It took double overtime to get it done, but the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team is headed to its 14th straight Final Four appearance. North Carolina State University challenged the Huskies to the final seconds in what many are calling one of the greatest games in women’s basketball. Sophomore Paige Bueckers gained momentum as the game progressed, finishing with 27 points, which is all the more incredible as she missed 19 regular season games due to injury.
While the Huskies are undoubtedly the most storied team in women’s college basketball, UConn has not won the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship since 2016. It didn’t even have the top seed in the Bridgeport Region.
Joining UConn in Minneapolis for the Final Four is the Tournament’s overall top seed University of South Carolina. The Gamecocks won the title in 2017, and head coach Dawn Staley is hungry for another victory. South Carolina dominated Creighton in its Elite Eight matchup with Aliyah Boston delivering 19 points and seven rebounds.
The other two teams heading to the Final Four are University of Louisville and Stanford University. Louisville has been a strong contender for more than a decade but has never won the NCAA title. Stanford is the defending champion. Last year, Stanford’s head coach Tara VanDerveer saw her team win the National Championship after a 29-year gap from its previous title. The semi-finals are tomorrow with South Carolina taking on Louisville and Stanford playing UConn. The National Championship game is on Sunday.
In WNIT action, Seton Hall University defeated Columbia University to move into the semi-finals. Pirates guard Lauren Park-Lane scored 29 points and Andra Espinoza-Hunter and Sidney Cooks each contributed 16. Seton Hall takes on Middle Tennessee State tonight. This brought to a close Columbia’s amazing season, which is marked with historic accomplishments, perhaps none more stunning than its come-from-behind victory last week over Boston College.
Following the Seton Hall game, Columbia head coach Megan Griffith thanked the university’s administration for supporting the team’s run in the WNIT, during which Columbia hosted three games. Tickets were free to students, and the gym was packed on Monday night.
“I don’t think it was our best tonight, and unfortunately Seton Hall got the best of us,” said Griffith.
“It’s making us hungrier for more because a lot of things we’ve done this season we’ve never done before, so we only want to get better from here. Next year, we want to be in the NCAA,” said freshmen guard Kitty Henderson.