South Carolina women surge past N.C. State 78-59

South Carolina guard Tessa Johnson (5) drives past North Carolina State guard Zoe Brooks (35) during the second half of a Final Four college basketball game in the women's NCAA Tournament, Friday, April 5, 2024, in Cleveland. South Carolina won 78-59. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

By The Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) — All-America center Kamilla Cardoso scored 22 points and unbeaten South Carolina emphatically kept its perfect season going, advancing to the championship game of the women’s NCAA Tournament with a 78-59 victory over North Carolina State on Friday night.

The talented and tenacious Gamecocks (37-0) led by one at halftime before putting their full arsenal on display in the third quarter. They outscored the Wolfpack 29-6 to turn what had been a tense matchup into another blowout.

South Carolina will meet the winner of the second Final Four game between Iowa and UConn — a matchup featuring stars Caitlin Clark and Paige Bueckers that has created a buzz across America — for the national title on Sunday.

Aziaha James scored 20 points for No. 3 seed N.C. State (31-7), which knocked off a No. 1 and a No. 2 seed to get to Cleveland.


CLEVELAND (AP) — Caitlin Clark led Iowa back to the national championship game, scoring 21 points as the Hawkeyes rallied past Paige Bueckers and UConn in the women’s Final Four.

Next up for the Hawkeyes (34-4) is a rematch with unbeaten South Carolina, which lost to Iowa in last year’s national semifinals. The Hawkeyes then fell short of winning the school’s first championship, falling to LSU in the title game. Now Clark is one win away from bringing her home state its first women’s basketball title in the final game of her college career.

After a rough opening 30 minutes because of a swarming UConn defense, the NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer finally got going in the fourth quarter.

With the game tied at 51-all, Clark scored seven points in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the period to give Iowa a small cushion. UConn (33-6) got within 60-57 before the Hawkeyes scored six straight to take a 66-57 advantage.

AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-womens-bracket/ and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness