Gamecocks Final Four

South Carolina women’s basketball ended its season with a 77-73 loss to Iowa in the NCAA Women’s Final Four Friday night (photo via Gamecocks Athletics).

South Carolina's top-ranked women’s basketball team ended an historic 2022-23 season with a 77-73 loss to Iowa in the NCAA Women’s Final Four Friday night.

National player of the year Caitlin Clark scored 41 points for Iowa, adding 8 assists and 6 rebounds.

Zia Cooke’s 24 points led the Gamecocks (36-1), and Kamilla Cardoso points 14 points and 14 rebounds in a game that featured eight lead changes and no lead for either team larger than nine points.

South Carolina trailed early but rallied in the second quarter, despite being without four-time All-American Aliyah Boston who picked up her second foul just 8:22 into the first period. Cardoso and Laeticia Amihere led the charge off the bench, complementing a nine-point second quarter from Cooke.

With the Hawkeyes leading 24-15 early in the second quarter, Amihere powered through a three-point play, Cardoso picked up a block and Cooke finished an and-1 to pull the Gamecocks within three at 24-21 with 8:17 to go in the period. Cardoso and Amihere combined for a 7-0 surge late in the quarter, and Cooke hit a leaner late to get South Carolina within one at halftime.

Iowa surged out of the break, but Cardoso was relentless on the glass and inside offensively, but the Hawkeyes went inside as will with Monika Czinano scoring Iowa’s last six points to stake a 59-55 lead heading into the final 10 minutes.

South Carolina was the aggressor early in the fourth with Raven Johnson burying her second 3-pointer of the game in the opening minute on a kickout from Boston. After an Iowa turnover, Boston then put the Gamecocks on top for the first time at 60-59.

Iowa reclaimed the lead moments later, but the game see-sawed back and forth. Johnson buried another three to close within one at 69-68 with 4:25 to play, but the Gamecocks could not get over the hump as Iowa sealed the win at the free throw line.

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