The 2022 women’s final is set. Three topping seeds are on their way to Minneapolis. And after the double thriller action in Bridgeport, Connecticut, second seed Yukon Haskes will join the South Carolina Gamecocks, Stanford Cardinals and Louisville Cardinals in the National Semifinals.
The Husky, who knocked out the top seed NC State Wolfpack on Monday, rocked their stroke to their 14th straight final. On Sunday, South Carolina smashed Creighton on a second straight run – smashing the dreams of Cinderella Bluegis in the process – while national champion Stanford took home a win over the Texas Longhorns. Also on Monday, Louisville pulled away along the Michigan Wolverines to hit its Final Four since 2018.
Each team brings a lot of talent and interesting stories to the table. South Carolina is making its fourth appearance in seven years. As the highest-rated team from Wire to-wire AP, the Gamecocks have been the favorites to lift the trophy for most of the season. Louisville is the first seed to mold itself as a brave underdog. Stanford was the championship dominator and he’s bringing in a tremendous amount of depth. UConn is the team that has historically entered the post-season among the favorites, but this season has been a different story.
Who will lift the trophy is anyone’s guess, but the matches look great.
Final Four tips on Friday, where South Carolina plays Louisville (7PM ET, ESPN), and you’ll find Stanford vs UConn (9:30PM ET, ESPN).
UConn . Huskies
2021-22 record: 29-5
The last four posts: 21
Championships: 11 (1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
UConn’s punch remembered her to her 14th straight final with a thrilling double win 91-87 in overtime over North Carolina State. If there is one word that describes huskies’ season, it’s resilience. Dealing with a host of injuries and ailments affecting many of its key players, UConn is a far cry from those who’ve gone through a grueling Big East without playing a close match. The question is whether that flexibility is enough to land the Husky in their first championship game since 2016.
Husky dogs are led by a guard of a second-year student Big Bakers. After missing 19 games with a tibial plateau fracture and meniscus tear, the Bakers returned to their formation against North Carolina State with 27 points. It is the UConn engine. But the Huskies have also seen major contributions from the freshmen Azzi Fd and senior Kristen Williams. While their attack was mostly pressed against the Wolfpack, there were places where the huskies returned to “Watch Paige”, stacking them up.
It’s also possible for a UConn to be without a base player moving forward, like Dorca Johas He left the Elite Eight game in the second quarter with a wrist injury. Its recovery timeline is unknown, but if it isn’t available in the Final Four, UConn will miss out on a major competitor helping the Huskies stretch the ground in some way. High Edwards And the Olivia Nelson Ododa no. No doubt Juhasz’s absence will make some things more difficult for UConn, but the Huskies have battled through tough situations all season.
Unlike last season, when Huskys were favored to move into the championship game, UConn has been a bit underdog this year. This is an unfamiliar feeling in a familiar setting for this program. – Barnes
next one: v Stanford (Friday, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Geno Auriemma shares his thoughts on Paige Bueckers and UConn’s progress to their 14th straight final.
2021-22 record: 29-4
The last four posts: 4
If a team could spin an underdog story from the first seed, the Cardinal certainly did. They used “Nobody Talks About Us” as motivation for the first two weeks of the tournament. They probably won’t have to stop.
With UConn reaching their 14th consecutive Final, Stanford the defending champion and South Carolina as the all-season favorite, much of the attention heading into the Final Four will likely go elsewhere. This does not mean that Cardinals cannot afford the highest bills on a Friday night.
If they do, defense will be the driving force, just as it has been all season. On Monday, Michigan looked helpless at times against Louisville’s defense in the Wichita regional final. The Wolverines repeatedly stared at a dwindling shot clock and scored just one point in the final 6:40 of the game.
Louisville allowed more than 70 double-points the entire season. Which is why coach Jeff Wales preaches that if his insults reach 70, he gives his team a chance. Given that the Cardinal scored many goals only once in the tournament, this makes their career all the more impressive. But Louisville will need someone other than Helly Van Leith To present a consistent offense. Van Leith, who struggled in the first half of the season, is now a star. She became the first Louisville player to score at least 20 points in four consecutive NCAA Championship games with her 22 in the Elite Eight. Chelsea Hall And the Keanna Smith Both hit double digits against Wolverine, which especially helped in the first half. if Emily Engstlerwho plays quarterback in defense and does everything else (16 rebounds, six steals, four assists but only five points against Michigan), can find a stroke, reaching 70 becomes a reality once again.
