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UCLA women overwhelmed by South Carolina’s No. 1 – Orange County Register

GREENVILLE, SC — Kamilla Cardoso had 10 points as defending national champion South Carolina put on her final crushing defensive and rebounding performance to beat UCLA 59-43 on Saturday in the NCAA Women’s Tournament Sweet 16.

Aaliyah Boston had eight points, 14 rebounds and two blocks for the Gamecocks (35-0), the tournament seed and headliner in Greenville Area 1. It was Carolina’s 41st straight win du Sud, securing the program’s sixth trip to the Elite Eight under Dawn Staley.

The Gamecocks will play their fifth trip to the Final Four in Monday’s regional final against second-seeded Maryland.

It was no easy offensive operation for South Carolina, with UCLA sagging defensively to pack the paint in hopes of nullifying the Gamecocks’ size advantage behind Boston. But South Carolina dominated the glass from start to finish and used its length to turn every look into a tough one for the fourth-seeded Bruins (27-10).

The Gamecocks entered the game ranked first in Division I in point defense, field goal percentage and rebound margin. They did nothing to change that, holding UCLA at 15 for 51 shooting (29.4%) — including 3 for 18 from 3-point range — while finishing with a 42-34 rebounding advantage that went away. narrowed late after leading big.

Charisma Osborne scored 14 points to lead UCLA, which was in the Sweet 16 for the eighth time and the first since 2019. The Bruins were trying to reach the regional finals for the first time since 2018 and only the third time in history of the program while continuing their first Final Four appearance.

Once the game started, the Bruins desperately tried to close the paint and challenge the Gamecocks to shoot from the outside.

But in a sign of what was to come, the Bruins continued to miss shots they needed to position themselves for a stunning upset. Worse, they failed to grab even a few of those misses to keep possessions alive early on, with South Carolina continuing to finish with a 15-8 advantage on the offensive glass.

Meanwhile, the Gamecocks were able to continue to grind and rely on their length. They led 25-15 at halftime before finally breaking that opening by tying their points total during the game in the third quarter.

It included some footage that was all too familiar to UCLA coach Cori Close. Twice the Gamecocks managed to throw an inside pass to 6ft 7in Cardoso, who used his long arms to reach 6-2 front defender Christen Iwuala and grab the ball for easy finishes under the rim in traffic.

Or there was Brea Beal (10 points) using his right hand to hit a loose rebound on Gabriela Jaquez before securing it, then immediately throwing it inside to Victaria Saxton inside for a soft hook as the advance steadily increased.

Still, it’s often demoralizing streaks that have overwhelmed teams all season, this time with the State of Origin Gamecocks as the main draw here in the new regional doubles format.

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