March Madness: Boston, South Carolina women reach Final Four

  • South Carolina's Raven Johnson (25) dribbles past Maryland's Bri McDaniel (24) in the first half of an Elite 8 college basketball game of the NCAA Tournament in Greenville, S.C., Monday, March 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Dawn Staley knows what’s next for unbeaten South Carolina — a matchup the whole women’s college basketball world is eager to see.

But for now, the coach wants to revel in her extraordinary Gamecocks and their amazing achievements.


Aliyah Boston had 22 points and 10 rebounds and top-seeded South Carolina used its smothering defense to stop Maryland 86-75 Monday night and reach its third straight Final Four.

Do-it-all star Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes await in the national semifinals in Dallas on Friday, a game featuring two of the biggest stars in the sport. That can wait a bit. Her players deserve that, Staley said.

“I just want to enjoy this and just give our players an opportunity to be talked about,” Staley said. “The joy that I feel for this team to be able to be where they are, I’m just really happy.”

Staley’s team improved to 36-0 this season with its 42nd straight victory dating to last year’s NCAA title run. The Gamecocks are now two games away from repeating as champions and completing the 10th undefeated season in the women’s game.

The Gamecocks hugged and jumped when it was over. It’s the fifth Final Four since 2015, all under Staley. She’ll try for her third national title next week.

“Not a lot of teams can say they’re able to do this,” Boston said. “So for us to be able to do it feels really good, and it’s such a blessing we won’t ever take for granted.”

Zia Cooke finished with 18 points and Brea Beal 16 for the Gamecocks.

Boston, the 6-foot-5 senior, made 10 of 14 shots. The three-time All-American added five assists, two blocked shots and was named the Greenville 1 Regional’s most outstanding player.

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