TIFFANY MITCHELL drove to the basket and scored with 4.2 seconds left and South Carolina edged North Carolina, 67-65, last night in the Greensboro (N.C.) Regional in the NCAA Tournament's round of 16.
Mitchell finished with 18 points for the No. 1-seeded Gamecocks (33-2), who had to fight the entire way to push past UNC in a rematch of last year's Sweet 16 game and advance to the regional final.
Alaina Coates also scored 18 points, including two key free throws for the lead with 46.1 seconds to go. Then Mitchell, the Southeastern Conference player of the year, answered a tying basket from Jessica Washington in the final minute by driving past Brittany Rountree for what turned out to be the winning score.
Fourth-seeded UNC (26-9) had one more chance, but freshman Jamie Cherry's desperation runner hit all backboard as the horn sounded, sending the Gamecocks into an oncourt celebration.
South Carolina had reached the Elite Eight only once before, losing to Duke in 2002. Now Dawn Staley's Gamecocks are back to face the Arizona State-Florida State winner tomorrow at noon to go to the Final Four.
Latifah Coleman scored 15 for North Carolina.
Sune Agbuke had a career-high 23 points and Baylor advanced to the Elite Eight for the fifth time in 6 years with an 81-66 win over Iowa.
Nina Davis added 20 points for the No. 2-seed Lady Bears (33-3), who will face the Stanford-Notre Dame winner tomorrow.