Season ends for USC with Elite Eight loss to Connecticut - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Season ends for USC with Elite Eight loss to Connecticut

Connecticut's Azura Stevens (23) defends South Carolina's Lele Grissett (24) during the first half of a regional final at the a women's NCAA college basketball tournament Monday, March 26, 2018, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) Connecticut's Azura Stevens (23) defends South Carolina's Lele Grissett (24) during the first half of a regional final at the a women's NCAA college basketball tournament Monday, March 26, 2018, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
ALBANY, NY (WIS) -

Every night, South Carolina entered the arena with a target on their back as the defending national champion. 

On Monday, the No. 2 seed Gamecocks faced a tall order trying to take down No. 1 seed Connecticut to make it to their second straight Final Four. Unfortunately, the Huskies' hot shooting from the floor would put an end to USC's season handing the Gamecocks a 94-65 loss. 

The Huskies found a rhythm early against the Gamecocks. Led by Crystal Dangerfield and Katie Lou Samuelson, Connecticut shot just over 64 percent for the floor. Their hot shooting helped the Huskies close the period on an 18-6 run.

Meanwhile, South Carolina struggled to find answers. A’ja Wilson and Alexis Jennings provided all 12 points for the Gamecocks in the first quarter, but Dawn Staley’s bunch had six critical turnovers in the quarter as Carolina trailed the Huskies 30-12.

Wilson had 27 points and eight rebounds in her final game for Carolina while Jennings added 15 points. 

USC would cut the lead down to 14 at one point in the second quarter. A’ja Wilson and Alexis Jennings led the charge as Carolina continued to fight, but Connecticut continued to pour it on.  Dangerfield remained consistent from outside going 3-for-3 from long range helping the Huskies finish the half 9-of-10 from behind the 3-point arc. With Geno Auriemma’s team remaining hot on offense, Carolina entered the locker room down 54-33 at the half.

Carolina opened the second half scoring the first two buckets cutting the deficit to 17. However, the Huskies remained poised and remained on the attack. The Gamecocks were held to just 14 points in the third quarter and Connecticut increased their lead to 76-47.

In total, Connecticut shot 51 percent from the floor in the second half on their way to capturing an 11th straight Final Four berth.

South Carolina ends the season with a 29-7 overall record.  

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