Sunday, July 21, 2024

Aliyah Boston boosts No. 1 South Carolina into Final Four

Aliyah Boston’s 22 points and 10 rebounds lifted top-seeded South Carolina past second-seeded Maryland for an 86-75 victory in the Greenville 1 Region final on Monday in Greenville, S.C.

The defending champion Gamecocks will head to their third consecutive Final Four. They also reached this point of the season in 2015 and 2017, winning the title in 2017 — all under coach Dawn Staley.

South Carolina (36-0) will take on Iowa (30-6) in a national semifinal on Friday in Dallas.

The Gamecocks battered Maryland in the lane, racking up a 48-26 rebounding margin that was the foundation for more home-state success.

Zia Cooke’s 18 points and Brea Beal’s 16 points helped the South Carolina offense.

Diamond Miller poured in 24 points for Maryland (28-7), which owned six wins against Top 10 teams this season. The Terrapins were bidding for their sixth Final Four berth, their first since 2015.

Abby Meyers had 14 points and Shyanne Sellers finished with 11 points for the Terrapins, whose 50 percent shooting from the field, including 7-for-14 success from 3-point range, was offset by South Carolina’s rebounding.

The Gamecocks, who have won 42 consecutive games overall, rolled in their first three games in the tournament by 16 or more points. This one was a test for longer, but eventually South Carolina had too much power. Boston shot 10-for-14 from the field.

Maryland scored six straight points to cut a 48-36 deficit in half in the third quarter. Raven Johnson drained a 3-pointer that sparked another surge for the Gamecocks and had the crowd in a tizzy. Two minutes later, South Carolina was up 60-45.

Earlier, the Terrapins had a run of their own, going on a 12-0 spurt for a 19-13 lead. Going to the second quarter ahead 21-15, Maryland hit a rut and scored only two points in the next five minutes.

Buoyed by a 9-0 run, South Carolina led 38-30 at halftime. The Gamecocks held a 25-13 edge in first-half rebounding, grabbing 14 offensive boards.

South Carolina has won five of seven all-time meetings between the teams, including an 81-56 victory at Maryland on Nov. 11.

–Field Level Media

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