Great defense, bad shooting as S. Carolina beats Miami 49-33

Mar 20, 2022, 2:21 AM | Updated: 3:51 pm
South Carolina forward Victaria Saxton (5) battles for the ball against Miami forward Destiny Harde...

South Carolina forward Victaria Saxton (5) battles for the ball against Miami forward Destiny Harden (3) and guard Ja'Leah Williams (12) during the first half a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 20, 2022 in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

(AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley said as long as her defense can keep playing this good, her team’s bad shooting can fix itself, later in the NCAA Tournament.

The top-seeded Gamecocks (31-2) held a second opponent without a field goal in the second quarter to beat Miami 49-33 on Sunday in the second round of the tournament.

It was ugly shooting all around. South Carolina shot just 30% and the Hurricanes (21-13) shot just 24% for the game.

But Staley, making her eighth Sweet 16 appearance in a row, said that defense is a nice security blanket for a team that has shot 37% or worse four of its past five games. The 54 points allowed in the first two rounds of the women’s NCAAs is 17 fewer than any other team has allowed in its first two games.

“There’s a nastiness to us on that side of the basketball. It wins basketball games for us,” Staley said.

Aliyah Boston scored 10 points and 16 rebounds. Her 26th double-double in a row seemed in doubt until she was fouled with 1:19 left as Miami tried to extend the game. The All-American hit both free throws. Boston was just 4-of-15 from the field, missing both her 3-pointers and made just two of six free throws.

“I think I was just moving a little too fast,” Boston said.

Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi of Miami led all scorers with 15 points. The 6-foot-4 forward only shot 3-pointers, going 5-of-11. The rest of the team combined for just six more field goals.

Hurricanes coach Katie Meier said the only way she saw to beat South Carolina was to slow down Boston, show as much toughness and fight as the Gamecocks and shoot well over the zone. The shooting wasn’t there. It was their worst performance of the season.

“We were trying to match them punch for punch. Obviously we didn’t,” Meier said. “If you didn’t understand the grit and the character of our team, I think we proved that today.”

As long as South Carolina keeps playing amazing defense and keeps hitting the boards — they had 19 offensive rebounds to just six for Miami– Staley is convinced the other problems will work themselves out.

“I think you just have to continue to play good basketball – just take good shots. Basketball has a way of just repaying you for doing it the right way and being disciplined,” she said.


With Boston struggling, Staley turned to sophomore transfer Kamilla Cardoso, who led the team with 11 points and four blocks and played 22 minutes — her most since Jan. 2.

A pair of three-point plays by Cardoso, about midway through the fourth quarter finally got the game in hand after Miami cut its deficit to 33-23.

“It was very comforting to know everybody stepped up,” Boston said.

Cardoso was the Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Year last season at Syracuse.

“It’s an ACC opponent. She used to play in the ACC. Maybe there is something there we didn’t know about,” Staley said.


Miami got frustrated during a second quarter which saw the Hurricanes miss all nine shots with their only points coming from three free throws.

There were yelling and arguments with each other and Meier said she had to go “mama bear” and step in to remind them they still were in the game even when no shots were falling.

“I think we’re a much better team when I’m the one yelling at them.” Meier said.


Miami: Meier has not made a Sweet 16 in nine NCAA Tournament appearances and the 24% shooting night was their worst of the season.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks defense is historic in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. South Carolina set NCAA Tournament records in Friday’s 79-21 win over Howard with just 21 points allowed in the game and four in the first half. Miami scored just three points in the second quarter and 10 points in the first half Sunday — the fourth lowest total in a half in tournament history.


South Carolina plays the winner of North Carolina and Arizona in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Friday.


More AP coverage of March Madness: and and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


United States' A'ja Wilson reaches up to intercept the ball during their semifinal game at the wome...
Associated Press

US runs past Canada into World Cup gold medal game

SYDNEY (AP) — Breanna Stewart and the United States used a dominant defensive effort to beat Canada and reach the gold medal game of the World Cup for the fourth consecutive tournament. Stewart scored 17 points and the Americans raced out to an early lead to put away Canada 83-43 on Friday. The 43 points […]
1 day ago
FILE - Kunlun Red Star's Ryan Sproul, right, of Canada, fifths for the puck with Amur's Radan Lenc,...
Associated Press

North Americans in Russia’s KHL face difficult decisions

North Americans playing in the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League have been put in a difficult position amid calls from the U.S and Canadian governments for them to leave the country because of the war in Ukraine. The Canadian government has advised its citizens to leave Russia while commercial means are still available, cautioning anyone holding […]
1 day ago
Texas Rangers starter Jon Gray throws during the first inning of the team's baseball game against t...
Associated Press

Mariners outlast Rangers in 11, close in on playoff berth

SEATTLE (AP) — Mitch Haniger and Jarred Kelenic both homered twice, J.P. Crawford singled home the winning run in the 11th inning and the Seattle Mariners closed in on their first playoff berth in 21 years by beating the Texas Rangers 10-9 Thursday night. The Mariners moved a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay for the […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Dodgers' Miguel Vargas watches his two-run single during the sixth inning of the team's...
Associated Press

Vargas, Dodgers beat Padres 5-2 for 108th win

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Miguel Vargas is making a push to be included on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ postseason roster — if manager Dave Roberts can find a spot for him. The rookie outfielder hit a tiebreaking, two-run single with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and the NL West champion Dodgers beat San […]
1 day ago
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) is sacked by Cincinnati Bengals' Josh Tupou (68) duri...
Associated Press

Explainer: Tua Tagovailoa, fencing response and NFL protocol

Tua Tagovailoa stumbled to the ground, his legs wobbly and unable to walk to the huddle after banging his head Sunday. And then Thursday night, he was carried off the field by stretcher after another hit caused his head to violently slam against the turf and his hands to freeze up. The Dolphins said the […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani looks toward the plate after giving up a hit to O...
Associated Press

Ohtani takes no-hitter into 8th, Angels beat Athletics 4-2

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani has provided Angels fans with plenty of highlights this season. The two-way phenom almost topped them all Thursday night. The reigning AL MVP pitched no-hit ball into the eighth inning and extended his hitting streak to 14 games as Los Angeles pushed its winning streak to four with a […]
1 day ago
Great defense, bad shooting as S. Carolina beats Miami 49-33