The Bulldogs improved to 37-1 heading into Monday’s final against the victor of the Oregon-North Carolina semifinal. That confidence code apparently doesn’t apply to Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss, who freely disclosed what Zach Collins had expressed Saturday before the biggest game of their careers.
Close Modal Window Hang on for a minute.we’re trying to find some more stories you might like. “We faced a really, really hot team in Xavier”. He scored, he blocked, he rebounded, he was efficient and intense.
► Why Gonzaga (36-1) will win: The Bulldogs will enjoy a significant size advantage, and they know how to use it to great effect with stifling defense and crisp interior passing.
The 2017 Final Four begins on Saturday, April 1, with Gonzaga facing SC in the early game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
With both teams playing in their first Final Four, Gonzaga looked like the team that had been there before for the the first 30 minutes of the game, riding a potent offense to a comfortable cushion.
SC guard Duane Notice said his team’s run is no surprise.
Based on the way the second half was going, it seemed highly unlikely the Gamecocks would even be in that position, having fallen behind 65-51 with just under 11 minutes remaining.
Instead of Geno Auriemma going for a fifth straight title and 12th overall with UConn, it’ll be a pair of first-time coaches in South Carolina’s Dawn Staley and Mississippi State’s Vic Schaefer. After two passes, the ball up with Thornwell.
Gonzaga shot 58 percent to the Gamecocks’ 37 percent. They outshot their opponents in every single game.
“To be playing the last game of the year is just insane cool”, said Few, who was so thrilled to be one win away from a title that he did a handstand in the locker room.
They’re ready to counter every move, especially the big one.
Gonzaga lost one game all season to enjoy the top campaign in program history while the Gamecocks overcame a poor end to the regular season with an electric tournament run that included an upset of Duke.
“It just humbled me, and I came back with a chip on my shoulder, ” he said.
Gonzaga shot 58 percent from the field in the first half and opened up a nine-point halftime lead.
Thornwell, who is getting over the flu, has been pushed by a six-game suspension pending from an arrest for drug possession and driving on a suspended license.
Kaela Davis had been exceptional in the NCAA Tournament – until Friday night.
Thornwell said Saturday he felt some fatigue in the first half, but then – as if catching himself – he added: “But that’s still not an excuse for anything”.
Sindarius Thornwell so far held in check with just 5 points on 1-of-5 shooting. If the ball does reach the paint, Chris Silva and Maik Kotsar have to play the same tight defense they did against Baylor and Florida, while avoiding whistles. So they’re always on me to show emotion after a win. “You walk in the locker room, there’s not a lot of jumping around”. The players were glassy-eyed, struggling to process what had just hit them.
Mississippi State’s 66-64 upset that snapped the Huskies’ record 111-game winning streak Friday night means a third meeting this season with SC, this time on Sunday for the title.
Here are three big takeaways from the game.
“These girls are really special to me”, Roberson said. Whenever I go to the bench he gets in, and basically our team doesn’t drop a bit.