The road ends here: The South Carolina Gamecocks will take on UConn, the Goliath of women’s college basketball, for a chance at their second national championship tonight.
Second-seeded Connecticut has largely rolled through the tournament to get here, handling 15 seed Mercer, 7th-seeded UCF, third-seeded Indiana, prevailing in a double-overtime thriller against No. 1 N.C. State, and eliminating No. 1 Stanford, the defending national champion.
The Huskies are also enjoying the return of a healthy Paige Bueckers, who starred while powering UConn past the Cardinal and came up huge in the overtime periods against the Wolfpack. Notably, though, UConn lost forward Dorka Jurhasz to a wrist injury in the Final Four.
Both teams will bring stifling defenses to the court, as the Gamecocks continue to lead the country in scoring defense (50.5 points per game, and just 44.8 in the NCAA Tournament), and the Huskies are yielding 54.7 per game, and with the N.C. State game as the only exception, they haven’t allowed a 60-point game since early February. And, of course, South Carolina can counter Bueckers with national consensus player of the year Aliyah Boston.
The Gamecocks and Huskies have met 11 times previously, with UConn holding a commanding 9-2 series lead. But South Carolina has won two out of the past three matchups, with the most recent coming earlier this season, 73-57, in the Battle 4 Atlantis. This is also the second time the teams have linked up in the NCAA Tournament, with UConn winning the 2018 battle in a regional final.
Tip off is at 8 p.m. on ESPN.