SAN ANTONIO — Aliyah Boston scored 19 points and top seed South Carolina dominated after a close first quarter to beat eighth-seeded Oregon State 59-42 in the women’s NCAA Tournament, advancing to its seventh straight Sweet 16.
The Gamecocks (24-4) led by a point after one quarter but had built a 12-point lead by halftime and were up 53-29 by the start of the fourth.
“This is a huge lift off of our shoulders because that was a hard game,” coach Dawn Staley said. “I know the score doesn’t say that. But … Oregon State is a really good, efficient basketball team. If you allow them to do what they set out to do, they’re very good at it.”
South Carolina, which won a national title in 2017, improved to 8-1 in the second round under Staley and will appear in the regional semifinals for the 11th time overall.
“Our players didn’t want to pack and head home,” Staley said. “They wanted to stay a little bit longer. A lot of them, this is their first tournament experience … and the deeper we go in this tournament, the more experience we have, the better off we’ll be this year as well as in years to come.”
Taylor Jones scored 13 points for Oregon State (12-8), which ended a streak of four straight Sweet 16 appearances. Jones fouled out with about three minutes remaining.
Staley’s plan was to get Jones into foul trouble — and it worked, with Jones limited to 18 minutes.
“We would have been in trouble because she could have erased the lead that we had with just her production,” Staley said.
South Carolina made just 1 of 15 3-pointers, but was able to control the game by outscoring the Beavers 34-24 inside and winning big on the boards.
The Gamecocks used a big run to break a tie and lead by 12 at halftime. Boston scored the first four points in that span and Laeticia Amihere added six points as South Carolina took advantage of six turnovers.
“We just keep pushing,” Boston said. “We never stop attacking, no matter who it is.”
Oregon State managed just five points on 2-of-12 shooting and had seven turnovers in the second quarter.
“They were disruptive all day, closed gaps really quickly defensively,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. “During a key stretch of that second quarter (they) turned us over, turned it into quick points at the other end, which is obviously a staple and a hallmark of what they do. It’s when they’re at their best.”
The Gamecocks continued to pile on to start the second half, outscoring Oregon State 13-3 in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the third to make it 43-21.
“They took away what we wanted to do on offense,” Oregon state guard Aleah Goodman said. “We just weren’t really ourselves. It’s a bummer. It’s hard to go out like that.”
ON THE BOARDS
The Gamecocks outrebounded Oregon State 50-32. They have had more rebounds than their opponents in every game this season and have had at least 10 more rebounds than the other team in 19 games this season.
“Coach always talks to us about dominating the boards,” Boston said. “We talk about that before every game.”
South Carolina will face No. 5 seed Georgia Tech in the Hemisfair Region.