South Carolina's Perfect Season Alive, Hoosiers Their Latest Test, ND, OSU Focus on Defense

South Carolina is Perfect, But Will It Be Undefeated After Hoosiers Test?

South Carolina boasts a perfect record and is four wins away from an undefeated season with its Sweet 16 matchup against Indiana. The Gamecocks are one of the hottest programs in women's college basketball, winning 105 of their last 108 games. South Carolina is seeking to join UConn (six times), Tennessee (1997-98), Baylor (2011-12), and Texas (1985-86) as the only teams to achieve a perfect season. The team is focused on staying calm and confident amidst their historic run.

Indiana, on the other hand, is motivated to upset the Gamecocks, having beaten them in the COVID-19-shortened 2019-20 season. Coach Teri Moren believes her team is playing with house money and has nothing to lose. She emphasized South Carolina's perfect record as an opportunity for the Hoosiers to pull off the upset.

Dawn Staley, the South Carolina coach, is well aware of Indiana's ability to upset her team, having mentioned that the Hoosiers' playing style is similar to the Gamecocks. She believes that Indiana is more efficient than her previous meetings. The Sweet 16 clash will be a showdown of two of the best teams in the country, with South Carolina's perfect season on the line.

Notre Dame and Oregon State Will Fight It Out on Defense

The other half of the Albany 1 Regional features two excellent defensive teams in Notre Dame and Oregon State. The Irish have held their last 10 opponents to an average of 57.5 points, while the Beavers held Nebraska to 51 points in the last round, 21 points below the Cornhuskers' season average. Talia von Oelhoffen of Oregon State believes that playing in the defensive-minded Pac-12 has prepared the Beavers for this matchup. She draws comparisons between Oregon State and UCLA, highlighting the Irish's ability to shoot and stretch the floor.

Notre Dame's freshman sensation Hannah Hidalgo has been a breakout star for the Irish, averaging just under 23 points per game. She has become the team's leader despite her young age, demonstrating her ability to lead on both ends of the court. This defensive showdown will be a low-scoring affair, with both teams focusing on shutting down their opponents.

Oregon State Will Make History as They Play Thousands of Miles from Home

Oregon State is playing in the Sweet 16 2,937 miles (4,726 kilometers) from Corvallis, Oregon, despite the NCAA having its other super regional in Portland. The Beavers traveled 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of their home to Albany. With Southern Cal and Stanford being top seeds in the Portland regionals, Oregon State is making the most of playing on the opposite coast.

Yarden Garzon of Indiana, who is from Ra'anana, Israel, approximately 14 miles (23 kilometers) north of Tel Aviv, is also focused on the game despite the war in Gaza. She acknowledges that it has been challenging to focus on basketball, but her teammates and staff have supported her. Garzon is using the platform to raise awareness about the situation in Israel with the hashtags "Bring them home" and "Pray for Gaza" on her social media.

On the other side, Indiana coach Moren relates to Garzon's situation, having previously coached Israeli international star Hen Tamiri. Moren expresses pride in Garzon for her strength and courage in representing Israel and her teammates and friends who are currently fighting.

This Sweet 16 matchup will be a clash of two tough defensive teams and a testament to the strength and resilience of two international players facing challenges far from home.

In Conclusion

This year's Sweet 16 lineup features a historic run for South Carolina, a test for Indiana, and a defensive battle between Notre Dame and Oregon State. The winners of these matchups will advance to the Elite Eight, where only the strongest teams remain. These four teams are among the best in the country, and the winners will prove they deserve a shot at the Final Four.

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