STOCKTON, Calif. – South Carolina (30-4) is now in the Elite Eight, after a 100-58 trouncing of Quinnipiac (29-7) in the Stockton Region of the NCAA Tournament Saturday afternoon. This marks the second appearance of South Carolina in the Elite Eight in three years.
The Gamecocks came out like gangbusters with a 16-0 run nearly shutting out the Bobcats in the initial quarter of play. Quinnipiac finally ended its drought with less than three minutes left in the period with a pair of free throws from redshirt sophomore forward Jen Fay.
The game was never in doubt, from the Gamecocks’ perspective. Head coach Dawn Staley was, for the most part, impressed and satisfied of her team’s early efforts.
“I was incredibly proud of our team to be able to lock in to the game plan, and execute it,” said Staley. “I thought we did have a few lulls in the second quarter where we got careless with the basketball, and we also let some shooters loose. They had a really good second quarter.”
South Carolina, the top seed in the Stockton Region, only outscored the Bobcats 23-20 in the second quarter. It was the end of a Cinderella season for No. 12 seed Quinnipiac which became the first women’s team in the school’s history to win an NCAA Tournament game. Getting to the Sweet 16 was the last page of the storybook run. The Bobcats were only one of two double digits seeds to reach the Sweet 16. No. 10 Oregon made it to the Elite Eight by defeating No. 3 seed Maryland in the Bridgeport Region earlier in the day on the East Coast.
The Gamecocks have little time to rest on their laurels as they face No. 3 Florida State on Monday. Staley, addressed the upcoming matchup while referring to Quinnipiac’s ability to score 20 points in the second quarter.
“We have to continue to not have those lapses and put 40-minute games together at this stage of the game, because we’ll play another great team on Monday night, and if you allow teams to play to their strengths, they can really make you pay for it.”
Junior guard, Kaela Davis led South Carolina with a 28-point performance, including five three-pointers. She responded to a question that called her output “a nice offensive game.”
“Yeah, I guess so. It doesn’t matter, get my feet set, just making sure, kind of staying in rhythm,” said Davis. “Like Coach said, it feels like we’ve been on for a long time with the gap between games. I think it’s just like I said, just finding rhythm and staying in a rhythm.”
If the Gamecocks overcome FSU Monday night, they will advance to the Final Four in Dallas next week.