South Carolina holds off Florida State to reach Final Four
(TSX / STATS) -- South Carolina fought off a furious fourth-quarter comeback by Florida State and held on for a 71-64 victory on Monday night in the Stockton (Calif.) Region final at Stockton Arena.
South Carolina joined its men's team on the biggest dance floor in college basketball as both are headed to their respective Final Fours
The Gamecocks (31-4), the No. 1 seed in the Stockton Region, advance to the women's Final Four to play Stanford in a national semifinal on Friday at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Guard Kaela Davis led the Gamecocks with 23 points, including a crucial late shot to keep South Carolina in front of charging Florida State.
Forward A'ja Wilson pitched in with 16 points and four blocks, and guard Tyasha Harris added 16 points for South Carolina.
Guard Leticia Romero led third-seeded Florida State with 16 points, center Chatrice White finished with 15, and guard Imani Wright had 11.
South Carolina grabbed a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter, but Florida State (28-7) kept fighting.
Seminoles guard Brittany Brown came up with two steals that led to layups by Romero and White.
Then Romero hit a 3-pointer that cut South Carolina's lead to six with 6:14 left.
Florida State got as close as three when Brown stole yet another pass and made a fast-break layup.
But Davis went into the lane and made a floater to put the Gamecocks ahead 67-62 with 1:42 left, which was the key shot in helping South Carolina prevail.
South Carolina began to take control early in the second quarter after scoring the first four points of the quarter to push ahead by nine points.
Wilson nailed two free throws to put South Carolina ahead 28-19 with 7:14 left until halftime.
But Florida State wouldn't let South Carolina get away.
The Seminoles responded with a 6-0 run sparked by Wright's 3-pointer. Brown followed with a jumper in the lane to cut South Carolina's lead to 28-25.
Wilson then picked up her second foul of the half when she was called for a charge on a baseline drive.
However, instead of flinching with Wilson on the bench in foul trouble, South Carolina finished the half on a 10-2 run to re-establish its lead.
Davis and guard Allisha Gray each scored four points during the surge that helped the Gamecocks take a 40-28 edge to halftime.
South Carolina scored 20 points in the paint and shot 60 percent from the field in the first two quarters.
Updated March 27, 2017