South Carolina falls short in semifinal battle vs. Iowa
4 hours ago
The 42-game winning streak of defending national champion South Carolina came crashing to an end Friday night in a NCAA Final Four semifinal loss to Iowa, 77-73.
The loss ended the Gamecocks’ season after they had won their final six games last season and their first 36 this season.
Zia Cooke led the Gamecocks with 24 points, but they had no answer for Iowa star Caitlin Clark, who poured in a game-high 41 points and also added eight rebounds and eight assists.
Iowa jumped out to a 22-13 lead after the first quarter and led at the half, 38-37.
The second half was a tremendous back-and-forth battle, but Clark continually hit big baskets to keep the Hawkeyes well within reach whenever South Carolina was able to inch narrowly ahead.
Kamilla Cardoso added 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Gamecocks, and Raven Johnson added 13 points.
But Iowa’s swarming defense double- and triple-teamed two-time SEC Player of the Year Aliyah Boston all night. She was held to 2-of-9 shooting from the field and scored just eight points. She also added 10 rebounds.
South Carolina, a 1-seed in the tournament and the nation’s No. 1-ranked team entering the night, ends the season with a record of 36-1 after going a perfect 16-0 in the SEC regular season and then adding the SEC Tournament championship.
Iowa improves to 31-6.
Iowa moves on to face another SEC team in LSU, which earned a spot in Sunday’s 3 p.m. national championship game by virtue of a 79-72 Final Four semifinal victory over Virginia Tech earlier Friday night.
Check back later for the full recap.