South Carolina routs USF for Sweet 16 berth
Zia Cooke scored 21 points and Aliyah Boston had her 81st career double double as top-seeded South Carolina shook off a slow start to power past eighth-seeded South Florida and into the Sweet 16 with a 76-45 victory Sunday.
The Gamecocks improved to 34-0 with their 40th straight win overall and moved four victories away from a second straight national title. They’ll head to Greenville, where they won the Southeastern Conference Tournament two weeks ago, to play for a spot in the Final Four.
Boston, the program career record holder for double doubles, finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, coming out of her final game at home to a huge ovation.
South Florida (27-7) entered looking for a program-record 28th win this season and its first berth in the Sweet 16, but after a feisty start, couldn’t hang with the Gamecocks.
Diamond Miller scored 13 of her 24 points in the third quarter to help Maryland to a victory over Arizona.
The Terrapins (27-6) advance to the Sweet 16 for a third straight year and the 11th time under coach Brenda Frese. Maryland trailed by a point after two quarters but ran past the Wildcats (22-10) in the second half.
Shyanne Sellers scored 15 points and Faith Masonius gave the Terps a lift with 12.
Frese was coaching against her alma mater. She played at Arizona and graduated in 1993.
Cate Reese led Arizona with 19 points.
Lauren Ebo had 10 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks to help Notre Dame beat Mississippi State.
Maddy Westbeld added nine points and 15 rebounds for the Irish, who blew an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter before making the plays down the stretch for the win.
Mississippi State scored eight straight points to open the fourth quarter and tie the game at 41. Ebo scored the first Irish basket of the final period on an offensive putback with 4:38 remaining.
The Irish regained the lead for good on a pair of KK Bransford free throws with 3:49 left in the game, which gave Notre Dame a 45-43 advantage.
The Irish held onto the lead the rest of the way to close it out. and No. 4 seed Tennessee.
Virginia Tech also set a school record with its 29th win, breaking the mark of 28 set by the 1998-99 squad — the only other team in school history to advance to the Sweet 16.
Myah Selland led South Dakota State (296) with 17 points and nine rebounds.