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Elite 8 Recap: South Carolina locks down on Texas, advances to Final Four

The South Carolina Gamecocks started fast and pulled away late in a blowout win over the Texas Longhorns.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Elite Eight-Texas at South Carolina
Laeticia Amihere (left) had nine blocks for the Gamecocks on Tuesday night.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Five South Carolina Gamecocks scored in double figures on Tuesday night in San Antonio to lead the No. 1 seed in the Hemisfair Region to the Final Four.

Zia Cooke had 16 points, Victaria Saxton (12 points) had eight rebounds, Destanni Henderson (12 points) had seven assists and Laeticia Amihere (10 points, eight rebounds) had nine blocks as the Gamecocks defeated the No. 6 seed Texas Longhorns 62-34. They will now face the winner of Stanford/Louisville in the Final Four.

Aliyah Boston added 10 points and eight rebounds for the winners, who cruised through a scoreless fourth for their opponent after Texas got as close as 10 in the third. The Gamecocks blocked 14 shots and allowed just 14 made field goals.

South Carolina upped its lead from 11 to 15 in the second. It led by as many as 18 in the frame after a 9-0 run that featured five points from Cooke and four from Saxton, including a steal and fast break layup from Saxton to cap the run. Texas’ Audrey Warren (13 points) then hit a three to end the run as time was expiring before halftime.

South Carolina then made sure the third was plus-three in its favor with a reverse layup from Cooke followed by an Amihere block of a Warren three at the buzzer.

Saxton was able to score eight points in the first 1:58 of the contest and Henderson made it 10-2 South Carolina on a layup with 7:39 to go in the first. After that, the scoring slowed down and it became a defensive struggle for the remainder of the first, after which the Gamecocks led 18-7. Boston and Brea Beal (eight rebounds) had two blocks apiece in the opening frame.