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How the women's 2024 NCAA championship game matchup was set

CLEVELAND -- Undefeated South Carolina looked every bit the No. 1 overall seed in its dominant 19-point victory over NC State on Friday night in the women's Final Four.

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Though NC State was able to hang with South Carolina for two quarters, the Gamecocks used a third-quarter explosion to beat the Wolfpack and advance to the national championship game. With the win, South Carolina moved beyond the point where its season ended a year ago.

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The Gamecocks will face the winner of the second Final Four game, which pits No. 1 seed Iowa and Caitlin Clark against No. 3 seed UConn and Paige Bueckers (live on ESPN).

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ESPN's Katie Barnes, Charlie Creme and Jake Trotter break down how each women's Final Four game was won and look ahead to Sunday's championship matchup (3 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN App).

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ESPN's Katie Barnes, Charlie Creme and Jake Trotter break down how each women's Final Four game was won and look ahead to SuTwo words: Kamilla Cardoso. South Carolina has been balanced all year, but Friday night the Gamecocks rode Cardoso to the championship game. Cardoso led all scorers with 22 points and chipped in 11 boards.nday's championship matchup (3 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN App).

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It marked just the third time she has scored 20 points while at South Carolina. In addition to the individual scoring effort from Cardoso, the Gamecocks exploded for a 29-6 run over the third quarter to put NC State away. -- Katie Barnes

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The victory margin was somewhat surprising, but the biggest takeaway was just how clinical South Carolina was in the third quarter.

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It was a lesson in shot selection (60% shooting), defensive execution (NC State made one field goal and had four turnovers) and rebounding (15-5 advantage).

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Giving up second-half leads has been the biggest issue for the Gamecocks late in the season.

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Tennessee, Indiana and Oregon State all made runs to make games tense late. The Gamecocks' third quarter was so good, so dominant that there was no way NC State could come back.

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