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South Carolina dominates at girls’s Closing 4: 3 takeaways win over NC State


CLEVELAND — Prime general seed South Carolina defeated No. 3 NC State 78-59 within the first semifinal sport of the Girls’s Closing 4 on Friday night time at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

After an excellent first half, the Gamecocks got here out sizzling to begin the third quarter — occurring a 16-5 scoring run, forcing NC State head coach Wes Moore to name a timeout with 6:29 within the third quarter. NC State was finally outscored 29-6 within the third quarter with the Wolfpack going scoreless for six minutes of it.

NC State had crushed No. 1 seed Texas and No. 2 Stanford with a view to make the journey to the Closing 4. They spoke on Thursday about how they had been “celebration crashers” in Cleveland and mentioned how having an underdog mentality has motivated them all through the Wolfpack’s deep NCAA event run.

South Carolina entered the NCAA event undefeated and gained an SEC event title. The Gamecocks head coach Daybreak Staley picked up a number of coach of the yr honors and now they’re one step nearer to successful a nationwide championship.

Listed below are 3 large takeaways from Friday’s first semifinal:

Cardoso is a menace

Cardoso had a monster first half scoring 16 factors whereas selecting up seven rebounds. With 1:39 left within the first half she appeared to have landed awkwardly on her ankle whereas going up for a block. She left the sport to move to the locker room however returned within the second half to play minutes within the second half.

Within the locker room postgame, sophomore Raven Johnson was requested about Cardoso’s harm and mentioned she was by no means involved in regards to the begin leaving the courtroom.

“‘Killa-milla’, it’s her mentality,” Johnson mentioned “She is harm and she or he performs via it, she desires to win and she or he takes no matter it takes to win.”

Johnson additionally left the sport to move to the locker room within the fourth quarter, however after the sport mentioned she was positive and simply hyper-extended her knee.

“You play to your strengths. Kamilla is a power of ours. She’s 6’7”. She’s agile. She will be able to command the paint,” Staley mentioned. “She performs with a want to win. I feel she asks for the ball a few occasions as nicely, that means get her the ball.”

Fortunately her group’s scoring run left them not needing to depend on her publish presence as a lot. Cardoso completed with 22 factors and 11 rebounds whereas enjoying a complete off 22 minutes.

“I knew she was going to be okay,” mentioned sophomore Ashlyn Watkins. “Kamilla is a warrior. She’s not going to let an harm like that have an effect on her. She’s going to push and be prepared for Sunday.”

NC State cooled down

The guard play of Aziaha James and Saniya Rivers had led the Wolfpack thus far within the event. They weren’t as sizzling taking pictures right this moment as they’d been. James had a stable sport main the group in scoring with 20 factors, whereas Rivers was held to simply 5 factors. Senior middle River Baldwin posted 12 level and 9 rebounds whereas coping with the contact process of not solely guarding put having to go up towards Cardoso on offense.

Crew play

South Carolina’s group has dominated in lots of video games on account of their simple depth. The Gamecocks had eight totally different gamers contribute to scoring in Friday’s win. That is the explanation why South Carolina has been the heavy favourite in video games this season. The defensive play was stable they usually have a number of gamers who can shoot the ball.

Johnson mentioned that at halftime Staley instructed the group to play easy basketball. Johnson mentioned the group’s motivated after final yr’s loss on the Closing 4 is at all times of their minds, stating that the group has unfinished enterprise right here.

“It was a distinct mentality once we got here on the market (within the second half),” Johnson mentioned. “It was a hungry mentality. We used our depth (to win).”

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