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How South Carolina basketball reached the 2021 women’s Final Four

The South Carolina Gamecocks are headed to the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA women’s basketball tournament. We break down how they got there, with key players and critical moments throughout the season.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Elite Eight-Texas at South Carolina Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dawn Staley has built South Carolina into a national powerhouse and as a result, the Gamecocks are heading to their third Final Four appearance in seven seasons.

Here’s how they got here...

Regular season

The 26-4 Gamecocks mostly cruised through their SEC regular season schedule, picking up several ranked victories over the likes of Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi State with a few close setbacks to Tennessee and Texas A&M towards the end of the slate. USC then went up the highway to Greenville, SC, and defeated Alabama, UT, and UGA in successive days to claim the SEC Tournament title.

South Carolina also challenged themselves out of conference with wins over ranked Gonzaga and Iowa State spliced in with an eight-point loss to NC State and a four-point overtime loss to fellow Final Four participant UConn on Feb. 8.

NCAA Tournament

As the top-seed in the HemisFair Region, South Carolina ripped right through their slate, putting up dominant victories over Mercer, Oregon State, and Georgia Tech in the first three rounds, respectively. They then complete shutting out Texas in the fourth quarter in a 62-34 Elite Eight win to continue their stay in San Antonio.

Key players

Leading the way for the Gamecocks this season was AP All-American forward Aliyah Boston, who averaged a double-double with 13.8 points and 11.4 rebounds a game to go along with her 2.6 blocks per contest to also earn Co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors.

First-Team All-SEC guard Zia Cooke led the team in scoring with 15.6 a game and was followed by the 12 points a game from junior Destanni Henderson.