SAN ANTONIO — Sixth-seeded Texas went chilly on the worst attainable second, failing to muster a reputable risk to South Carolina. Louisville had a transparent shot at Stanford, however the top-seeded Cardinal got here again — after which some — within the second half.
Each Stanford and South Carolina, No. 1 seeds in an N.C.A.A. ladies’s basketball match discipline that has commanded a justifiable share of issue for groups on the prime, moved on to the Ultimate 4 on Tuesday night time to affix one other No. 1 seed, UConn, and third-seeded Arizona.
Stanford claimed the final spot within the nationwide semifinals with a 78-63 defeat of Louisville, after trailing by 12 factors at halftime. South Carolina sailed within the spherical of 8 with a 62-34 win over Texas.
Within the final signal of futility after a run that included upsets of U.C.L.A. and Maryland, Texas scored 0 factors within the fourth quarter — lacking all 15 of its pictures. The Longhorns shot 23 p.c for the sport.
The Gamecocks dominated from the begin to earn their third journey to the nationwide semifinals and their first since successful a nationwide title in 2017.
“Once we acquired knocked down 4 instances this season, they acquired again up stronger,” South Carolina Coach Daybreak Staley stated in a tv interview after the sport, referring to the Gamecocks’ 4 losses this 12 months. “And that’s the mark of a real champion.”
Louisville’s Dana Evans put up 10 of her 24 factors within the first quarter whereas the Cardinals stored Stanford under 28 p.c capturing within the first half.
However a 13-0 run towards the top of the third quarter put the Cardinal forward as they began containing Louisville’s prime scorers. Then, Stanford ran away during the last 10 minutes. Lexie Hull had 21 factors and 9 rebounds whereas Haley Jones had 10 factors and 10 rebounds.
Stanford’s Ashten Prechtel, who completed with 16 factors and made all six of her pictures, opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer that bolstered Stanford’s confidence and sparked a decisive run.
Zia Cooke and Destanni Henderson repeatedly fed Victaria Saxton within the paint, weaving via Texas’ infamous protection with ease. Cooke led with 16 factors, and added 6 rebounds and three assists. Henderson had 12 factors and seven assists, whereas Saxton had 12 factors and eight rebounds.
The Longhorns acquired into gear briefly within the third quarter as increasingly Texas followers trickled into the viewers after work hours, bolstering the cheers and outcries that bounced across the cavernous stadium partitions on the Alamodome.
Audrey Warren, who led Texas with 13 factors, scored two of her — and the group’s — three 3-pointers within the third quarter. And at one level, Texas got here inside 10 factors of South Carolina on a second-chance layup by Lauren Ebo.
However that was as shut because the Longhorns acquired after South Carolina took an early 15-point lead and scored 14 factors off Texas turnovers. Trying exhausted and downtrodden after Warren scored their last factors within the third quarter, the Longhorns let South Carolina have fun early with a giant run whereas they continued to observe their pictures bounce off the rim, not including a single level to their rating within the last 10-minute interval.
“It was onerous for me to not get too excited,” South Carolina’s Cooke stated of the final quarter in a name with reporters after the sport.
It was the primary scoreless interval of the ladies’s match because the N.C.A.A. switched from halves to quarters in 2016, in keeping with the group’s data. (South Dakota had beforehand set a report for the lowest-scoring quarter in a match recreation with a 1-point interval in opposition to Oregon within the first spherical.)
“I believed it was a fairly good defensive efficiency, however I additionally assume that Texas was slightly drained,” Staley stated.
The Longhorns and Gamecocks had not beforehand met since 2016, nevertheless Texas Coach Vic Schaefer and Staley have — together with for the nationwide title in Dallas in 2017, when Schaefer was teaching Mississippi State. The Bulldogs ended UConn’s 111-game successful streak to get there, however South Carolina got here out on prime for its solely championship. Staley beat Schaefer in 12 out of their 15 conferences whereas they had been Southeastern Convention foes.
“I all the time sit up for enjoying Vic due to what he places into his scouting studies, his game-planning and his scheming,” Staley advised reporters on Monday.
Even with out the pandemic, Texas went via vital transition this summer season when Schaefer took over for longtime coach Karen Aston. Gamers recalled struggling to get to know one another and their coaches throughout video calls and restricted practices, and stated that has helped them bond and peak on the proper time throughout the managed atmosphere arrange for the match.
It was a comparatively quiet night time for South Carolina sophomore ahead Aliyah Boston and Texas junior middle Charli Collier, who had each averaged double-doubles this match and went head-to-head on Tuesday night time. Boston, who’s up for just a few player-of-the-year awards, had 10 factors and eight rebounds; Collier, who’s projected to be the No. 1 choose within the W.N.B.A. draft, was held to 4 factors after lacking 8 of 10 pictures.
Boston additionally had a sluggish begin throughout South Carolina’s round-of-16 recreation in opposition to Georgia Tech however picked it up within the second half the place she scored all 9 factors. However in that recreation her teammates stepped in, led by Cooke on the perimeter with 17 factors in a 76-65 win.
With its powerhouse protection, Texas was additionally in a position to maintain No. 2 seed Maryland to its lowest rating of the season in a 64-61 upset to advance to the spherical of 8 by limiting the Terrapins’ possessions and forcing 11 turnovers.
The followers helped too, Schaefer stated. The college, situated in Austin, is about 80 miles from San Antonio, the hub for the match the place most of its video games have been staged. “I believed our followers offered an ideal atmosphere for each groups,” Schaefer stated Monday.
South Carolina will play top-seeded Stanford. On Monday night time, No. 1-seeded UConn and No. 3-seeded Arizona squeezed previous their opponents to arrange the opposite semifinal. Each semifinals are scheduled for Friday night time.