ALBANY, N.Y. — Tessa Johnson scored 15 points, Kamilla Cardoso added 12 and undefeated South Carolina advanced to the Final Four of the women’s NCAA Tournament with a 70-58 win over Oregon State on Sunday.

South Carolina made it to the national semifinals unbeaten for the second straight season. The Gamecocks lost to Caitlin Clark and Iowa in the Final Four last year. This time, with an entirely new starting lineup, coach Dawn Staley has her group on the verge of the school’s third national championship.

The Gamecocks, who have made the Final Four in four straight years, will play N.C. State on Friday night in Cleveland. Two more wins by South Carolina would make the Gamecocks the 10th school to finish a season undefeated and the first since UConn did it in 2016.

Top-seeded South Carolina (36-0) led by four at the half and built a 14-point lead before No. 3 seed Oregon State (27-8) got within 62-58 with 3:55 left in the game. But the Beavers then missed their final seven shots.

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Johnson answered after a timeout with a three-point play, scoring on a drive to restore a seven-point cushion. No one scored until Johnson made two free throws with 44.5 seconds left.

Raegan Beers scored 16 points to lead the Beavers.






South Carolina forward Ashlyn Watkins drives against Oregon State forward Kelsey Rees during the first quarter of Sunday’s NCAA Tournament Elite Eight game in Albany, N.Y.




This was the second straight game in the Albany 1 Region where South Carolina let a double-digit second-half lead slip away. Just like against Indiana in the regional semifinal, the young Gamecocks made the necessary plays down the stretch.

South Carolina led 43-41 before scoring 12 straight points in the third quarter. Raven Johnson, who hit the big 3-pointer to beat Indiana in the Sweet 16, connected on a corner 3 to start the game-changing spurt. Tessa Johnson followed with five straight points, and Sania Feagin capped the burst with the four points that made it 55-41 with 1:36 left in the third quarter.

The Beavers were down 58-46 heading into the fourth. They scored 12 of the first 16 points of the period to close within 62-58 on Donovyn Hunter’s layup.

South Carolina and Oregon State had played twice before in the NCAA Tournament and the Gamecocks won both, including in 2021. Oregon State advanced this far for the first time since 2018. The Beavers made their only trip to the Final Four in 2016.

The Gamecocks dominated the offensive boards to take a 37-33 lead at the half. South Carolina had 13 offensive rebounds in the first 20 minutes. Oregon State was able to stay in the game by hitting six 3-pointers, including three by Lily Hansford in the opening half.

NO. 3 NC STATE 76, NO. 2 TEXAS 66: Aziaha James made a career-high seven 3-poiners and scored 27 points, and North Carolina State earned its first trip to the Final Four of the women’s NCAA Tournament since 1998, beating Texas in a game played with 3-point lines at different distances on opposite ends of the court.

River Baldwin added 16 points for N.C. State (31-6), which will face unbeaten South Carolina in the national semifinals in Cleveland on Saturday. The Gamecocks beat Oregon State in Albany, New York, earlier Sunday.

Madison Booker, one of the top freshmen in the country along with Southern California’s JuJu Watkins, finished with 17 points to lead the Longhorns (33-5), who were vying for their first Final Four since 2003.

Before the Portland 4 Region final, Texas coach Vic Schaefer and N.C. State’s Wes Moore conferred with officials about a visible difference between the 3-point lines.

The NCAA acknowledged a discrepancy but said both coaches agreed to play on. Four previous games in Portland were played without anyone saying anything publicly about the issue. The court will be corrected before Monday’s Elite Eight game between USC and UConn, the NCAA said.

No matter how far away the arc was, it didn’t bother James, who finished 7 of 9 on 3s.

N.C. State led by 18 points in the first half, but Texas closed within 54-48 on Deyona Gaston’s jumper late in the third quarter. James answered with a 3 to put the Wolfpack ahead by nine heading into the final period.

Booker’s three-point play moved Texas within 63-55. The Longhorns kept up their pressure with Taylor Jones’ three-point play to narrow the gap to 65-58 with 4:41 to go. Another 3 by James kept Texas at bay.

Baldwin’s jumper that made it 72-62 with 1:50 left all but sealed it for the Wolfpack. With 28 seconds left, James walked into a timeout with her arms raised to elicit cheers from the fans behind the bench.

The Wolfpack’s last Elite Eight appearance in 2022 ended with a double-overtime loss to UConn. N.C. State was stopped by Louisiana Tech in its only previous Final Four appearance.

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