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Teams on defensive in Final Four today

UMass assistant coach Adam Ginsburg rooting for his old friend and South Carolina

The odds are so long to get the Final Four correct.

The Gamecocks have made it to their first ever Final Four in program history, after defeating the No. 4 Florida Gators 77-70 in the Elite Eight last Sunday. This is out of character for a team that was 19th in the country in field-goal percentage this year.

North Carolina is listed as a five-point favorite against OR with a 152-point total.

"I've always felt that experience helps to get back", SC coach Frank Martin said.

Even with all the success, if you are on the far eastern side of Washington State and play in the West Coast Conference, you must be inventive in how you recruit and how you assemble a team. The game you're playing is a game. The Gamecocks wrapped up a 6-point bomb of a second quarter and were probably anticipating head coach Dawn Staley to breathe literal fire in the locker-room at halftime. "And how you manage yourself day to day to day allows you to be prepared to succeed when the game starts". But when the game goes up, everyone's nervous. "The emotions, as I reflect on participating in the Final Fours, not being able to win a national championship, is the thing that fuels me as a coach, you know, to check that box off", Staley said Thursday.

"I've coached a lot of foreign kids".

"That is what you are always anxious about. It just is what it is".

Alanna Smith got Stanford within 53-50 with 2:10 to play, but SC scored the next five points to force a Cardinal timeout and the Gamecocks secured the victory.

The difference? Only the Gamecocks had Wilson, who finished with 13 points, 19 rebounds (including eight offensive), four assists, three blocks and two steals.

Thornwell, who is getting over the flu, has been pushed by a six-game suspension pending from an arrest for drug possession and driving on a suspended license.

"These girls are really special to me", Roberson said. "I want to stay in the game and stay dialed in". (Oddly enough, Gonzaga's Nigel Williams-Goss is No. 449 on that list.) Thornwell's WS/40 ratio increased slightly to 0.103 and 0.144 over the next two years before exploding to 0.281 as a senior. Gonzaga, which is 21-7-2 against the spread across its last 30 games, has had an unfailing edge in low-post size with C Przemek Karnowski and C Zach Collins.

A year after an embarrassing 60-point loss to mighty UConn in the Sweet 16, the Bulldogs are headed to their first national championship game.

There were no obvious signs of distress - neither awkward gait nor grimace of pain after landing on a jumper - from the ankle injuries plaguing him as the Tar Heels prepare to face OR in the Final Four. "How close we are as a team", McPhee told reporters when asked about her thoughts on this year's team at the close of the campaign. "So, we're going to have to do a tremendous job defensively to try to keep the ball out of there a little bit".

Monday's Championship will be a Carolina border war. We're in the Final Four. "I think we're just taking it one game at a time". "Now we're here for Oregon". So he was talking to me when I first got here.

"I respect the journey that they're on".

As much as I'd like to see the Cinderella team continue on their improbable journey it comes to an end at roughly 9pm Saturday. Not with Gonzaga. There's no drop-off when they go to the bench, as their 6, 7 and 8 guy are just as good as the starters.