However, the task is getting tougher as the nation’s best defense awaits in South Carolina. If the underdog has worked so far, then Louisville should enjoy it again. South Carolina will be favored and will get more attention. – Charlie Karim
next one: Opposite South Carolina (Friday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Gamecox South Carolina
2021-22 record: 33-2
The last four posts: 4
Championships: 1 (2017)
South Carolina returned in the Final Four, the school’s second consecutive appearance and fourth under coach Don Staley. The Gamecocks have reached the Final Four in four of the past seven seasons, and they’re one step closer to avenging last season’s loss in the National Semifinals. Throughout this year’s championship, questions surrounding South Carolina have centered on the team’s offensive. Gamecocks averaged 69.3 points in four games at March Madness, which is 1.6 less than the season average. South Carolina’s regular season averages 70.8 points and ranks 58th in the Division I, and since 2000, no National Champion has ranked outside the top 25 in scoring, according to ESPN Statistics and Information research.
If South Carolina is to buck this trend, it will be on the strength of its defense. In the second round, the Gamecocks only put together 49 points, but they kept Miami to 33. And South Carolina can be just as devastating on the boards. Against Creighton in the Elite Eight, South Carolina had 20 more boards than the Bluejays, and that translated into 15 second chance points compared to Creighton’s four.
In the end, though, how optimistic National Player of the Year High Boston Plays dictate the prospects of South Carolina. When Boston gets touching touches, they change the game for South Carolina offensively, and they make a huge impact defensively as well. That’s why she’s the only player on the shortlist for both National Women’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. How to cast support Destiny HendersonAnd the Zia CookAnd the Priya Bell And the Victoria Saxton Stepping up and taking advantage of the opportunities created by the defenses coming into Boston is likely to make a difference in the Gamecocks’ championship odds.
Sometimes the ability to win matches, no matter what form you take, is what makes a champion. And South Carolina – AP’s No. 1 wire-to-wire team this season – has proven to be winning in almost every way required. – Katie Barnes
next one: v Louisville (Friday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
2021-22 record: 32-3
The last four posts: 15th
Championships: 3 (1990, 1992, 2021)
Cameron Brink Not the reason Stanford won the National Championship last year. It could be this year. Brink changes the cardinal’s identity from match to match, even a quarter to a quarter.
A good defensive team becomes great. A versatile assortment that becomes impossible to match. This is why trainer Tara Vanderveer deals with Brink and her penchant for nasty problems with baby gloves. The coach needs a sophomore 6’4″ on the floor at the most important moments.
Sunday’s Spokane Regional Final had plenty of them, and Brink participated in most of them. After working his way up to the front at the end of the first half – Brink was on the bench for most of the second quarter with two errors – the Cardinal sprinted to start a third attack led by Brink. Her quick five points prompted Stanford to regain leadership. Minutes later, when the Texans’ dribbling leadership became more than the Cardinal’s defense could handle, VanDerveer went to a rarely used area called Longhorns to throw the ball into the post. She wanted the long centuries Lauren Ibo And the high mor To go head to head with Brink. they could not. After three blocks on the edge of a cliff, the Texans had to move on to a different plan. Brink single-handedly forced the Longhorn family to a new strategy. She scored all her 10 points in third and blocked three of her six shots as Stanford led by five in the last 10 minutes.
Brink is Stanford’s top scorer, striker, and Pac 12 defensive player of the year, but she’s mostly the 10th factor of all the X Factors. Most nights, she’s not even the Cardinal’s top player, but instead, that secret sauce VanDerveer uses to make the meal just right and doesn’t Spoil unpleasant troubles. According to Her Hoops Stats, Brink ranks third in the country in 40-minute winning shares. Brink’s 23rd place on the overall win stakes underscores how important her presence is on the field.
Anna Wilson And the Lexi Hall He can be more aggressive defensively when Brink is behind them, and defense is what turned their early season disappointment into a 23-game winning streak. Brink gives an equally unique player in Halle Jones – Point guard averaging 7.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists and was last season’s best player in the Final Four – the perfect landing spot for her outstanding passing skills.
VanDerveer generally manages the critical Brink problem, or its potential, brilliantly. In the end, there is a lot a coach can do. It’s up to Brink to stay on the field. If she does, Brink will have the toughest two-legged game–excluding Boston, South Carolina–at both ends of the field in Minneapolis, and Stanford will be in a prime position for the second consecutive championship. – generous
next one: Opposite UConn (Friday, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
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