NCAAW Final Four Preview
The Elite 8 has concluded and four teams have punched their ticket to the Final Four in Minneapolis.
The two Final Four games will feature three No. 1 seeds in their regions as well as a No. 2 seed that has been a historic program for many years.
The Final Four will hold a contest between South Carolina and Louisville which will be followed by a big matchup between the reigning champs Stanford and UConn.
Here's a look at both games and each team’s road to the Final Four.
No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks vs. No. 1 Louisville Cardinals
The Gamecocks reached their fourth Final Four under head coach Dawn Staley with a 30-point victory over Cinderella story No. 10 Creighton.
The Cardinals danced their way to their fourth appearance in the Final Four after a 62-50 victory over a gritty Michigan team.
Both teams rely heavily on their defense to propel them to victories as the Gamecocks rank No. 3 in opponents' points per game at 50.5 and the Cardinals rank No. 16 at 55.2 points per game.
The key to this game will be which team can get their offense going and put up points.
Aliyah Boston has been a catalyst for the Gamecocks all season and is in the discussion not only for Player of the Year but Defensive Player of the year as well.
She averages 16.8 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game for South Carolina and is a walking double double.
Defenses are forced to pay a lot of attention to Boston which opens up the floor for other Gamecocks’ players such as Zia Cooke and Destanni Henderson who both average over 10 points per game.
On the other side of the contest is sophomore Hailey Van Lith. She struggled in the first half of the season but has emerged as a star for the Cardinals.
Van Lith became the first Louisville player to score 20 or more points in four consecutive NCAA tournament games with 22 points in a victory over Michigan.
She averages 14.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists and much like Boston, her success draws attention from opposing defenses and opens up space for the rest of the Louisville offense.
The battle between Boston and Van Lith will be a key in this game and could determine who gets the right to play for a national title.
No. 1 Stanford Cardinal vs. No. 2 UConn Huskies
This highly anticipated matchup pins the reigning champs Stanford against the winningest program in NCAAW Tournament history, UConn.
Stanford punched its ticket with a win over Texas and UConn edged its way to the Final Four in a 2OT thriller against NC State.
Both teams are led by a trio of players who provide a unique combination of talent and make each team successful.
Starting with Stanford, they are led by its star player Cameron Brink who averages 13.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game.
She receives help from upperclassmen Haley Jones and Lexie Hull, both of whom average around 13 points per game.
This trio is very dynamic and will be the driving factor for Stanford if they want to repeat as the national champions.
UConn boasts its star Paige Bueckers who is widely considered to be one of the best players in the country when healthy. She puts up 14.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game for the Huskies.
Bueckers’ injury kept her out for most of the season, so players such as Christyn Williams and Azzi Fudd were forced to step up and they have.
This game is a must-watch as one team will find themselves playing in the National Championship game.
Thomas English is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Contributors
Second-year / Broadcast Journalism
Thomas is a broadcast journalist from Shorewood, Illinois which is an hour South of Chicago. He is a second-year student at Penn State majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Spanish. His goal is to be an ESPN broadcaster who covers a variety of sports including professional and college level football and basketball and bring entertainment to people all over the world. His other goal is to spread his love of sports to all cultures through projects that allow children of all ethnicities to learn and play all kinds of sports. He is currently an active member of CommRadio, a student run radio station at Penn State. He plans to create his own sports podcast as well as doing play by play and analysis for Penn State sporting events in the future. In the future, he hopes to use his skills to entertain people all over the world!