akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

ALBANY, NEW YORK — From being ignominiously ignored during the most crucial moment during last season’s heart-wrenching end to their championship dreams, South Carolina guard Raven Johnson continued her redemption tour with a couple of unforgettable shots to keep this year’s drive to a title on go.

Johnson’s three-pointer with just under a minute remaining provided enough of a cushion for the No. 1 overall seed Gamecocks to see off a furious comeback from No. 4 Indiana, defeating the Hoosiers 79-75 to advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Women’s Tournament inside MVP Arena in Albany on Friday afternoon. Johnson ended the game with 14 points, six assists and five rebounds, while making all three of her three-point attempts.

That last stat is most significant after the Gamecocks’ run at an undefeated season and national title was upended in the Final Four at the hands of Iowa, with Caitlin Clark’s dismissive waves towards Johnson, who stood above the three-point arc with the ball in hand multiple times in the game, garnering the most attention from that game outside of its result. That prompted a dedication to shooting in the offseason for Johnson to make sure that she would not be viewed as a liability again, and the work paid off handsomely with the season on the line.

Indiana had cut a 22-point deficit to two, 74-72 with just over a minute remaining on a layup by Mackenzie Holmes when the Gamecocks called time out. Afterward, South Carolina ran a two-man game with Johnson and center Kamilla Cardoso, who led the Gamecocks with 22 points and went 10-of-12 from the floor. Johnson fed a pass to Cardoso in the post, and when the latter was doubled, she kicked it back to the wide-open Johnson, who nailed her third three to ice the game.

“I was open, and all I could think was, let it go,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to lose. Just going from last year. Nobody can sag off me this year, and I take that very personal. And I get in the gym every day and put up reps and I think that’s where it comes from, the confidence.”

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Thursday evening’s game, with photos taken by ALOST staff photographer Scotty Rausenberger. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 26 pictures in total.

Facebook Comments Box
Tags : Atlantic Coast ConferenceBig Ten ConferenceIndiana HoosiersNCAA TournamentNotre Dame Fighting IrishOregon State BeaversPac-12 ConferenceSouth Carolina GamecocksSoutheastern Conference

Leave a Response