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No. 1 South Carolina Dominates North Carolina State To Secure A Spot In The Women’s National Championship 78-59

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Courtesy Of South Carolina Athletic Communications

Cleveland, OH—South Carolina continued their flawless run, securing a spot in the NCAA women’s basketball championship game by overpowering North Carolina State 78-59. Led by All-America center Kamilla Cardoso’s 22 points, the Gamecocks displayed their dominance, especially in a third-quarter surge where they outscored the Wolfpack 29-6.

Coach Dawn Staley emphasized their team’s intensity, stating, “We turned up the heat.” South Carolina’s victory sets up a title clash against Iowa, a rematch from last year’s Final Four where the Hawkeyes halted the Gamecocks’ perfect season.

Ashlyn Watkins, with 20 boards, echoed the team’s determination, noting, “We wanted it more.” Despite Aziaha James’ 20 points for N.C. State, the Wolfpack couldn’t match the Gamecocks’ prowess.

Cardoso’s 11 rebounds, despite a late first-half injury, showcased her resilience. Guard Te-Hina Paopao praised Cardoso’s determination, labeling her a “beautiful Brazilian warrior.”

South Carolina’s dominance extended beyond Cardoso, with Watkins contributing significantly. Saniya Rivers, formerly with South Carolina and now with N.C. State, faced a tough defensive lineup from her former teammates.

N.C. State coach Wes Moore acknowledged the challenge, likening it to a David-vs.-Goliath matchup. Despite N.C. State’s underdog status, they aimed to channel the spirit of the school’s 1983 championship win.

Unlike last year, where South Carolina fell short in the Final Four, they maintained their perfect record this season. Staley credited Cardoso’s leadership and desire to win, emphasizing the team’s unified vision of claiming the national championship.

The Gamecocks’ third-quarter blitz, highlighted by Paopao and Johnson’s 3-pointers, sealed the win and silenced the N.C. State crowd. In a season dominated by standout performances, South Carolina’s collective strength and swagger have propelled them to the forefront of women’s college basketball.

“I could tell by our faces and voices,” said Gamecocks forward Ashlyn Watkins. “We wanted it more.”