No. 1 South Carolina follows men's team, reaches Final Four

Dallas didn't call a timeout, and Harrison Barnes missed a long 3-pointer just before the buzzer, clinching the first losing season for the Mavericks (31-42) since 1999-2000, the season that owner Mark Cuban bought the team with Dirk Nowitzki in his second year.

Coach Geno Auriemma didn't attend this year's send-off, opting instead to meet the team at the airport.

SC (26-10) and Gonzaga (36-1) will be making their Final Four debuts when they meet in the first national semifinal Saturday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. "It had the logos all over the side of the auto and the guy checked and said, 'Coach, it was surprising to see this vehicle out at this time of the morning on this road, blah, blah, blah.' And he said, 'Just slow down a little bit".

That's the ugly reality of a single elimination tournament, but Martin made sense of why this unexpected group - his team by far and a way the most unexpected - got to Phoenix.

"They're as good as any bigs in the country", Mulkey said.

Altman took it, "as uncomfortable as all get out", assistant coach Mike Mennenga said. "There's a big difference watching a team on film then being on the court competing".

2. What does Gonzaga's breakthrough really mean?

Count Ben Boulware, a former Clemson linebacker and T.L. Hanna High product, among those beaming with state pride after the Gamecocks won the East Region to advance to its first-ever Final Four. Wilson recorded four blocks, two of which came during the crucial final 30 seconds of the game.

CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN: The Southeastern Conference fell short in its bid for multiple Final Four teams after getting three to the Elite Eight.

Frank Martin's Gamecocks have a trio of senior guards led by SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell, but their relative lack of offence (105th nationally in efficiency) could be their Achilles' heel.

That was the first of three games where the Gamecocks, who will face Gonzaga in the Final Four, showed their mettle.

"I've been there 28 years", Few said, counting his first nine seasons as an assistant.

"We kind of just stuck with the gameplan", Harris said. At 6 feet 5 inches tall, she is the most immediate threat on the floor, and other teams work so hard to contain her offense that her teammates are freed up to score more easily. "It's going to take a number of our guys.he's definitely going to be a handful". Davis' fourth field goal of the quarter, a runner from the left side, gave her 20 points and halted a brief Carolina scoring drought.

"I was on the phone with Lon Kruger last night". "This is a bigger stage".

But Martin emphasized that the experience pertained to the leadup to games, not actually playing.

"I think I did a heck of a job today", said Bell in a live televised interview immediately after the win. The winners of those games will play Sunday for the national championship. If you go the 10th time, you're nervous before that ball goes up in the air. "I don't see why they wouldn't go all the way to the championship". They're fresh on the preparation, on the things to expect, what's coming.

Few, likewise, felt half the battle for the teams is the spotlight beforehand.

"The general distraction meter is going to go out the roof", he said. "That's more important to me than whether or not we go to the Final Four, is that that character is developed in these young women, and I have an fantastic staff that helps us with that", she said.

  • Leroy Wright