-nails transfer from Syracuse, assisted Louisville preserve Boston from receiving too at ease in the paint although Cochran helped with the muscle. Actual physical play can occur with a price tag, nevertheless, and with 4.2 seconds still left in the third quarter Boston drew Engstler’s fourth foul on a putback layup and stretched the direct to 57-48 with the and-a person free of charge toss.

Engstler fouled out with 4:56 to go and experienced her head buried in her clenched fingers on the bench as her teammates experimented with to console her.

“I assume we should really all depart this arena and Minneapolis with our heads held pretty superior. I’m really proud of this crew, and I’ve experienced an wonderful time with them,” Engstler mentioned.

Soon after placing up 28 factors and 22 rebounds in the Sweet 16 towards North Carolina, Boston had lots still left for the Final Four.

Wearing her common lively braids in a shiny-pink-and-purple mix, Boston served the Gamecocks established a commanding tone early with an 11-2 guide. The Cardinals missed 7 of their very first eight photographs from the ground.

Louisville enjoyed a 12- operate early in the 2nd quarter to just take a quick-lived a few-point edge, but South Carolina only experienced so substantially additional to supply following that. Henderson’s 3-pointer gave the Gamecocks their greatest direct at 51-36 midway as a result of the third quarter, and the Cardinals had been only in just much less than eight details for 42 seconds after that.

Boston had 15 details and 10 rebounds in the 2nd fifty percent.

“The sport just opened up,” she said. “We ended up equipped to carry on to move the ball.”