Aziaha James leads NC State past Texas in Final Four with 7 3s; mismatched 3-point lines.

Portland, Oregon — On a court with mismatched 3-point lines, Aziaha James hit everything. James scored 27 points and made a career-high seven 3-pointers as third-seeded North Carolina State defeated top-seeded Texas 76-66 on Sunday in a game with 3-point lines at different distances on opposite ends of the court.

River Baldwin scored 16 points for N.C. State (31-6), which will play unbeaten South Carolina in the national semifinals in Cleveland on Friday. Sunday's Gamecock win over Oregon State in Albany, New York. James laughed when asked if she cared about perimeter markers.

The Longhorns (33-5), seeking their first Final Four since 2003, were led by Big 12 Player of the Year Madison Booker and Southern California's JuJu Watkins, who each scored 17 points. Vic Schaefer of Texas and Wes Moore of N.C. State discussed an obvious 3-point line variance with officials before the Portland 4 Region final. One appeared too close to the top-key basket.

The NCAA claimed both coaches consented to play despite a disparity. No one mentioned the matter during four previous Portland games. The NCAA says the court will be fixed before USC-UConn's Elite Eight game on Monday.

Schaefer said the difference was “about a foot.” “How do you think it was related to the game? “Probably not,” he responded. James hit 7 of 9 3s. The players were not informed of the discrepancy before the game, she claimed. “I just let the game come to me, and it went well,” she remarked.

Texas pulled within 54-48 on DeYona Gaston's third-quarter jumper after N.C. State led by 18 points in the first half. James' 3-pointer put the Wolfpack up nine headed into the fourth. Booker's three-point shot pulled Texas within 63-55. Texas maintained pressing with Taylor Jones' three-point play to cut the lead to 65-58 with 4:41 left. Another James 3 thwarted Texas.

Baldwin's jumper at 1:50 left made it 72-62 for the Wolfpack. Fans behind the bench cheered when James entered a timeout with her arms raised with 28 seconds left. “Everybody doubted us,” James remarked as her teammates rejoiced. We're heading to the Final Four despite not being ranked before the season.

In its sole Final Four appearance, Louisiana Tech defeated N.C. State. After the loss, coach Moore stated, “I didn’t know if I’d ever get an other chance.” Texas won its only national title in 1986, winning 34-0. Legendary coach Jody Conradt last led the club to the Final Four 21 years ago.

Booker said the Longhorns showed tenacity after junior point guard Rori Harmon tore his ACL in December. Booker added, “People go down and say, ‘They're not winning in the Big 12, they're not winning this many games, they're not making the Final Four, they're not making it this far, they're not a No. 1 seed. The fight continued. We persevered and convinced you.”

N.C. State led 19-14 after James scored 10 points in the first quarter. Wolfpack went ahead 40-22. Texas' Gisella Maul 3-pointer at halftime cut the Longhorns' lead to 43-31. Schaefer remarked, “We outrebounded them, 14 on offensive boards, 13 overall, and we got 20 more shots than them. “We struggled defensively in the first half. Disappointed, we are. That locker room is hard.”

View for more updates