Women's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Greensboro Regional Final Game Breakdown

South Carolina Women's Basketball

Greensboro Regional Finals Game Breakdown


#1 South Carolina vs. #2 Florida State (Greensboro, North Carolina)

South Carolina moved on to the Elite Eight thanks to a Tiffany Mitchell layup with 4.2 seconds to give the Gamecocks a hard-fought 67-65 victory over North Carolina. Tiffany Mitchell led the scoring for South Carolina with 18 points and added five assists. Alaina Coates stepped up in a big way coming off the bench with 18 points. That was huge since Aleighsa Welch and Elem Ibiam were ineffective against the Tar Heels all night long. The poise shown by the Gamecocks in this back and forth battle when they trailed 63-60 with 90 seconds left is a big reason why they are playing in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2002. Instead of panicking and making crucial mistakes, South Carolina stepped up and made plays starting with Olivia Gaines making a contested three-point shot to tie the game at 63. It was that shot by Gaines and a pair of free throws by Alaina Coates that allowed the Gamecocks to be in position to get the win as the Tar Heels kept answering down the stretch. Another unsung hero for South Carolina was Tina Roy, who came off the bench and scored 12 points. She was 4-of-8 from three-point range. Overall, this win for the Gamecocks over their nemesis North Carolina is going to give a big psychological boost for them heading into the Elite Eight.

Florida State outlasted Arizona State 66-65 in a very nip and tuck battle as neither team gave an inch all night long. Leticia Romero scored a career high 21 points along with four rebounds, four assists, four steals and one blocked shot to lead the way for the Seminoles. Adut Bulgak took advantage of the Sun Devils down low as they did not really have an answer for slowing her down. Bulgak scored 15 points and had seven rebounds. The unsung hero was Maegan Conwright, who scored 11 timely points and came up with the most critical steal of the season that sealed the win for Florida State in the final seconds. Moving forward, the Seminoles are going to have to take better care of the basketball as they turned the ball over 20 times against the pressure defense of Arizona State.

The keys to the game for South Carolina start with putting the ball in Tiffany Mitchell’s hands and putting her in control of the offense and let her go to work. They also will need to get better offensive performances out of Aleighsa Welch to try and force Adut Bulgak to expend extra energy at the defensive end of the court. Another key is going to be embracing the Elite Eight stage and just continuing to play their game at both ends of the court. The support of the Gamecocks fans is another intangible that can’t be underestimated as it will be like a mini home court advantage for South Carolina. Thus, a fast start that will keep the crowd in the game will be very important as well.

For Florida State, they need to start fast to take the crowd out of the game and hold their own on the boards against the constant wave of tall, athletic inside players for the Gamecocks. Leticia Romero is going to have to continue to play at a high level and facilitate the offense to get everybody involved but still pick her spots to attack the basket. Shakayla Thomas is also going to have to stay out of foul trouble so she can help Adut Bulgak take care of the post players of the Gamecocks. This should be the most competitive regional final of all four elite eight matchups as both teams match up pretty well. But, South Carolina should sneak out another very close win and move on to the Final Four.


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