SportsNCAA Tournament


Cardoso helps South Carolina remain perfect with 79-75 win over spirited Indiana in Sweet 16

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Posted at 7:32 PM, Mar 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-30 21:49:17-04

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Kamilla Cardoso scored 22 points and top-seeded, unbeaten South Carolina held off a spirited Indiana rally to win 79-75 on Friday and advance to the Albany 1 Regional Final of the women’s NCAA Tournament.

South Carolina is three wins away from completing the 10th perfect season in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history. Next up for the Gamecocks is third-seeded Oregon State, which knocked off Notre Dame earlier Friday.

Coach Dawn Staley’s Gamecocks (35-0) had run through their first two games in March Madness, winning by 52 and 47. They faced a much bigger challenge from fourth-seeded Indiana (26-6).

South Carolina built a 22-point lead in the third quarter before Indiana got going behind Sydney Parrish, who led the team with 21 points.

The Hoosiers, who were trying to pull off the biggest comeback in NCAA Tournament history, got within 74-72 on Mackenzie Holmes’ layup with 1:08 left.

After a timeout, Raven Johnson calmly sank a 3-pointer from the wing 15 seconds later to restore a bigger cushion for the Gamecocks. Johnson scored 14 points.

Holmes then hit another layup to make it 77-74.

The Gamecocks then hit only two of four free throws in the final 21 seconds to leave the door open for a miraculous comeback, but Indiana couldn’t convert on the offensive end, missing two contested 3-pointers in the final 15 seconds.

South Carolina looked like it was going to steamroll another opponent. It led 34-28 midway through the second quarter before going on a 15-4 run to close the half up 49-32. All but two of those points came on the inside.

On the defensive end, Cardoso bottled up Holmes. She missed her first five shots before finally hitting a runner with less than a minute to go in the half. Holmes finished with 12 points.

The lead ballooned to 22 points early in the third quarter before the Hoosiers used a 10-0 run to get within 61-50 with just over three minutes left in the period. After the Gamecocks extended the advantage back to 15, Indiana closed within 65-55 at the end of the period.