N.C.A.A. Ladies’s Match: South Carolina and Texas Advance to the Spherical of 8

GREENSBORO, N.C. — There might be just one winner within the battle of the Carolinas.

South Carolina, hungry for its first nationwide championship title in 5 years, edged North Carolina within the spherical of 16 within the N.C.A.A. ladies’s event, defeating the Tar Heels, 69-61, on Friday night time.

Whereas the Tar Heels have been on a disruptive path within the Greensboro area, sending fourth-seeded Arizona packing on its dwelling court docket within the second spherical, the younger group was no match for the depth of the Gamecocks. Aliyah Boston, the star junior ahead who has been the centerpiece of her group, secured her 27th consecutive double-double with 28 factors and 22 rebounds, and the senior ahead Victaria Saxton delivered when her group wanted her most with 14 rebounds and two key blocks.

Boston secured all 13 factors for South Carolina within the fourth quarter.

However the win didn’t come simply. South Carolina struggled to maintain up with the speedy Tar Heels within the first half as they repeatedly drove downcourt, staying low and quick down the lane. The Gamecocks allowed 23 factors within the first quarter. Deja Kelly, North Carolina’s sophomore guard, danced round South Carolina’s protection to steer her group with 23 factors.

However Destanni Henderson and Zia Cooke responded with the velocity and scoring the Gamecocks wanted to remain afloat. Henderson completed with 13 factors and Cooke scored 15, ending the second quarter on her again after a profitable bounce shot. Once they missed a basket, Boston got here in and completed it off with two, three, typically 4 Tar Heels practically hanging off her.

“That was a troublesome recreation — hats off to North Carolina for enjoying an especially environment friendly basketball recreation,” Coach Daybreak Staley mentioned. “They pushed us to the restrict.”

The sport was the third Candy 16 matchup between the packages since 2014, and North Carolina’s first look within the third spherical since 2015, when it misplaced to South Carolina. The Gamecocks will subsequent face the winner of Friday night time’s recreation between Iowa State and Creighton.

Gamecock and Tar Heel followers alike crammed the Greensboro Coliseum, only a three-hour drive from Columbia, S.C., and an hour’s drive from Chapel Hill, N.C., making a sea of sunshine blue and purple towards South Carolina’s neon inexperienced and pink sneakers.

The Gamecocks had been in search of redemption after dropping to Stanford final 12 months within the semifinals by two factors. However coming into Friday’s recreation, a Gamecock win was removed from a certain guess. Whereas their ferocious protection, among the best within the event, has denied its competitors many times, the Gamecocks’ offense has struggled to transform drives to factors.

“This reveals it’s solely going to get more durable and more durable,” Cooke mentioned after the sport. “Now we have hold our foot on the fuel the entire time.”

— Remy Tumin

SPOKANE, Wash. — Texas superior to the spherical of Eight for the second straight event with a 66-63 victory over Ohio State on Friday, aided by decisive play from its senior guard Joanne Allen-Taylor and the group’s go-to publish gamers, Lauren Ebo and Aaliyah Moore.

The Buckeyes’ greatest two scorers all season, Jacy Sheldon and Taylor Mikesell, mixed for 36 factors, not sufficient to beat the Longhorns’ bodily protection.

The Longhorns took an early lead, staying forward till Texas’ level guard, the freshman Rori Harmon, picked up two fouls within the first quarter when a cost and a blocking name didn’t go her method in fast succession.

From that time, it began to look as if Ohio State may beat Texas at its personal recreation, urgent the Longhorns from baseline to baseline each time they inbounded the ball. Texas Coach Vic Schaefer mentioned that the press “is simply who we’re” earlier than the sport, but it surely was the Buckeyes who threatened turnovers each time the Longhorns needed to take the ball throughout halfcourt.

The Buckeyes ended the primary quarter with a 4-point lead thanks largely to Sheldon, who stored discovering methods to attain even when alternatives to shoot had been laborious to return by.

Allen-Taylor, who completed the primary half with 13 factors and added Four within the second, allowed Texas to enter the locker room with a lead by muscling to the basket with simply three seconds left and coming away with the bucket and the foul. That she was in a position to escape the primary half with out a single private foul was significantly notable, given how bodily the sport was to that time. The groups mixed for only one profitable 3-pointer within the first half, and gamers needed to battle for each try whether or not it was past the arc or inside it.

The Longhorns discovered a bit of momentum halfway via the third quarter, forcing turnovers and scoring off them whereas getting second-chance factors. However Ohio State’s senior guard Braxtin Miller hit all however one shot she tried that quarter, scoring Eight factors and maintaining Texas from getting snug.

Nonetheless, the Buckeyes began to look rather less energized and started to put off their full-court press. Coming into the ultimate body, Texas had stretched its result in 5 factors.

Texas would lead by as many as 10 factors, till Ohio State compelled a sequence of turnovers that introduced the sport proper again inside attain with simply 4 minutes remaining. The Longhorns’ lead shrank to 1 level as the sport clock wound down, and the Buckeyes had the ball. However Texas was in a position to make use of the protection that has been its calling card all season lengthy, drive a turnover and make its free throws to seal the win.

— Natalie Weiner

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