MINNEAPOLIS – The South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Louisville Cardinals 72-59 in a match against the No. 1 seeds on Friday in the Women’s Finals.
Aliyah Boston had 23 points and 18 rebounds for her 29th double this season. Consensus National Player of the Year led the Gamecocks to the national championship game a year after losing a heartbreaking point in the semifinals.
South Carolina advances to its second NCAA title game. In the only other appearance, the Gamecocks won the 2017 NCAA title.
South Carolina, the 1st place string team this season, had its fourth win over an AP Top 5 opponent this season. The Gamecocks improved to 34-2, matching their single-season record for wins in a season.
Louisville ended the season with a score of 29-5. Senior forward Emily Engstler led the Cardinals with 18 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Engstler finished the tournament with 23 steals, matching Ticha Penicheiro’s singles tournament record set in 1998.
The four-woman final continues on Friday as top seed Stanford, the 2021 national champion, faces UConn in the nighttime finals.
ESPN’s Katie Barnes, Charlie Creme and Alexa Philippou break down South Carolina’s win.
Destanni Henderson emerges as she knocks down another 3-pointer for South Carolina.
South Carolina responds every time Louisville runs. What were the big tweaks the Gamecocks made to beat the Cardinals?
Creme: Boston. Whenever South Carolina needs something big, it’s always Boston. The Gamecocks were in complete control with a 15-point lead in the third inning, then lost the ball. The guards committed four turns and there were a few misses. Louisville made it to the sixth round and suddenly it was a game again. Then Boston did her thing. In the 30-second period that stretched into the fourth inning, Boston scored five points and got four counterattacks. She took over paint, backboard and balloons back to 11. Louisville never threatened again.
Hailey Van Lith scored 20 points in all four games at Louisville’s NCAA tournament to advance to the Final Four, but never made it on Friday, with just two points in the first half. How did South Carolina break her?
Barnes: Brea Beal gets an early start with Hailey Van Lith, breaking everything a Louisville sophomore tries to do. Beal, a 6-foot-tall guard, thwarted two early attempts by Van Lith, turning them into scoring opportunities for South Carolina. Beal is an excellent defender, but her size and length also forces the smaller Van Lith to adjust more to get around her. And as a smaller guard – Van Lith is listed at 5 foot-7 – the size of South Carolina in the lane and Beal in the outer ring simply prevents all levels of game play. her play. Van Lith can’t really get into the paint; she can’t wear a pull-up anymore; and she managed to hit three 3-pointers the whole game (all late in the fourth round). Van Lith competed hard until she was withdrawn from the game, but South Carolina failed her early and she never recovered.
What is the indicator that makes the difference?
Philippou: None of these teams enjoyed hitting 3-pointers like Creighton, but Louisville hit just one – and managed only eight shots from behind the arc in the entire game, including three. at the last minute! – while South Carolina made the year midway through the third quarter as a difference-maker.
Going into the game, Louisville averaged six three-goal passes after 17 deep shots per game; The fact that they tried for just five 3s at the last minute is testament to how frustrating the South Carolina defense was for them. Gamecocks 35% clip from 3 isn’t super impressive, but defenders Destanni Henderson and Zia Cooke started 5 to 10 from the arc, which opened the game up. If the Gamecocks can hit exactly 3 on Sunday like they did on Friday, they’ll be well positioned to cut the net.
In addition, it should be noted that Beal (12 points, shot 5 to 7) not only defended but also attacked effectively, taking advantage of the rebounds from Louisville’s defense, which was too preoccupied with Boston. Beal has now finished with doubles back matches for the first time this season.
What’s one thing South Carolina must do better in Sunday’s championship game?
Barnes: South Carolina did pretty well on Friday night. One area where the Gamecocks could improve is basketball care. South Carolina averages 14.4 in revenue per game, and the Gamecocks are above average for Louisville with 15 in revenue. The Cardinals converted those extra assets into 13 points on the other end of the line. In addition to the flips, there were instances of tension when the keeper was just looking carelessly at the ball – throwing passes in the air or trying to thread too many needles. Not all of those decisions lead to results, but on Sunday that may not be the case.
https://www.espn.com/womens-college-basketball/story/_/id/33647127/women-final-four-2022-how-national-championship-matchup-was-set 2022 Women’s Four Finals – How the National Championship Match is Set