And then there were two. South Carolina and UConn. The Gamecocks and the Huskies. The two will meet in a rematch tonight at the Target Center in Minneapolis to see who claims the crown in the women’s national championship game.
Women’s National Championship Preview
2 Seed Connecticut Huskies
The fact that UConn getting here is somewhat of an “upset” is funny to think about given who they are. They are a perfect 11-0 in title games but are an underdog here. The Huskies are a two-seed. However, they have been playing like a one down the stretch this season. They gave Stanford plenty of chances to come back and win the game in the semifinals on Friday night but were able to hold off the Cardinal. UConn was still able to pull out the win. They are peaking at the right time.
The key to Connecticut’s late-season surge has been their star sophomore Paige Bueckers. Last year’s national player of the year missed 19 games this season after having surgery on her left knee. But she has been back and playing like the “Paige Buckets” we’re used to. She is averaging 18.7 points per game over the last three games. Christyn Williams has been really good and scoring a lot. Their two forwards Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Aaliyah Edwards have been dominant too. If they can cut down on the turnovers from the Stanford game (They committed 19 of them which gave Stanford the chance to come back.), then they can be crowned champions once again.
1 Seed South Carolina Gamecocks
South Carolina is the number one overall seed. They went wire-to-wire as the number one team in the AP Poll. They have been so dominant all year long. They also beat UConn already back in November in the first-ever Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis championship game. The Gamecocks controlled that game the whole way, winning by 16 and also outrebounding the Huskies by 17. But on Sunday they will be playing a very different team than the one they played a few months ago.
National Player Of The Year Aliyah Boston was incredible in the semis against Louisville on Friday. She racked up a massive double-double with 23 points and 18 rebounds. She has had an incredible run in this tournament. She has had a double-double in 4 of their 5 games and has scored 19 or more points in each of the past three. Boston is averaging 18 points and 15 rebounds per game in the big dance so far. The whole team looked great all night on Friday night and, despite a very well-played game from Louisville, were able to beat the Cardinals by 13. Zia Cooke and Destanni Henderson went a combined 5-11 from the three-point range. Victaria Saxton has been dominant on the glass, averaging 9.8 rebounds per game in the five tournament games including three double-digit rebound games.
Both of these two teams are incredibly talented. They would not have been able to get here otherwise. This should be a really good game. The face-off between perhaps the two best players in the country in Paige Buckers and Aliyah Boston and their teams will be great. But in the end, I think that South Carolina has just been too good and will win their second women’s national championship in school history.
Predicted Women’s National Champion: South Carolina Gamecocks
Game Time: 8:00 P.M. ET Sunday, April 3rd
Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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