South Carolina VS Notre Dame 2015 NCAAW Final Four
April 5, 2015
Tonight’s NCAA Women’s Final Four’s first anticipated game was between 2nd ranked Notre Dame and 4th ranked South Carolina. South Carolina is making their first appearance in the NCAA Women’s Final Four and Coach Staley is making her first final four appearance as a coach. Notre Dame’s All American Jewell Loyd could be a problem for Coach Staley’s Gamecocks. Coach Staley didn’t want the game to be easy for her. In a pregame interview Coach Staley stated “We can’t allow her to just get easy buckets, everything she gets she has to work for, and I think our players are up for the challenge of just trying to stay in front of her.”
Notre Dame’s Coach McGraw stated in a pregame interview “There are a lot of concerns about South Carolina. They’re such a good team and their depth is just probably the best in the game.” Jr. G Jewell Loyd started the game aggressive for Notre Dame. Notre Dame got out to an early 15 to 3 lead. To stay in the game South Carolina had to dig in and pick up their defense. It also helped that they went on an 8-0 run with 10:04 to play in the first. Notre Dame held strong and kept fighting with a run of their own; a 7 to 0 run that lead to a 32 to 24 score in their favor, they kept their lead at the half with a score of 32 to 28.
Notre Dame’s Jewell Loyd shot 4 for 10 and ended the half with 10 points and 2 assists. So. F Tara Reimer and Fr. F Brianna Turner both ended the half with 10 points, 4 rebounds. Leading the way for South Carolina, So. F Alaina Coates had 8 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks, she was the difference for South Carolina in the first half.
South Carolina came out aggressive the second half but Notre Dame also came to play. South Carolina tied the game with 36 all then Notre Dame turned it up a little their post players were beating South Carolina’s up the court for easy transition buckets. Michaela Mabrey started distributing the ball well for Notre Dame and that helped Jewell Loyd dominate as expected and this opened up a 10 point lead with 13:55 to play in the game.
Sr. F Aleighsa Welch and Fr. F A’JA Wilson of SC started to play with a bit more passion in the second half. Notre Dame’s Sr. G Madison Cable hit her only shot of the game and it was a big one, it put ND up 66-65. With a failed effort by SC, ND pulls it out and will be making their fifth trip to the national championship, they’ll face the winner of Maryland and UConn.
During post game interview Coach McGraw said “We went with Jewell, she had to do everything, she had to bring the ball up, but Michaela Mabry did a pretty good job too. Madison Cables on defense, I mean everybody contributed.”
Coach Staley said during post game interview “We gave God the glory when we made it to the Final Four. We’ll give him the glory for the defeat. I feel that our team did what they had to do, put themselves in a position to win the game. Unfortunately for us, it came down to them making a play when they needed to make a play and we didn’t.”