South Carolina advances to the National Championship after beating Louisville 72-59

South Carolina Gamecocks #4 Aliyah Boston (F) setting up their offense against the Louisville Cardinals in the Final Four Semifinals. Photo by Shylanda Pam/T.G.Sportstv1.

4/1/22 MINNEAPOLIS, MN - The South Carolina Gamecocks beat the Louisville Cardinals 72-59 in the Final Four to advance to the National Championship Game on Sunday Night.

National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston led South Carolina in scoring after recording her 29th double-double with 23 points and 18 rebounds, followed by Brea Beal with 12-points, Destanni Henderson with 11-points, Victaria Saxton and Zia Cooke both with 10-points.

“You see happy tears, happy tears, right now,” Aliyah Boston said. “I’m just thanking God we have one more game.”

Emily Engstler led Louisville with 18-points and nine rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. The other top scorers for the Cardinals were Olivia Cochran and Kianna Smith, both players with 14-points.

Louisville Cardinals #14 Kianna Williams driving toward the basket at the top of the key in the Final Four Semifinals. Photo by Shylanda Pam/T.G.Sportstv1.

South Carolina got on the scoreboard first, led 2-0 after Victaria Saxton would make a layup. The Gamecocks would jump out to an early 11-2 lead with 5:29 remaining in the first quarter with four out of 5 starters already on the board.

Louisville would cut the lead to five points, 15-10, with a layup from Engstler. The Gamecocks Lele Grissett would make a layup to extend the lead to 17-10 to end the quarter.

The Cardinals started the second quarter on a 12-2 run as Engstler's layup gave them their first lead of the game, 20-19. South Carolina's Destanni Henderson's three-pointer would help the Gamecocks regain the lead 24-22.

“Life in general, it’s going to throw tests at you. You’re going to have to pass the tests or you’re going to have to retake them,” said coach Dawn Staley."

Louisville would respond with a made field goal by Kianna Smith tying the score 24-24 with 4:17 remaining in the first half.

Brea Beal gave South Carolina a 26-24 lead with back-to-back layups. The Gamecocks went on a 10-4 run capped off by a layup by Beal to beat the buzzer, extending their lead to 34-28.

Engstler led the Cardinals in the first half with 10-points. Beal and Boston both led the Gamecocks in scoring with 8-points.

South Carolina started the third quarter making 3 for three from behind the three-point line, with two of them coming from Destanni Henderson, leading 42-30.

Engstler would respond for the Cardinals on the other end with a layup to cut into the lead. Louisville trails 53-40 with 3:45 remaining in the third quarter.

The Cardinals continued to battle back with a jumper by Kianna Smith and Mykasa Robinson, cutting the lead to 54-48. The Gamecocks ended the third quarter with a three-point play by Boston as South Carolina led 57-48.

Louisville cut into the lead after two made free throws by Olivia Cochran as the Cardinals trail 59-50 with 7:23 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Cardinals trailed by double figures the remainder of the game, falling short to the Gamecocks, 72-59.

South Carolina will await the winner of the second semifinals matchup, #2 UConn vs. #1 Stanford. The National Championship Game will be played Sunday, April 3, 2022, at the Target Center. #ncaa #ncaafinalfour #kiannawilliams #southcarolinagamecocks #louisvillecardinals #ncaawbb #aliyahboston #southcarolina #louisville #ncaawbb