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Elite Eight recap: Boston drops 19, South Carolina cruises

The No. 1 overall seed South Carolina Gamecocks are cutting down the net in Greensboro and advancing to their second straight Final Four.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament - First Round-Howard at South Carolina
Aliyah Boston
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 1 seed South Carolina Gamecocks built a big lead in the second quarter and never looked back en route to defeating the No. 10 seed Creighton Bluejays 80-50 and advancing to their second straight Final Four Sunday night at Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.

Aliyah Boston’s SEC-record double-double streak of 27 games came to end, but the Naismith player of the year finalist led South Carolina with 19 points and added seven rebounds. After scoring just 10 points in each of the first two rounds, Boston notched 28 points and 22 rebounds in the Sweet Sixteen to become just the third player since 2000 with 25-plus points and 20-plus rebounds in the Big Dance.

Victaria Saxton added 11 points and 11 rebounds for South Carolina on Sunday.

The Gamecocks have now made it to four Final Fours — they won it all in 2017. Last year they were unable to advance to the national championship game, losing by one point to eventual champion Stanford.

It was a 29-8 run from 2:46 in the first to 1:56 in the second that allowed South Carolina to gain its largest lead of the first half at 24. Destanni Henderson began the run with a triple and made another trey to make it 28-18 Gamecocks right before a Creighton timeout. Out of the timeout Boston blocked an Emma Ronsiek layup attempt to make the Bluejays 2-of-8 on layups at that point per ESPN broadcaster Courtney Lyle. Laeticia Amihere scored inside on the ensuing possession to make it 30-18.

With 4:46 to go before halftime, Brea Beal finished a layup and got pumped up after realizing she was also fouled on the play. Not too long before that the Gamecocks had been frustrated with a jump ball call that came when they thought Amihere was fouled. Beal made the free throw and that 3-point play was the beginning of a 12-0 run to cap the overall 29-8 run. It featured a block and another layup from Beal.

Beal continued to be physical and play with a lot of heart. She aggressively battled her way to another 3-point play with 4:13 to go in the third, making the score 55-32 South Carolina. Saxton also put in the extra effort, as she had back-to-back offensive rebounds turned layups earlier in the third.

The Gamecocks went on to lead by as much as 35 in the fourth.

Creighton led 5-4 early, but Henderson shifted momentum by following an inside make with a poke away that led to a Saxton layup that made it 8-5 South Carolina. The Gamecocks went on to lead 13-5 before a Rachel Saunders three and a Molly Mogensen floater cut it to 13-10. Mogensen’s ankle came down on Boston’s foot on the play and she was taken out of the game but returned later.

12 of South Carolina’s first 15 points came in the paint per Lyle. The Gamecocks turned the ball over just seven times in the contest, won the rebounding battle 43-23 and attempted 22 more free throws, making 20 more.

Creighton’s Lauren Jensen, who made the memorable game-winning three against her former team — No. 2 seed Iowa — in the second round, led the Bluejays with 12 points. They advanced to their first Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight this year.

More to come from the Swish Appeal staff on South Carolina’s return to the stage they fell at last year.