There’s nothing like the thrill of victory, or the agony of defeat. South Carolina found out firsthand the hard heartbreak of a crushing loss on Friday in the women’s NCAA Final Four against Stanford.
The Cardinal beat the Gamecocks 66-65 after a chaotic last few moments of play. While the lead changed hands a few times in the last three minutes, the Cardinal held possession — and the lead — in the final 10 seconds of the game, before turning the ball over to the Gamecocks in the midst of a scramble.
It seemed South Carolina had a clear path to daylight, with not one but two chances to sink the ball to take the lead and the last second victory. Sadly, it was not to be, as both the initial layup by Brea Beal and the putback attempt by Aliyah Boston fell just short as the buzzer sounded.
South Carolina was THIS CLOSE ‼️#WFinalFour pic.twitter.com/UHjaxkEKyl
— ESPN (@espn April 3, 2021
The reactions at the end, especially by Boston, really say it all as Stanford advanced to its first championship since 2009-10 at the expense of South Carolina heartbreak.
Mannnnnn :((((( pic.twitter.com/tAyhOV9ISq
— Mark (@tole_cover April 3, 2021
The support for the Boston and the Gamecocks came pouring in on social media mere moments after that final buzzer.
“You’re ok babygirl!” A’ja yelling to Aliyah Boston from the stands. Whew chileeee the emotion 💔
— Arielle (Ari Chambers (@ariivory April 3, 2021
Aliyah Boston’s face is breaking my heart. The emotion. Wow wow wow what a finish to that game
— Layshia Clarendon (@Layshiac April 3, 2021
aliyah boston didn’t deserve that ending
helluva player and were lucky as hell we get to watch her again
— Matt Ellentuck (@mellentuck April 3, 2021
Tough not to feel for Aliyah Boston. Tremendous competitor. #ncaaW
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill April 3, 2021
While the Gamecocks will be heading home, Boston and her teammates got some major support from their Cardinal competitors after the game, with hugs and words of support all around.
Nothing but respect ♥️#WFinalFour pic.twitter.com/ArWPFu11ZG
— espnW (@espnW April 3, 2021
Haley Jones with nothing but respect for Aliyah Boston after an incredible finish…#WFinalFour x @StanfordWBB pic.twitter.com/LR1XQWwBZn
— NCAA Women’s Basketball (@ncaawbb April 3, 2021
Stanford will face the winner of No. 1 UConn vs. No. 3 Arizona in the tournament final on Sunday, April 4 at 6 p.m. on ESPN.