Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Destiny Henderson, the youngest player on the court, tops Yukon for the South Carolina title

Destiny Henderson, the youngest player on the court, tops Yukon for the South Carolina title

Aliyah Boston lifted the trophy for Most Outstanding Player but it was Destani Henderson who stole the show.

Henderson, the shortest player on the court, scored 26 points to lead top-ranked South Carolina to 18,304 on Monday night in goal center for a 64-49 win over Connecticut in the NCAA Women’s Basketball title. .

Yes, Boston achieved a game-high 16 rebounds and scored 11 points and 23 points and 18 rebounds to follow in a top-ranked Gamecock’s 72-59 victory over Louisville in the semifinals. But when it was announced that Boston, and Henderson, would not win mop honors in the women’s Final Four, mad South Carolina fans were more moan than cheer.

The ultra-quick Henderson started the game by playing excellent defense on the Huskies star guard and Hopkins High School graduate Page Buyers, who were kept scoreless in the first period and did not score their team’s first two-high 14 points. Until 8:35 is left in the second period. Later, Henderson scored three points late in the third period and 10 points in the fourth period, as Gamecock (35–2) pulled away from a 43–37 lead.

“My teammates trusted me. …and just got open shots tonight,” said Henderson, who shot 9 out of 20, including 3 out of 6 from three-point range. “I knew I had to use my pace (at the Buickers) and make sure I keep up with that. … and today we are the national champions.”

Buyers, his dream of winning a national title in his home state was shattered, he had to fight back in tears after the game. It marked the first time that the fifth-ranked Husky (30–6), who has won a record 11 national titles, has lost a championship game.

“It was wonderful to just be here with my team and spend more time with each other, make more memories and be able to do it at home,” Bukers said. “I mean, no one in my position would be happy right now, so I’m obviously upset with the way things ended.

“This team is very proud of how far we have come and all the adversities we have faced and overcome to reach this point. But in Yukon, it’s the national championships or nothing, so obviously upset, disappointed, disappointed.

Gamecock, under head coach Don Staley, won their second championship, the first coming in 2017. He dominated most of the game, amassing 18 points in the second period and over 16 in the fourth period.

1 to enter last year’s Last Four, but suffered a 66–65 loss to Stanford in the semi-finals. They came in determined to make up for it.

“I’ve been thinking about it from last season because at the end of Final Four everybody had a picture of me crying, but today we’re the national champions,” said Boston.

With many thanks for moving to Boston, South Carolina crushed the Huskies on the board, 49-34. And almost everyone on Gamecock played strong defense as Connecticut shot 22 of 54 for 40.7 percent off the field and had 15 turnovers.

“We weren’t being denied,” Staley said. “We were going to play every possession as if it were our last. I know our players are very tired, but they were determined to be champions today.”

Gamecock wasted no time in its quest to hoist the championship trophy. He took a 17-4 lead at the end of the first period and extended it to 22-8.

“In the first five minutes I thought they came out and set the tone for how the game was going to be played,” said Huskies coach Geno Auriemma.

It eventually became even more one-sided as Gamecock went 30-12. But the Huskies came back, closing the period with a 15-5 pace to reduce the deficit to 35-27 at halftime. It helped that the Buyers eventually went ahead, scoring nine points in the period.

Boston could score only five points in the first half. But Gamecocks looked for other places for their scoring, with Henderson scoring 11 points in the half while shooting 3-of-3 from a three-point boundary, and guard Gia Cook scoring eight of her 11 points.

In the third period, Gamecock went ahead with a 43–27 lead, but the Huskies came again. They went 10–0 and cut the deficit to 43–37 three-pointers by Caroline Ducharm, with 2:03 in the period and 1:33 by Evina Westbrook in the period.

But Henderson stepped up again. He made a free throw and then drove for a layup to give Gamecock a 46-37 lead at the end of the period.

Then he actually took over. When she was getting her 10 points, most South Carolina fans stood by for a fourth period.

“I just stay positive,” Henderson said. “My teammates believed in me.”

When it was over, confetti rained down on Gamecock as they were presented with the championship trophy. While standing on the winning podium, Boston greeted women’s basketball star Candice Parker, who was in the stands. Boston later said that she had never met Parker, but was excited when she saw him here.

After the last buzzer the Husky slowly went back to the locker room. It was a very different feeling for Aurimma as compared to the previous championship games.

“Obviously, when you play a game like this and you don’t win, it’s extremely difficult,” he said. “I’ve been in the other locker room several times, so I know how that feels. … I think they deserved it 100 percent. They were the best team all year. … We got to get me here Proud of the guys, we just didn’t have enough tonight. They were so nice to us.”

Actually, there were Gamecocks. He defeated the Huskies 73-57 in the Bahamas’ warm-up last November. And on Monday he repeated the feat when it was cold outside in the Twin Cities.

“Our team fought champions throughout the season,” Staley said.

Nation World News Desk
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