North Carolina vs. Gonzaga FREE LIVESTREAM | NCAA championship

SC coach Dawn Staley cuts down the net as she and the team celebrate their win over Mississippi State in the final of the NCAA women's college basketball tournament April 2, 2017, in Dallas.

In an SEC showdown very few expected, SC pulled away and won their first NCAA national championship with a 67-55 victory over Mississippi State.

Head coach Dawn Staley, who made the Final Four three times as a player but never won a title, showed plenty of emotion after the win. She also scored consecutive baskets in the fourth quarter to help the Gamecocks maintain an eight-point lead with just under five minutes left.

The victory in front of a sellout crowd came one day after the Gamecocks men's basketball team lost in the Final Four in Glendale, Arizona.

Williams-Goss, a second-team All-American, led the Bulldogs to a 14-point lead in the second half but it disappeared quickly as the Gamecocks (26-11) went on a 14-point run to grab a 67-65 lead with 7:06 to play.

In Gonzaga's 77-73 win over SC in the Final Four on Saturday, the Bulldogs held a 22-14 advantage in bench points. It was one of two opportunities that I saw women play when I was younger - national championship games and Olympics. She scored 18 points for her team while A'ja Wilson had an outstanding 19 rebounds. SC won 67-55. Bulldogs junior guard Morgan William was the story of the tournament coming into the game.

Gonzaga controlled the first half, making 20-of-34 field goals, but couldn't break away as the Gamecocks made some timely shots and only turned it over four times. If someone told before the game she won't score, I'd say we're in trouble. Even some of them talked about everything this team was able to do, finally breaking through after so many years of March heartache.

The Mississippi State miracle finished a little short.

The Bulldogs couldn't solve SC, falling to the Gamecocks for the third time this season and the 11th-consecutive time overall.

Stanford is back in the Final Four for the first time in four seasons, having to overcome a 16-point deficit after halftime against Notre Dame to win the Lexington Regional final.

Stat of the game: SC dominated inside all night, outscoring Mississippi State 42-20 in the paint.

"As soon as that buzzer hit I knew what was at stake, I knew what we now have the opportunity to do and I couldn't be more excited", he said.

SC grabbed a 31-18 lead out of the gate and turned back the Bulldogs every time, even as they closed to four points in the second half.

SC still managed to make a 16-point run to catch the Zags in the second half.

When the moment mattered most, it was the pair of Wilson and Gray that proved to be the difference as the duo hit back-to-back hoops after the Bulldogs cut the lead to 4 in the fourth quarter.

"We all kind of came together. These kids believed and then they made it happen". "But it's not defining our season", Bulldogs coach Vic Schaefer said.

"I think to be so close for us is a temporarily crushing blow right now". Obviously we've had some hard times dealing with them.

  • Julie Sanders