Virginia Tech vs Ohio State

Half of the ladies’s NCAA Tournament Final Four subject is about. The different half might be settled Monday evening.

Who will be part of Iowa and LSU in Dallas?

No. 1 South Carolina — the defending nationwide champions — beat the second-seeded Maryland Terrapins. The Gamecocks are aiming to be the primary repeat girls’s basketball champion since Connecticut received 4 straight nationwide titles from 2013-16.

Next up, No. 1 Virginia Tech faces No. 3 Ohio State (9 p.m. ET on ESPN). The Hokies have by no means reached the Final Four. The Buckeyes, in the meantime, final made the Final Four in 1993 when three-time Olympic gold medalist, WNBA champion and future Hall of Famer Katie Smith was a freshman.

Follow alongside for updates on all of the motion from Monday’s Elite Eight matchups:

The Virginia Tech Hokies are up 48-45 on the half over the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Both groups have traded off the lead a number of instances, however Virginia Tech went forward once more after a layup from Taylor Soule with 1:10 on the clock.

Three gamers are in double digits for the Hokies, together with Cayla King with 12, Soule with 11 and Elizabeth Kitley with 10. Georgia Amoore has eight, together with a key three-point shot after going to the locker room when she slammed onto the courtroom.

“We just said she’s carried us this far, so we’ve got to do it for her,” King said of the team’s mentality when their leading scorer in the tournament went down.

Hokies guard Georgia Amoore was injured when Ohio State’s Eboni Walker bumper her shoulder into her face with 8:31 on the clock in the second quarter. Amoore fell backwards and landed on her back. She laid on the court holding her face as her teammates ran over to check on her. She lurched as she stood to her feet with the help of a coach and walked with a wobble toward the bench. She was helped to the locker room with the help of two people.

Amoore returned to the bench soon after and made a three-point shot after reentering the game.

Ohio State has surged ahead as the Buckeyes lead the Virginia Tech Hokies 23-22 after an intense first quarter of play.

The Hokies led from the start until Taylor Mikesell tied the game at 19 with a three-point shot with three minutes left in the quarter. Ohio State finally took the lead at 1:50 remaining when Jacy Sheldon made a layup. She followed that up with a jumpshot to close out the quarter.

Mikesell has nine points for Ohio State, while Cayla King has the same for the Hokies.

The second game of Monday night’s action tipped off with buckets galore. Halfway through the first quarter, there are already five total three-point shots with the top-seeded Virginia Tech Hokies leading the No. 3 seeded Ohio State Buckeyes 17-14. Both teams are perfect from behind the arc.

The Hokies tipped off the action with back-to-back treys, one each from Kayana Traylor and Cayla King. King already has six points on the night as does Ohio State’s Taylor Mikesell.

It was a rocky start, but No. 1 South Carolina is still in the running to defend their national championship after beating the No. 2 seeded Maryland Terrapins, 86-75, in Elite Eight action on Monday. The Gamecocks are headed to their third straight Final Four. This game marks a school-record 36th win of the season and their 42nd in a row dating to last year’s NCAA Tournament.

South Carolina star Aliyah Boston finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds for her 82nd career double-double.

“I’m super excited,” Boston said on the ESPN broadcast after the game. “The coaches did a great job on scout. We’re going to the Final Four!”

Senior guard Diamond Miller led the Terrapins with 24 points. Abby Meyers finished with 14 points after fouling out in the fourth quarter.

After a slow start, Aliyah Boston powered the South Carolina Gamecocks to what’s been another dominant performance. The senior forward exited the game with 4:20 on the clock and her team up 79-63. She finished the night with 22 points and 10 rebounds for her 82nd career double-double.

South Carolina has all the momentum as it ended the third quarter up 62-50 over the Maryland Terrapins and are inching closer to a third straight Final Four appearance.

The Gamecocks went on a 7-0 run toward the end of the quarter and had a lead as large as 15.

Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke each have 18 points for South Carolina, while Diamond Miller has 15 points for Maryland. Abby Meyers has 14 but got into foul trouble after leading the Terrapins most of the game.

Despite South Carolina’s surge, head coach Dawn Staley did not appear happy with her team’s inconsistent performance. “Cookie’s gotta cook,” she said on the ESPN broadcast.

The South Carolina Gamecocks might not have looked like themselves in the first quarter, but they shook off the dust and lead the Maryland Terrapins 38-30 at halftime.

Maryland took nearly two minutes to score in the second quarter as South Carolina inched closer to the lead. Star forward Aliyah Boston put the Gamecocks ahead with a layup and 4:55 on the clock. South Carolina went 9-2 to close the period and were up by as many as 10 points.

Boston is the leading scorer for the Gamecocks with 12 points and Zia Cooke added all nine of her points in the quarter.

Maryland is staying alive with 14 points from senior guard Abby Meyers. She scored a layup with eight seconds on the clock to keep the Terrapins from going into the break down double digits.

The Maryland Terrapins are not making it easy for the South Carolina Gamecocks to reach the Final Four and are up 21-15 at the end of the first quarter. The Terrapins scored 12 unanswered points toward the end of the period as Dawn Staley’s team failed to find a rhythm. South Carolina’s Laeticia Amihere finally broke the streak with a pair of free throws.

Senior guard Abby Meyers is the game’s leading scorer with seven points for Maryland. For South Carolina, star forward Aliyah Boston has six points.

It’s not often that a No. 2 seed is considered a mammoth underdog to a top seed in the NCAA Tournament, but that’s exactly what the Maryland Terrapins (28-6) are as they head into an Elite Eight showdown with reigning national champion South Carolina.

South Carolina has lost precisely two games in the past two seasons to Missouri and Kentucky in the 2021-22 season. The Gamecocks (35-0) have mostly steamrolled opponents this season and are riding a 41-game winning streak dating back to last year’s NCAA Tournament. Only five opponents have even kept the losses under single digits with two taking the Gamecocks to overtime – Stanford in November and Ole Miss in February.

So, Maryland coach Brenda Frese, who coached the Terrapins to the 2006 national championship, knows what her team is up against: experience, depth and size.

“Obviously, to be undefeated and to look at the depth and the size that they have, you bring the players off the bench, and they just even get better, Frese told the Washington Post. “It’s got to rank up there as one of the best when you talk about all the size being on their roster.”

Maryland is in search of its first Final Four for the reason that Terrapins made back-to-back appearances in 2014 and 2015.

— Ellen J. Horrow

South Carolina senior guard Brea Beal has a further season of COVID-19 eligibility accessible however stated she does not plan to make use of it and can declare for the 2023 WNBA draft.

“School just isn’t for me, I’ll let you know that, so I positively have (decided),” Beal said with a laugh. “So a lot of my profession I really feel like loads of issues went unnoticed, so to have the ability to shut out my senior yr, to see lots of people placing me in mocks or simply speaking about me, it exhibits that I’m starting to get observed and the way helpful I will be.”

Beal has never been a headliner for the No. 1 Gamecocks, but she has anchored the starting lineup from the moment she set foot on campus. Last year, she earned All-American honorable mention honors for the first time in her career from the Associated Press and was named a finalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year alongside her teammate Aliyah Boston, the reigning winner of the award.

ESPN and The Athletic currently project Beal as the No. 7 overall pick in the WNBA draft on April 10.

— Emily Adams, Greenville (South Carolina) News

On the morning of the 2023 SEC championship game, the first thing South Carolina women’s basketball point guard Kierra Fletcher did was text her girlfriend Kayana Traylor good luck.

At nearly the same time as Gamecocks tipped off against Tennessee on March 5, Traylor and Virginia Tech women’s basketball were hoisting the ACC championship trophy. Fletcher and South Carolina went on to win the SEC title hours later.

