Dawn Staley & Co. improved to a perfect 2-0 in national title game appearances -- and handed UConn coach Geno Auriemma his first such loss (11-1) -- with their 64-49 win over the Huskies on Sunday night.
It was all Gamecocks from the start. South Carolina never relinquished the lead it established 22 seconds into the game. National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston wowed, as she did all season, with 11 points and 16 rebounds. Boston finished the tournament averaging 16.8 points per game and 15.2 rebounds per game -- which contributed greatly to USC's sheer dominance on the boards (49-24).
Meanwhile, Paige Bueckers was relatively quiet by her standards, scoring 14 points and grabbing six rebounds for the Huskies.
The Gamecocks finish with 35 wins, the most in a single season in program history. UConn finished the matchup with 49 points, its second fewest ever in an NCAA tournament game, per ESPN Stats & Information data.
Here's what the sports world had to say about South Carolina's elite performance:
Not the ending we hoped for, but we are so proud of this team and everything they accomplished this season. 💙 pic.twitter.com/uLzLrbGDIo— UConn Huskies (@UConnHuskies) April 4, 2022
Mannnnnnn here come the water works— A'ja Wilson (@_ajawilson22) April 4, 2022
🐔 let's go USC— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) April 4, 2022
LETSSSS GOOOOO!!!! ANOTHER ONEEEEEEEE!! NATTY CHAMPSSSSSSSSSSS— Allisha Gray (@Graytness_15) April 4, 2022
Still a great season for uconn. Congrats to South Carolina. Just dominate on the glass and the defensive end.— Bria Hartley (@Breezyyy14) April 4, 2022
South Carolina it's Lit!!!— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) April 4, 2022
National Champs and a dominate performance.
Congrats, @dawnstaley 🧡— WNBA (@WNBA) April 4, 2022
Girl why did I tear up 🤣🤣🤣 https://t.co/metCzE0fMZ— CoachYo (@YolettMcCuin) April 4, 2022
Congratulations to South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley & her staff, Player of the Year Aliyah Boston, & the entire South Carolina women's basketball team for becoming NCAA National Champions!! @GamecockWBB 🏆💍👏🏾— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 4, 2022
Dawn Staley. Legend.— Lindsay Gottlieb (@CoachLindsayG) April 4, 2022