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The South Carolina Gamecocks are headed to the NCAA Final Four for the third time in a row, and they are on a mission to defend their national title. This team has been dominant all season long, and they have overcome a number of obstacles to get back to this point.
One of the keys to South Carolina’s success has been their depth. They have a number of talented players who can contribute on both ends of the court, and they have been able to rely on their bench to provide a spark when needed. In their Elite Eight matchup against Florida State, the Gamecocks got big performances from players like A’ja Wilson, Tyasha Harris, and Te’a Cooper, who combined for 64 points.
But it’s not just their offense that has been impressive. South Carolina has one of the best defensive units in the country, and they have been able to disrupt their opponents’ game plans all season long. Against Florida State, they forced 18 turnovers and held the Seminoles to just 43 percent shooting from the field.
It’s also worth noting that this South Carolina team has come a long way since the beginning of the season. They lost a number of key players from last year’s championship team, including All-American guard Kaela Davis and forward Alaina Coates. But head coach Dawn Staley has done a fantastic job of getting her squad to buy into their roles and work together as a cohesive unit.
Virginia Tech, on the other hand, is making their first-ever appearance in the Final Four. The Hokies have had an impressive season under head coach Kenny Brooks, who took over the program just last year. They finished the regular season with a 22-13 record and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 10 seed.
Since then, Virginia Tech has rattled off wins over No. 7 seed Dayton, No. 2 seed Oregon, and No. 4 seed Ohio State to reach the Final Four. It’s been a remarkable run for the Hokies, who have relied on their defense and balanced scoring to pull off these upsets.
One player who has been instrumental in Virginia Tech’s success is freshman guard Dara Mabrey. She led the team in scoring in the regular season and has continued to shine in the tournament, averaging 17 points per game. The Hokies also have a number of other talented players, including senior center Regan Magarity and sophomore guards Taylor Emery and Alexis Jean.
So, how do these two teams stack up against each other? On paper, South Carolina would appear to have the advantage. They have more experience, a more balanced scoring attack, and a dominant defense. But as we’ve seen throughout this tournament, anything can happen.
It will be interesting to see how Virginia Tech handles the pressure of playing in their first Final Four game. Will they be able to stay calm and execute their game plan, or will the moment get the best of them? And how will South Carolina respond to being the favorite once again?
Ultimately, the outcome of this game will come down to which team can impose their will on the other. Will Virginia Tech be able to slow down South Carolina’s potent offense and create enough scoring chances of their own? Or will the Gamecocks once again prove to be too much for their opponents to handle?
One thing is for sure: this will be a game for the ages. Both of these teams have worked incredibly hard to get to this point, and they will leave it all on the court in pursuit of a national championship. It’s sure to be a thrilling matchup that fans won’t want to miss.