Gamecocks defeat Norfolk State to move on to second round of tournament

South Carolina v. Norfolk State in first round of tournament.
South Carolina v. Norfolk State in first round of tournament.(South Carolina Women's basketball)
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 10:43 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - University of South Carolina defeated Norfolk State University 72-40 to move onto the next round of the tournament. They will be facing the University of South Florida on March 19.

Game updates

Quarter 4

Norfolk State guard Camille Downs’ struggles continued, she just had 6 points before she fouled Laeticia Amihere.

Raven Johnson continued to stand out by adding to her assist and steal totals. During the first few minutes, the Gamecocks extended their lead to 32 points, with a 58-26 lead at the 8:09 point of the period.

The “Freshies” all have contributed through the first three-quarters of the game. Boston, Cooke Beall, and Amihere all have been productive.

Quarter 3

Towards the end of the third, South Carlina seemed to have figured out the defense of the Spartans, going on a 12-0 scoring run. While Norfolk did not score for 3+ minutes to end the quarter.

Raven Johnson continued to distribute the ball with another assist, she also had a steal and kicked it out to Breal Beal for a three-pointer to help which helped ignite the team.

It seems as if the Gamecocks are getting a taste of their medicine when it came to defense. South Carolina made 1/11 shots during the 3:47 mark of the thrid quarter.

Throughout this game, South Carolina looks like a squad that has not played in 12 days. The Gamecocks are shooting just 33% from the floor and 29% from deep. The good thing is, they have held Norfolk State to 23% shooting and 11% from the three.

Saxton ended a scoring drought for the Gamecocks with a floater but Spartans Wheeler responded with an and-1 basket, making the game 40-21.

The battle between the two defensive juggernauts continued to start the half. The two teams struggled to score until a Brea Beal three-pointer.

Quarter 2

Zia Cooke led the way in points for the Gamecocks with 9 points while Aliyah Boston had 6 points and 6 rebounds.

South Carolina led 34-18 at the end of the period. The Gamecocks went through a 3+ minute scoring drought. The Gamecocks missed nine free throws in the first two quarters.

South Carolina went on an 8-0 run close to the end of the quarter, Boston was sent to the foul line after a block by Mahoganie Williams on Aliyah Boston was called a foul.

The Gamecocks’ scoring has been bolstered by the bench players. The South Carolina bench players outscored the Spartans bench players 15-1.

South Carolina led 29-12 with 4:32 remaining in the first half of the game. Norfolk star Camille Downs earned three fouls early, making the comeback the Spartans were trying to obtain more difficult.

Even though the rebounding total between both teams was tied early in the quarter, the Spartans had the edge, grabbing 9 offensive rebounds compared to the Gamecocks 2 offensive rebounds. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley called a timeout after Back-to-back turnovers by the Gamecocks that led to the Spartans scoring on each possession.

Johnson continued to thrive by scoring a bucket thanks to an assist from Laeticia Amihere.

Raven Johnson starts off the quarter with a made layup by Kamilla Cardoso via an assist by Raven Johnson. Johnson already has three assist on the game.

Quarter 1

The first quarter ended 20-7 with South Carolina leading. It was the depth of the Gamecocks that helped them have a 13-point lead after one period.

Although South Carolina is known for their defense, Norfolk also held the Gamecocks to a 3 + minutes scoring drought before a Laeticia Amihere layup.

Norfolk ended a 4+ minutes scoring drought when Kierra Wheeler scored a layup, making the game 15-7. After a Kamilla Cardosa trip to the free throw line where she went 2/2.

Like the case has been all season, South Carolina’s defense was a problem for Norfolk State, with the Spartans struggling to score during the first quarter. During the first half of the period, the 2022 Naismith Player of the Year Aliyah Boston had four points, two blocks, and two rebounds.

Kierra Fletcher scored the first bucket of the game, Norfolk State responded with a floater by Norfolk guard Deja Francis. South Carolina jumped out to an early 9-4 lead behind the scoring of Boston, Cooke, and Fletcher.

Previous coverage:

Friday marked the start of the Gamecocks’ championship run for March Madness 2023. USC’s women’s basketball team entered the bracket as the #1 seed in the nation.

The team posted to social media, “We’ve walked this path before. Our journey back starts 𝐭𝐨𝐝𝐚𝐲.”

Last year the Gamecocks became national champions and returned home victorious to cheering crowds and a parade through downtown Columbia.

The team enters the tournament with momentum at their back, they played a perfect undefeated regular season.


Friday’s game at Colonial Life Arena is set to start at 2 p.m. when the Gamecocks take on the Spartans.

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