SAN ANTONIO – Zia Cooke and her South Carolina teammates were hot from the outside and rode that solid shooting to reach the Elite Eight.
Cooke scored 17 points, hitting five of six 3-point attempts, to lead top-seed South Carolina to a 76-65 win over fifth-seeded Georgia Tech on Sunday and reach the Elite Eight.
“Our offense carried us today with our ability to hit layups and stretch the floor and hit some 3s,” Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley said. “Hope it continues to get better. You got some great programs here that can put a lot of points on the scoreboard.”
It's the third time in the past four women's NCAA Tournaments that the Gamecocks have at least reached the regional finals. South Carolina won the national championship in 2017.
After going scoreless in the first half, Aliyah Boston had the first seven points in the third quarter as South Carolina (25-4) went on a 14-6 run to start the period. That lengthened a four-point halftime lead to double digits. The All-America sophomore forward finished with nine points.
“This team is resilient and determined and focused on the task at hand,” Staley said. “We found ourselves with Aliyah Boston in foul trouble early on and this team pivoted well today. We can afford ourselves that situation when we’re hitting shots.”
The Yellow Jackets (17-9) made a run in the fourth quarter to get within 69-63, but five consecutive points — the last coming on a 3-pointer from Cooke with 3 minutes left — sealed the win.
Lotta-Maj Lahtinen scored 20 points to lead Georgia Tech.