Scotty Rausenberger/ALOST

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

ALBANY, NEW YORK — What’s new is actually old again, and head coach Dawn Staley now has South Carolina, a team with a completely brand new starting five going into this season, in the same exact position for a second consecutive year: undefeated, and back in the Final Four.

Tessa Johnson scored 15 points off the bench while Kamilla Cardoso had 12 points and nine rebounds to lead the Gamecocks, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, to a 70-58 victory over No. 3 Oregon State inside MVP Arena in Albany to reach their fourth consecutive Final Four.Two more wins on the year and South Carolina would become the 10th D-1 team to finish undefeated, something it came close to last season before being upended by Iowa in the national semifinals.

After that game, South Carolina entered a new chapter without any of its starting five, but that has yet to slow down a program that now is the standard bearer in women’s college basketball.

“[I’m] just proud because we beat the odds. The odds said that we shouldn’t make it back to the Final Four,” Staley said. “[I’m] just proud of our team and for them believing in themselves. They created a certain level of chemistry and culture and they stuck with it. And they allowed us to coach them.”

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Sunday’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 25 pictures in total.

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Tags : NCAA TournamentOregon State BeaversPac-12 ConferenceSouth Carolina GamecocksSoutheastern Conference

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