Sweet 16: Gamecocks open with 16-0 run in win
SOUTH CAROLINA 100, QUINNIPIAC 58
Kaela Davis, A’ja Wilson and top-seeded South Carolina overpowered NCAA tournament surprise Quinnipiac from the opening tip, scoring the first 16 points and advancing to the Stockton (Calif.) Region final with a 100-58 victory Saturday.
Davis scored 28 points with five three-pointers, Wilson added 24 points, and South Carolina’s athleticism and smothering, swarming defense were just too much for 12th-seeded Quinnipiac on the round of 16 stage.
The Bobcats started out 0 for 10 and took more than seven minutes to score as they struggled to get shots off, let alone establish their typically prolific perimeter game.
“It doesn’t matter what name is on the [other team’s] jersey. We come out to play. Obviously they had a good run, but we’ve still got a mission to complete, and that’s to make it to the Final Four and national championship,” Allisha Gray said.
South Carolina (30-4) won its eighth in a row, putting Coach Dawn Staley’s team in the round of eight for the second time in three years.
The Bobcats (29-7) had won 12 straight games. That included beating fifth-seeded Marquette and No. 4 Miami for the first two NCAA tournament wins in school history.
The mid-major school became an upset darling as Connecticut’s other team, prompting U-Conn. Coach Geno Auriemma to wear a Quinnipiac T-shirt on Friday beneath his warmup jacket in support of friend and Coach Tricia Fabbri and her program.
Gray had 19 points and eight rebounds for South Carolina. She was fine after getting carried off the court late in a 71-68 comeback win against Arizona State last Sunday because of a hamstring cramp that initially was feared to be more serious.
Staley’s team opened the third quarter on an 11-2 run and capitalized on a technical against the Bobcats’ bench.
Adily Martucci and Jen Fay each scored 12 for Quinnipiac.
The Bobcats had three early turnovers and didn’t score until Fay’s two free throws with 2:51 left in the first quarter.
FLORIDA STATE 66, OREGON STATE 53: Leticia Romero scored 18 points, Shakayla Thomas added 12 points and 11 rebounds and Ivey Slaughter had nine steals for the third-seeded Seminoles (28-6) over the No. 2 Beavers (31-5). Florida State will play South Carolina in the region final on Monday.
Reserve Kolbie Orum scored 12 points for Oregon State.
Allisha Gray, center, and top-seeded South Carolina have won eight games in a row and are aiming for the program’s first national title.