NC State upsets Texas, advances to Final Four thanks to strong play from Aziaha James

North Carolina State is headed to the Final Four for the second time in program history after upsetting Texas 76-66 in the Elite Eight on Sunday. Texas' Maddie Booker shone in her first trip to this level of the tourney, but Aziaha James' performance served as the backbone to NC State's statement win.

Texas, the No. 1 seed, didn't play well for most of the first half. Through 17 minutes of game time, they'd scored just 22 points to NC State's 40. They were in real danger of being doubled up before two quarters had elapsed. It felt like a few more baskets could have set off a blowout.

But then Texas found a little juice. The Longhorns went on a 9-3 run to end the second quarter on a strong note, and continued to press after halftime. They managed to narrow their deficit to single digits, at 57-48, in the third, ending the quarter on an 11-6 run over the final five minutes.

James was playing at her own level during the first two quarters on Sunday, and that level was beyond what Texas was able to contain. She was simply unstoppable, scoring 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting and making all five 3-pointers she attempted. But after that white-hot start, Texas held James scoreless in the third quarter.

That's when her teammates stepped up. River Baldwin and Mimi Collins came alive in the second half. Baldwin ended the game with 16 points, and Collins with 10. James managed to score another six points before the end of the game for a career-high 27.

Texas encroached on NC State, but they couldn't close the distance. The Longhorns got as close as eight points, but NC State was just too strong. The No. 3 seed is headed to the Final Four, while the No. 1 seed is headed home.

NC State advances to face undefeated No. 1 seed South Carolina on Friday after the Gamecocks' win over Oregon State on Sunday.