The weren't the only ones booking trips to the Final Four on Sunday, as the Oklahoma City and Greensboro regions of the 2015 women's NCAA Tournament were also decided.
In Greensboro, South Carolina and Florida State got things underway in the early afternoon with a clash that would make history for the victor. Neither the Gamecocks nor the Seminoles have made a Final Four in program history.
Notre Dame and Baylor were put on the docket to close the evening out. Both program have become synonymous with postseason brilliance in recent seasons; the two teams have seven Final Fours between them over the last decade.
That contest is also strategically scheduled after the conclusion of the men's games. Anyone interested in college basketball, thanks to some smart scheduling, could have started their way at noon and ended in the evening with nonstop action. With that in mind, let's take a quick look at everything that transpired Sunday as half of the field traveling to Tampa was set.
|Sunday's Elite Eight Results|
|Greensboro||(2) Florida State vs. (1) South Carolina||South Carolina, 80-74|
|Oklahoma City||(2) Baylor vs. (1) Notre Dame||Notre Dame, 77-68|
The updated bracket can be found on the NCAA tournament's website.
South Carolina 80, Florida State 74
Tiffany Mitchell scored 21 points as one of three South Carolina players in double figures as the Gamecocks earned a come-from-behind 80-74 victory over Florida State.
Mitchell, who added six rebounds and five assists, scored seven points in the final two minutes. Her layup with 2:01 remaining gave the Gamecocks a lead they would never relinquish, as Mitchell knocked down a three her next trip down the floor and put a game Florida State away for good. Coach Dawn Staley spoke on Mitchell's effect after the game, per Avery Wilks of Gamecocks Central:
South Carolina shot 61.2 percent overall and forced its way to the free-throw line 27 times. Alaina Coates made all six of her shots en route to scoring 14 points as one of two Gamecocks who came off the bench to score in double figures. Asia Dozier was the other, knocking down four key free throws in the waning minutes to finish her day with 10 points.
The sweet shooting helped South Carolina atone for a day where it was dominated on the boards. Florida State grabbed 33 rebounds, including 16 on the offensive end. Ivey Slaughter, who finished with eight points, seven rebounds and four assists, was responsible for six rebounds on the offensive side.
The Seminoles were held to 42.4 percent shooting overall but did manage to knock down half of their 16 three-point attempts. Leticia Romero (13 points), Brittany Brown (12 points) and Adut Bulgak (11 points) each scored in double figures for Florida State. The team scored 23 points overall from the bench, highlighted by Shakayla Thomas and Emiah Bingley with eight apiece.
For much of the first half, Florida State looked like it would be making the trip to Tampa. Getting out to a hot start from distance, the Seminoles led by as many as 10 and were ahead 41-38 at halftime. Their lead stretched to seven points early in the second half, and South Carolina did not hold a lead until there was just over 10 minutes remaining.
The Gamecocks move on to their first Final Four in program history. They had previously made the Elite Eight in 2002 and have made it to the Sweet 16 in three of the last four years. Staley has been seen as being responsible for the program's ascent, taking them from an SEC bottom feeder to the sport's pinnacle in only seven seasons.
Notre Dame 77, Baylor 68
Last year's runners-up, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, advanced to the Final Four Sunday with a 77-68 win over the Baylor Lady Bears in Oklahoma City.
Baylor enjoyed the advantage early in the first half, getting out to a 26-17 lead a little over eight minutes in. The Lady Bears remained on top or tied with Notre Dame until the final 15 seconds of the half, with Lindsay Allen hitting a jumper to give the Fighting Irish a two-point edge, 39-37, going into the locker room.
Notre Dame then led for much of the second half, but Baylor was never too far behind. The difference between the two teams was often only four or five points, which meant a brief offensive run could've changed things significantly.
A three-pointer from Kristy Wallace got Baylor to within four points, 72-68, with 1:57 left in the game. Alexis Prince then missed a three that would've cut the deficit to one on the Lady Bears' next possession. Sune Agbuke grabbed the offensive rebound, but her layup was off the mark as well.
Madison Cable then gave the Fighting Irish some breathing room with a jumper at the other end of the court, and Allen knocked down two late free throws that cemented the result. Although Baylor made it interesting late, its comeback attempt fell just short.
Allen was huge in the win, scoring 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting with five rebounds, seven assists and four steals. The sophomore was one of four Fighting Irish players to score in double figures. Brianna Turner also registered a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Nina Davis played well in a losing effort, scoring 26 points and grabbing 13 boards. Agbuke also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
With the win, Notre Dame will meet South Carolina in the Final Four. The game will tip on April 5.
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