Gamecock women beat Stanford to reach title game

South Carolina forward A'ja Wilson (22) celebrates with teammate Allisha Gray (10) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Stanford in the semifinals of the women's Final Four, Friday, March 31, 2017, Friday, March 31, 2017, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

DALLAS (AP) – Allisha Gray scored 18 points, A’ja Wilson had a double-double and South Carolina is going to its first national championship game after beating Stanford 62-53 Friday night in the women’s national semifinals.

Wilson had 13 points and 19 rebounds for the Gamecocks (32-4), who lost in the semifinal of their only other Final Four appearance two years ago. They went ahead to stay with 13 straight points in the third quarter.

Stanford (32-6) took a big hit when senior guard Karlie Samuelson sprained her right ankle with about 4 1/2 minutes before halftime after the Cardinal had taken an eight-point lead with a 13-1 run.

South Carolina’s Dawn Staley, who played for Tara VanDerveer on the U.S. women’s team that won the 1996 Olympic gold medal, won as a coach against the Stanford coach for the first time in six tries.

Staley also made three consecutive Final Four appearances as a player for Virginia from 1990-92. Two of those included semifinal losses to VanDerveer and the Cardinal on way to their only national titles.

The victory kept up a big run by the South Carolina basketball teams. The men’s team takes on Gonzaga in the Final Four on Saturday.