ALBANY, NY (WIS) - Survive and advance.
Despite posting 26 turnovers against a hungry No. 11 Buffalo squad, South Carolina punched their ticket to the Albany Regional final with a 79-63 win over the Bulls.
Carolina had a sloppy start to open the game. The Gamecocks turned the ball over eight times against the Bulls. Meanwhile, Cierra Dillard made the most of her opportunities for the Bulls. The guard scored 13 of her team's first-quarter points to help the No. 11 seed end the period with a 17-16 lead.
Carolina played a much cleaner second quarter and regained the lead. Behind strong efforts by Alexis Jennings and LeLe Grissett, the Gamecocks utilized a bigger lineup against the Bulls and went on a 14-6 run to end the half. USC finished the first 20 minutes of play with a 40-31 lead.
The turnover bug returned to the floor with the Gamecocks at the half. Carolina turned the ball over seven times in the third allowing Buffalo to hang close. Despite trailing by 13 points, the Bulls ended the quarter scoring the final six points to make it a 55-48 game. The Bulls opened the fourth quarter cutting Carolina's lead down to five, but the defending champs would not fold. The Gamecocks pushed their lead back to 10 and never looked back.
A'ja Wilson finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds while Alexis Jennings also provided 20 points and nine rebounds in the win.
Dillard was the game's high scorer with 29 points.
The Gamecocks have now reached the Elite Eight for the fourth time in program history. They will take on Connecticut at 7 p.m. on Monday.