BOULDER, Colo. — Senior Monica Engelman scored a career-high 27 points and Kansas became just the second No. 12 seed to advance to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament with a 75-69 upset of fourth-seeded South Carolina on Monday night.
Angel Goodrich added 20 points for the Jayhawks (20-13), who joined San Francisco in 1996 as the only No. 12 seeds to follow up a win in the opening round with another in the second.
South Carolina (25-8) was denied in its quest for its 26th win, which would have been the program’s most since joining the Southeastern Conference in 1991-92.
Instead, it’s Kansas, which lost seven of its last 11 games before the tournament.
Ashley Bruner and former Goose Creek standout Aleighsa Welch each scored 16 points for the Gamecocks.
Bruner’s bucket with 2:52 left tied it at 69, but South Carolina didn’t score again.
The Gamecocks came in allowing just 49.5 points a game and only four teams had reached 60 against them, but the Jayhawks made it five as the first meeting between the schools was an instant classic.
Goodrich’s four-point play capped a 9-2 run that gave the Jayhawks their biggest lead to that point at 59-52 with 12½ minutes left.
The Gamecocks scored the next seven points to tie it up before Engelman sank a jumper and then a layup.
Kansas center Carolyn Davis limped off the court, favoring her left leg, after picking up her fourth foul with 6:40 left. Welch sank both free throws to tie it at 65.
It was 67-all when Davis returned with 3:50 remaining. She quickly denied Bruner’s jumper, and her bucket with 2:30 left put Kansas ahead for good at 71-69.
Chelsea Gardner’s free throw made it 72-69, and after several chances, the Gamecocks came up empty when Bruner missed two free throws with 1:17 left.
Iseasia Walker missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it with less than a half-minute remaining and Kansas sealed the win at the free throw line.
Engelman had 18 points — double her average — by halftime.