Lady Gamecocks Capture Their Shining Moment

Dick Cox

April 07, 2022 at 6:12 pm.

After the South Carolina women’s basketball team suffered a heartbreaking loss in last year’s Final Four, the team dedicated themselves to doing whatever it took to bounce back this season and win the NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship. The Lady Gamecocks reached that goal by demolishing the UConn Huskies 64-49 in front of a sold-out Target Center Arena in Minneapolis, MN

The No. 1 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks jumped out to a quick 11-2 lead and never trailed on their way to the win. UConn was able to cut the lead to six points but could never come any closer.

South Carolina was 14-0 against teams that were nationally ranked in the top 25 this season and they played the toughest schedule in the nation this year. The Gamecocks capped a wire-to-wire run as the No. 1 team in the country in The Associated Press poll and finished the season with a record 35-2 record.

The Gamecocks’ Destanni Henderson scored a career-high 26 points, and Aliyah Boston added 11 points and 16 rebounds as the Gamecocks handed Geno Auriemma’s Huskies their first loss in 12 NCAA title games.

“My teammates trusted in me,” Henderson said. “I feel like since day one we’ve been putting in the hard work and waiting for this moment and tonight I just found open shots.” For her play, not just in the national championship game but throughout the tournament, Henderson was named to the 2022 NCAA All-Tournament Team.

Boston was was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, after averaging 17 points, 17 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 blocks per game in the final four. The junior All American also received numerous other post season awards including the National Player of the Year Award and the Defensive Player of the Year Award.

After the game Boston said, “It feels amazing,honestly, I’ve been thinking of this since last season because everyone had a picture of me crying at the end of the Final Four and they put it everywhere. but today we’re national champions and… happy tears. Happy tears. If you guys want a smile, here you go. And we’re national champions.” During the summer leading into this season Boston spent a week training with NBA Hall of Fame Player Tim Duncan

Last season South Carolina was a missed lay-up and missed last second put back away from playing for the national championship and the team faced another devastating end to their season.

This season the Lady Gamecocks returned their entire final four team from last season. In addition, South Carolina added the top recruiting class in the country and Kamilla Cardoso, the ACC Freshman of the Year and top transfer in the nation, to add depth and make their roster stronger. The 16 players roster was loaded with many McDonalds All Americans and talented players, so every player had to sacrifice in some way to make the teamwork. Players   had to know and buy into their rolls on the team.

In 2020 South Carolina had the best women’s team in the country. They were the unanimous number one ranked team in the country. They had won the SEC Women’s regular season and tournament championships and looked destined to win their second national championship. Then COVID appeared and the season was over. The Gamecocks by far had the best team in the country but no national title to show for it.

With number of key players from this team, including Boston, coming back next season and the addition of two McDonald’s All American players, the Gamecocks will be favorites to win it all again next season. There’s a long way to go until then, but South Carolina will have a real chance to become the first team since UConn (2013-2016) to repeat as champions.

Watch The Postgame Show Here