South Carolina bounces Cardinal from women’s Final Four 65-53

March 31, 2017

NCAA, Stanford Cardinal

Stanford guard Brittany McPhee (12) and forward Alanna Smith (11) walk down the court during the final seconds of the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against South Carolina in the semifinals of the women’s Final Four, Friday, March 31, 2017, Friday, March 31, 2017, in Dallas. South Carolina won 62-53. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Friday, March 31, 2017

Stanford’s run toward the NCAA Division I women’s basketball title game ended Friday, as the Cardinal fell 62-53 to South Carolina in the national semifinals in Dallas.

Allisha Gray scored a game-high 18 points, and junior forward A’ja Wilson added 13 points and 19 rebounds to lead the Gamecocks (32-4) into Sunday’s championship game against Mississippi State, who upset Connecticut in the other semifinal and snapped the Huskies’ 110-game winning streak.

The Cardinal (32-6) were hampered when guard Karlie Samuelson, the Division I 3-point percentage leader, sprained her right ankle less than five minutes before halftime. Stanford had just finished a 13-1 run to take an eight-point lead.

While making a move to the basket, Samuelson stepped on the foot of Gamecocks guard Bianca Cuevas-Moore. Samuelson, who finished scoreless in 25 playing minutes, returned briefly in the second half, but could not continue.

South Carolina opened the second half with a 19-4 run – including a six-minute, 13-0 stretch capped by a Cuevas-Moore 3-pointer with 3:28 left in the period – to take the lead for good.

Stanford pulled to within 39-37 on a jumper by Alanna Smith, but the Gamecocks gradually pulled away at that point. South Carolina closed out the win by scoring nine of the game’s last 12 points, including four consecutive free throws by freshman guard Tyasha Harris.

Both teams shot 37 percent on field goals in the defensive struggle, which marked the 13th appearance in the Final Four and seventh in the last 10 seasons for Stanford – all under Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer.

For South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who played for VanDerveer in the 1996 Olympics, it was her first coaching win over VanDerveer in six tries.

Erica McCall had 14 points and 14 rebounds for Stanford, making 7-of-19 from the field.

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