NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament – Elite Eight
No. 2 Stanford (29-2, 19-2) vs. No. 6 South Carolina (26-4, 14-2)
- Time: 3 PST – 5 CST – 6 EST
- Place: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
- TV: ESPN
Two blue blood programs hook up in Game 1 of the Final Four as Stanford earned it’s 33rd straight NCAA Tournament berth this season in dominating the Pac-12 as they won the regular season and then won their 14th Pac-12 Tournament championship in 20 appearances in the final game.
This game has plenty of star power as Kiana Williams was named a third-team all-American after leading the Cardinal in minutes played, points, three-pointers, and assists.
Tara Vanderveer is as accomplished as any coach in the history of the game as she is a four-time national coach of the year and a 16-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year. VanDerveer also passed Tennessee head coach Pat Summit as the winningest coach in history.
For South Carolina, the Gamecocks earned a No. 1 seed for the fifth time in the last seven seasons after they played what was the toughest schedule in the country.
First team all-American Aliyah Boston is was a consensus first-teamer as she was the National Player of the Year, according to The Athletic.
Dawn Staley has taken as team to the NCAA Tournament 15 times where she has a 28-13 record and 26-7 at South Carolina. The Gamecocks are playing in their third Final Four in program history with all of those coming in the last six tournaments.
Stanford holds a 5-1 record head-to-head vs. South Carolina and the lone Gamecocks win came in the Final Four during the national championship season.
Last Time Out:
South Carolina’s Zia Cooke scored 16 points and the Gamecocks’ defense locked down Texas in a 62-34 thumping. Of the Longhorns in the Elite Eight. Laeticia Amihere had nine of the Gamecocks’ 14 blocked shots and they held Texas to 23 percent from the floor.
Stanford rallied past Louisville, 78-63, behind 21 points from Lexie Hull and 16 second half points from Ashton Prechtel. The Cardinal trailed by 12 points midway through the third quarter as they went on a 13-0 run and went ahead 50-48 after three.
Key Numbers – The Spread is Stanford (-6) points:
- First half – Stanford (-3)
- Winning margin – South Carolina (+6) – +220
- Total points O/U – first half – Stanford, 33 -115
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Stanford||-5½ (-110)||-250||O 134 (-110)|
|South Carolina||+5½ (-110)||+210||U 134 (-110)|
Advantage, South Carolina:
Aliyah Boston has been dominant in the paint all season for the Gamecocks as she has averaged a double-double in SEC play as well as against all nine of the ranked opponents that South Carolina has faced. She has averaged 14.5 points and 9.5 points per game as at 6-5, she has been a key figure in how South Carolina has been able to hold their four opponents in the tournament to an average of 48 points per game. Boston has teamed with Victoria Saxton (12.8 ppg) and Laeticia Amihere (11.0 ppg) to score 54 percent of their points in the post season. Zia Cooke (15.6 ppg), the Gamecocks’ leading scorer was voted the MOP of the regionals last week as she averaged 16.5 points and 5.0 rebounds while making 13-of-28 field goals.
Key Gamecocks stat:
The dominance of the Gamecocks on the glass will be a problem for the Cardinal as they are fourth in the nation with 47.8 rebounds per game with a (+14.8) rebound margin. Stanford is at a (+10.4) margin.
Both of these teams lock down the three-point line with eye-popping numbers. South Carolina’s opponents only make. 26.9 percent of their shots while Stanford’s lockdown is at 27.7 percent. Cooke (37.7%-3) and Destanni Henderson (41.3%-3) lead South Carolina on the perimeter with 43 and 38 makes, respectively.
The Cardinal have four starters averaging in double figures, paced by Kiana Williams’ 14.5 points per game as she made 81 of 216 three-point shots. Williams has two slid complementary parts in Haley Jones and Cameron Brink, who is the lone post in Vanderveer’s 4-out/1-in style of play. Brink shot 57.8 percent and will be an interesting matchup for Boston inside. Jones (12.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg) is Stanford’s leading rebounder while shooting 53.4 percent.
Key Cardinal Stat:
Stanford has been so dominant because of how consistently excellent that the Cardinal have performed on both ends of the floor. The list of the Top 20 prowess shows:
- 3-pointers – 12.1 – 12th/NCAA
- FG percentage – 46.8 percent – 13th
- Rebound margin – (+10.4) – 13th
- Scoring offense – 78.9 ppg – 13th
- Rebounds per game – 43.1 – 15th
- Assists per game – 16.7 – 17th
- Steals – 264 – 18th
Lexis Hull (42) and Hannah Jump (57) follow Williams in made threes as Jump shoots 43.2 percent from behind the arc. This will be an interesting matchup vs. the excellence of the Gamecocks’ three-point defense as Stanford nets 38.3 percent of their attempts.
Winner: Stanford 67, South Carolina (+5½) 64