Via Instagram @gamecockwbb

The reigning national champions blew past USF in the second half Sunday for a 76-45 win to make it to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament for the ninth straight year. On March 25, the Lady Gamecocks will play the winner of Monday night’s contest between UCLA and Oklahoma.  In other basketball news in the men’s tournament, Furman got knocked out of March Madness with a Saturday loss to San Diego State. And here’s a look back at the College of Charleston’s winning season.

CP OPINION, Brack: Hoping for tipping point on S.C. House craziness

“Maybe the week that members of the S.C. House discussed the state’s $14 billion budget will be remembered as a tipping point for traditional Republicans. Maybe they now have become so sick and tired of the uber-right S.C. Freedom Caucus that they’ll start doing more to shut down the nuttiness. … And then there was a new level of crazy that hit the fan with news reports about one caucus member’s bill to punish S.C. women who get abortions with the death penalty. Yes, you read that right.”

In other headlines:

Haley, Scott vie for S.C.’s GOP voters.  Former S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, a GOP presidential candidate, and another homegrown potential candidate, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, are vying for state supporters, as evidenced during a weekend conservative forum in North Charleston.  Some Republican voters also are moving away from former President Donald Trump, according to The State, who is widely predicting his own indictment this week. S.C.’s other Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, says that would help Trump.

Teen’s body to be exhumed after Murdaugh verdict. Renewed scrutiny after the Murdaugh murder case has led to an effort by the family of a 19-year-old found dead in 2015 to be exhumed for a private autopsy, the family said. Meanwhile, the prosecutor in the Murdaugh trial is describing him as a “family annihilator.”

Former congressman dies at 86.  Former U.S. Rep. John Jenrette, a Grand Strand Democrat who spent time in prison following the Abscam scandal, died Friday at age 86.

WEEK IN REVIEW: House passes $14B budget, more. A look back at last week as the S.C. House passed a $14 billion state budget, lawmakers want to fire Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom over a $3.5 billion accounting error and more.

S.C. lawmakers eye port, rail issues this week in Charleston. State lawmakers are planning two meetings in the coming week to discuss the underused port facility at the Leatherman Terminal on the Cooper River and railroad transportation safety following train derailments across the country.

School of the Arts Symphony takes national title. The Charleston School of the Arts symphony took home a national title Thursday by winning first place in the School of the Arts Sinfonietta.

James Island to protect grand trees. The town says it will take extra steps to preserve grand oak trees.

Charleston Co. deputies warn of scam on bail. Scammers impersonating Charleston County deputies are trying to trick people to pay to get their loved ones out of jail. Beware, deputies emphasized.

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