“It was loopy, as a result of proper after we performed I checked the rating and I used to be like, ‘Wow, they received,'” Fletcher said. “I referred to as her as quickly as I bought time, and we had been simply speaking about how loopy it was that each of us received the convention event collectively.”

Traylor, a 5-foot-9 senior guard for the Hokies, first connected with the Gamecocks’ starting point guard on social media. They bonded over being from the Midwest — Fletcher is from Michigan and Traylor from Indiana — and have now been together for nearly three years.

Now, South Carolina and Virginia Tech are the only 1-seeds left. If Virginia Tech beats Ohio State and the Gamecocks take down Maryland, Fletcher and Traylor will head to Dallas with a legitimate chance to face each other for the national championship.

— Emily Adams, Greenville (South Carolina) News

It didn’t take a miracle for Ohio State to advance past the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1993. The Buckeyes, in a 73-61 win over Connecticut on Saturday, simply outplayed the Huskies for the majority of the game.

“As lengthy as we play our sport,” Ohio State senior forward Eboni Walker said, “we have now the utmost confidence in ourselves and in one another.”

For Ohio State, playing its game goes hand-in-hand with its full-court press. When the Buckeyes get their press set and start forcing turnover after turnover after turnover, as they did against the Huskies, they can be almost impossible to stop.

Now, No. 1 seed Virginia Tech will have to grapple with Ohio State’s press just as UConn did. During the Hokies’ Sweet 16 win over Tennessee, the Lady Vols used their own press to come back from an 18-point deficit early in the third quarter to get within one point.

Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks knows Ohio State will employ the full-court press Monday night and says his team will have to play smart but aggressive offense.

“We need to get downhill, break the stress, and get some straightforward alternatives, and I feel that that may form of ease it up just a little bit,” Brooks said. “But they’ve been doing all of it yr lengthy. They’re actually good at it.”

— Bailey Johnson, The Columbus Dispatch

Kim Mulkey is already calling South Carolina in the Final Four.

The defending national champions don’t play their Elite Eight game against second-seeded Maryland until Monday night, but Mulkey doesn’t need to wait around for that. The top-seeded Gamecocks will be in Dallas next weekend, LSU’s coach said Sunday night.

“South Carolina is going. I’m just telling you that, flat out,” she said after LSU clinched its own spot in the Final Four with a 54-42 win over Miami. “That’s nothing against who they play. I just know how good they are.”

South Carolina thumped LSU by 24 points, 88-64, in their one meeting in the regular season. If Mulkey’s team sees the Gamecocks again, a national title would be on the line.

“I’d sure love to be in that championship with them,” Mulkey said.

— Nancy Armour

To get an idea of just how intoxicating Caitlin Clark’s game is, all you had to do Sunday — if you weren’t near a TV to watch her pile up 41 points, hand out 12 assists and grab 10 rebounds — was scroll Twitter. 

In the second half as her Hawkeyes pulled away from Louisville and everyone in Climate Pledge Arena went on triple-double watch, Clark became the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter. And as Clark led No. 2 seed Iowa to its first Final Four since 1993, it became clear: the junior guard is the superstar women’s basketball needs, right when the game needs it.

On Saturday, women’s basketball bid an early goodbye to UConn, the program that had made an NCAA-record 14 consecutive Final Fours but will be watching from home this April. On Sunday, it said hello to Clark, the most electrifying player in college basketball, men’s or women’s. Her passes in transition causes gasps, her tendency to pull up from the logo makes opponents shake their heads. 

She’s a transcendent talent, a player of the year candidate who elevates everyone around her and loves the big stage. Sunday when Iowa built as much as a 22-point lead she played to the crowd, motioning to fans to cheer louder, cupping her ear to see if they complied. Asked afterward what it’s like to have an entire arena wrapped around your finger, Clark leaned into the mic and admitted sheepishly, “I feel kinda powerful.”

— Lindsay Schnell

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