Kaela Davis scored 23 points and A’ja Wilson added 16 and top-seeded South Carolina held off No. 3 seed Florida State 71-64 in a furious finish Monday night to win the Stockton Regional.
Davis scored immediately off the tip and again on a timely, brilliant left-handed drive with 1:42 to go.
Allisha Gray drove her way to 11 points for South Carolina (31-4) — and Dawn Staley’s Gamecocks are back in the Final Four for the first time since 2015 still chasing the program’s first NCAA championship.
Leticia Romero cut the South Carolina lead to five, 65-60, on a driving jumper with 3:51 left. Then Brittany Brown’s steal and layup at 3:25 made it 65-62, but the Seminoles wouldn’t get closer.
South Carolina has both basketball teams in the Final Four. The men’s program reached its first Final Four with a stunning upset of Florida on Sunday that sent the women screaming in delight at Stockton Arena all the way across the country from the victory at Madison Square Garden.
After the buzzer sounded, the Gamecocks hustled together for a team hug, then danced at midcourt wearing T-shirts and hats.
Imani Wright’s basket with 7:12 to play capped a 6-0 burst and pulled Florida State within 60-53, then Gray answered. Romero knocked down a 3 moments later and it was a six-point game.
Tyasha Harris added 16 points for South Carolina, which made things uncomfortable all game for Florida State’s Spanish star, Romero. She was limited to 6-for-23 shooting for 16 points, six assists and six rebounds as Florida State fell short once more of the program’s first Final Four.
Davis, daughter of former NBA player Antonio Davis, delivered all day on both ends. She shot 10 for 15 and is headed to her Final Four debut on Friday against Stanford. She transferred from Georgia Tech for the chance to do something special.
Two power programs from the South that scrimmaged together the past two preseasons faced off…