NCAA WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT: Boston boosts No. 1 South Carolina into Final Four
South Carolina will take on Iowa in a Final Four matchup Friday
Aliyah Boston's 22 points and 10 rebounds lifted top-seeded South Carolina past second-seeded Maryland for an 86-75 victory in the Greenville 1 Region final Monday.
The defending champion Gamecocks will head to their third-consecutive Final Four. They also reached this point of the season in 2015 and 2017, winning the title in 2017 — all under coach Dawn Staley.
South Carolina (36-0) will take on Iowa (30-6) in a national semifinal on Friday in Dallas.
The Gamecocks battered Maryland in the lane, racking up a 48-26 rebounding margin that was the foundation for more home-state success.
Zia Cooke's 18 points and Brea Beal's 16 points helped the South Carolina offense.
Diamond Miller poured in 24 points for Maryland (28-7), which owned six wins against Top 10 teams this season. The Terrapins were bidding for their sixth Final Four berth, their first since 2015.
Abby Meyers had 14 points and Shyanne Sellers finished with 11 points for the Terrapins, whose 50% shooting from the field, including 7-for-14 success from 3-point range, was offset by South Carolina's rebounding.
The Gamecocks, who have won 42 consecutive games, rolled in their first three games in the tournament by 16 or more points. This one was a test for longer, but eventually South Carolina had too much power. Boston shot 10-for-14 from the field.
Maryland scored six-straight points to cut a 48-36 deficit in half in the third quarter. Raven Johnson drained a 3-pointer that sparked another surge for the Gamecocks and had the crowd in a tizzy. Two minutes later, South Carolina was up 60-45.
Earlier, the Terrapins had a run of their own, going on a 12-0 spurt for a 19-13 lead. Going to the second quarter ahead 21-15, Maryland hit a rut and scored only two points in the next five minutes.
Buoyed by a 9-0 run, South Carolina led 38-30 at halftime. The Gamecocks held a 25-13 edge in first-half rebounding, grabbing 14 offensive boards.
South Carolina has won five of seven all-time meetings between the teams, including an 81-56 victory at Maryland on Nov. 11.
No. 1 Virginia Tech 84, No. 3 Ohio State 74
For the first time ever, Virginia Tech is going to the women's Final Four.
The top-seeded Hokies got 25 points from Elizabeth Kitley and 24 points from Georgia Amoore as they defeated third-seeded Ohio State to win the Seattle 3 Region.
The Hokies (31-4) have won 15 straight games. They will face third-seeded LSU -- the winner of the Greenville 2 Region -- on Friday in Dallas.
Ohio State (28-8) was seeking its first Final Four appearance since 1993.
Kitley, the two-time ACC Player of the Year, shot 9 of 14 from the floor and also had a game-high 12 rebounds. Taylor Soule and Cayla King each chipped in 12 points. Amoore, who also had four rebounds, has scored at least 20 points in six straight games.
The Buckeyes were powered by 25 points from Taylor Mikesell, 19 from Jacy Sheldon and 18 from Cotie McMahon. McMahon also had a team-high seven rebounds.
Ohio State led by as much as five points early in the second quarter, but Virginia Tech then proceeded to outscore the Buckeyes 12-4 to take a 48-45 lead into halftime. Soule had nine points in the second, shooting 3-for-3 from the floor and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line.
Virginia Tech extended its lead to 13 points in the fourth quarter after opening the final period with a 10-5 run. Kitley had seven points during that stretch, including a three-point play.
The Buckeyes cut the deficit to six points with 44 seconds to go on a 3-pointer from Mikesell -- her seventh of the game, matching a season high -- but never got any closer to tying it.
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