NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament – Elite Eight
(1) South Carolina (25-4) vs. (6) Texas (21-9)
- Time: 4 PST – 6 CST – 7 EST
- Place: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
- TV: ESPN
Two head coaches renew old acquaintances in South Carolina’s Dawn Staley and Vic Schafer of Texas who have a history of playing each other when Schafer was the coach at Mississippi State. Staley dominated those matchups as the Gamecocks were 12-3 and won five championships – 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020 SEC Tournaments and the 2017 National Championship.
The Gamecocks are on another roll under Staley, a sure better for the Basketball Hall of Fame, as she collected her 500th career win against Mercer in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Meanwhile, Schafer has his Longhorns on a roll of their own as they defeated 3-seed UCLA and 2-seed Maryland on the way to the Elite Eight appearance. Both the Terrapins and the Bruins were in the Top 10 in the national rankings coming into the tournament.
Last Time Out:
Charli Collier led four Longhorns in double figures as Texas upset Maryland, 64-61. Maryland led Texas up until Collier made a pair of free throws to give Texas a 42-41 lead midway through the third quarter. From there, the two teams traded baskets and leads until Kyra Lambert’s layup gave Texas a 61-59 lead with 45 seconds remaining.
Zia Cook scored 17 points as she nailed five triples to lead South Carolina to a 76-65 win over Georgia Tech to advance the Gamecocks to the Elite Eight matchup tie Texas. Although Aliyah Boston was scoreless in the first half and in foul trouble, she keyed a 14-6 run out of halftime which allowed South Carolina to build a double digit lead.
Key Numbers – The Spread is South Carolina (-8.5):
- First half – South Carolina (-4)
- Winning margin – South Carolina (-8.5) – +550
- Texas to win by 1-2 points – +1400; 3-6 points +1000
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Texas||+8½ (-110)||+315||O 129½ (-110)|
|South Carolina||-8½ (-110)||-385||U 129½ (-110)|
Charli Collier is a second-team AP All-America and has been the focal point of opponents’ game plans all season as she came into the NCAA Tournament, averaging 20.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. She is also a Lisa Leslie Award finalist which honors the nation’s top center. In shooting 51.9 percent and 80.1 percent from the line, Collier is the type of player who can carry a team to a national title. Here match up with South Carolina all-American Aliyah Boston will be legendary as we are looking to two potential first round draft choices in the WNBA Draft.
Key Longhorns stat:
Collier leads four Longhorns in double figures as this team has multiple people who can step up beside of Collier. Celeste Taylor and Joanne Allen-Taylor are complementary pieces as Taylor is second in scoring at 12.5 points per game while Allen-Taylor is the top three-point shooter in making 42 and has a 4.2-to-1 assist-to-turnover margin in March. Audrey Warren is Texas’ second leading rebounder (5.0 rpg) while Kyra Lambert has dished a team-high 88 assists against only 35 turnovers.
Karisma Ortiz gives Shaefer a solid performer off the bench. She has started 15 games and averaged 19 minutes per outing as she made 36 field goals as 19 were triples.
Advantage, South Carolina:
All-American Aliyah Boston and leading scorer Zia Cook are a tough one-two punch that causes teams to have to chose how to cover them. Cook (15.6 ppg) leads South Carolina’s three-ball attack at 37.8 percent as she has a team-leading 42 threes. Boston (13.9 ppg, 11.5 rpg) will look for quick start to get into the flow of the game after early foul trouble on Sunday. She makes 50.8 percent of her shots and has 75 blocks on the season. Boston was the first Gamecock to record a triple double against an SEC opponent and a ranked opponent when she had 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks against Georgia at the end of February.
Key Gamecocks Stat:
Destanni Henderson (12.0 ppg, 4.8 apg) facilitates everything on the offensive end for the Gamecocks as she leads the SEC in 5.6 apg. She makes 40.4 percent of her threes and leads South Carolina with 35 steals. Henderson played 551 minutes, the third most in school history as her 89 assists in SEC games were fourth in South Carolina history.
Forward Laeticia Amihere is averaging 11.3 points and shooting 56 percent over her three games in the NCAA Tournament. She came into the postseason averaging 6.5 points per game.
Winner: South Carolina (-8½) 71, Texas 61