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.