USC fans relish historic trip to Women's Final Four

USC fans relish historic trip to Women's Final Four

TAMPA, FL (WIS) - It took Trevon Fordham over 10 hours to make what was supposed to be a seven-hour trip to Tampa.

The Columbia native dealt with traffic in various spots during his trek, but Fordham wasn't going to let anything keep him from getting to Tampa.

"We went last year to the Men's Final Four," Fordham said, "so when Carolina came this year for the Final Four, of course, we couldn't miss it."

Fans like Fordham made their way to Amalie Arena to watch the hour-long South Carolina practice session. For these fans, being a part of this moment is simply special.

"Basically, we've been following A'ja, India, Kaydra, and Alaina for about the last five years since they've been playing AAU ball with coach (Kristen) Dickerson," Susan Moore-Cooke said. "So, I've followed their middle school careers, their high school careers, and now college. It's just amazing to see these ladies doing what they're doing."

While there are a few fans that will either make their way to Tampa on Sunday or watch the national semifinal from home, many can agree that having the Gamecocks in the Final Four means a great to Columbia and the USC community.

"I think it's so important for everyone to show their support for the Gamecocks," Kim Cornell said. "I hope we fill up this arena with Gamecocks."

Although it means so much to the fans to be here to support the Gamecocks, the players say it means just as much to have Gamecock Nation make the trip on Easter weekend.

"It means a lot," USC sophomore center Alaina Coates said. "Our fans give us so much support and we feel the love from them on and off the court. Just the fact that they took the time out of their lives to come down here and watch us play, it really means a lot."

"They've been our sixth man the whole season," USC senior forward Aleighsa Welch said. "They've been our backbone. They've been there to pick us up when we've been down so we want to win this for them. These people went out of their way. A lot of people have been talking about this since the season started. To be able to be in this position and to be able to play in front of them, we know we're going to have a good crowd out here. You want to able to do it for them. These fans have been a part of our team the entire season."

Last weekend, there were nine buses filled with fans ready to root for the Gamecocks through the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight rounds. The players are looking forward getting on the floor and seeing a lot of garnet and black in the arena in the biggest game in the program's history. Likewise, the fans are just as anxious to cheer them on when they face Notre Dame at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday

"I haven't heard any of the sportscasters give either one of the teams an edge," Moore-Cooke said. "It's going to be a battle. We're ready.

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