South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from demolition of North Carolina Tar Heels

South Carolina basketball destroyed the North Carolina Tar Heels to advance to their 10th Sweet Sixteen in a row.

South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley and point guard Raven Johnson
South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley and point guard Raven Johnson / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley was not happy with her team's effort when they played the North Carolina Tar Heels back in November. Though the Gamecocks won, they trailed late in that game and were outrebounded, just one of two times that happened all season. USC's struggle with their rival had some wondering if North Carolina had a chance to make things interesting on Sunday when the two teams matched up in the NCAA Tournament.

There would be no such struggle for the Gamecocks in this one.

Carolina dominated in nearly unbelievable fashion, obliterating UNC in almost every statistical category en route to the 88-41 victory. Some of the most impressive numbers from the team box score included the Gamecocks' 21-rebound advantage, their defense that held UNC to 23.8%/16.7% shooting splits, and their 51-0 win in bench points.

The Gamecocks outscored the Tar Heels at every level: they won in the paint 38-18, from the free throw line 15-8, from the 3-point arc 27-9, and even from midrange 8-6. Their defense caused severe problems for North Carolina as they held their top-3 offensive players (Deja Kelly, Alyssa Ustby, and Lexi Donarski to a combined 8-46 performance as they scored just 26 total points, turned the ball over 12 times, fouled 9 times, and had just one fewer missed shot than the entire South Carolina basketball team.

MiLaysia Fulwiley stood out in the game, dropping 20 easy points on the Tar Heels in 22 minutes. She also pulled down 9 rebounds, swatted 3 shots, and had 3 steals. Fellow freshman Tessa Johnson was another one of the five Gamecocks in double-figures, along with Kamilla Cardoso, Chloe Kitts, and Ashlyn Watkins.

Cardoso had a double-double, and Te-Hina Paopao and Raven Johnson had nice games without scoring much. Bree Hall came back from her one-game absence but didn't have to play much as no Gamecock saw more than 26 minutes of action.

USC led by as many as 51 before Deja Kelly and Alyssa Ustby boosted their scoring numbers with cheap buckets in the waning moments. In the end, though, a 47-point victory over a rival to advance to the Sweet Sixteen is not too shabby. The Gamecocks will play against the winner Oklahoma and Indiana in Albany, New York on Friday.

441. South Carolina Basketball vs. North Carolina Tar Heels. 88. 533. Final. 41

BOX SCORE