SAN ANTONIO – One by one, South Carolina players walked through the confetti and climbed the ladder to cut down the net in the Alamodome.
It was only fitting that the Gamecocks got to keep the nylon. They used it way more than Texas did.
Zia Cooke scored 16 points and South Carolina used its stifling defense to advance to the Final Four for the third time, shutting down Texas for a 62-34 victory Tuesday night.
Top-seeded South Carolina blocked 14 shots, nine by Laeticia Amihere, and held No. 6 Texas to 23% shooting. The Longhorns were outscored 10-0 in the fourth quarter.
The Gamecocks have been on a mission ever since they felt they were denied a real chance at the national title last season when the NCAA Tournament was cancelled because of the pandemic. It showed all night long, but especially during the first scoreless quarter in the tourney since the women’s game went to quarters in 2016.
“It says they're locked in,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. “They have been focused, they wanted the opportunity to get to the Final Four. They know nothing about what they just accomplished. I like who we’re bringing into this Final Four.”
South Carolina (26-4) won the Hemisfair Region to advance to Friday’s national semifinal against Stanford, the tournament's overall No. 1 seed. UConn and Arizona meet in the other national semifinal.
Destanni Henderson and Victaria Saxton each scored 12 for the Gamecocks, and Amihere also had 10 points and eight rebounds in a terrific all-around performance.