No. 1 South Carolina defeated No. 1 Louisville, 72-59, to advance to the 2022 NCAA Women’s National Championship game.

Naismith Player of the Year Aliyah Boston led the way for the Gamecocks, finishing with 23 points and 18 rebounds in the Final Four victory.

South Carolina combined strong team defense with timely scoring to win the NCAA Semifinals, advancing to the title game for the first time since winning the NCAA Championship in 2017.

The Gamecocks will face the winner of No. 1 Stanford against No. 2 Connecticut in the championship game.

South Carolina scored the first seven points of the game and took a 17-10 lead in the second quarter. In the second quarter, the Cardinals outscored South Carolina 18-17, cutting Gamecock’s lead to six, 34-28, at halftime.

In the second half, South Carolina finished the third quarter with its best stanza of the game. The Gamecocks increased their lead to 15 points in the third, but Louisville managed to take the lead late. With South Carolina just six points down with seconds left in the quarter, Boston grabbed one of its 18 rebounds for the game, racking it up for two points while being fouled. She completed the game at three points, giving South Carolina a 57-48 advantage going into the final stanza.

In the fourth, Boston scored seven of South Carolina’s 15 points in the quarter, helping clinch the Gamecocks’ ticket to the NCAA Finals.

On Friday night, South Carolina and Louisville scored the same number of field goals (27), but the Gamecocks closed the gap between the three-point line and the charity strip. South Carolina went 6-for-17 from three-pointers to Louisville’s 1-for-8; the Cardinals attempted just seven free throws (4 of 7), while the Gamecocks went 12 of 17 from the free throw line.

South Carolina limited Louisville’s leading scorer, Hailey Van Lith, to just nine points on 4-for-11 shooting. Entering the Final Four, Van Lith averaged 21 points per game over the rest of the NCAA Tournament. .

Pacing Boston’s 23 points, South Carolina’s four remaining starters also finished in double digits. Brea Beal finished with 12 points, Destanni Henderson had 11, while Victaria Saxton and Zia Cooke each had 10 points.

South Carolina is now awaiting the winner of the Stanford-Connecticut showdown. The 2022 NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship game is scheduled for Sunday at 8:00 p.m.

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