Breaking down the Womens Final Four

PHOTO CREDIT: Travis Ellison/MyMindOnSports
Breaking down the Womens Final Four

We’re down to the last four teams for a chance to play for a National Championship. There’s  South Carolina, Stanford, Connecticut and Mississippi State. Uconn remains the heavy favorite to win its fifth consecutive championship and 12th overall as they enter currently on an 111 game winning streak, but this year’s group might face the toughest challenge of any of their previous final four teams.

No. 1 South Carolina (31-4) vs. No. 2. Stanford (32-5) 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

In years past Stanford has been lead by All-American leading scorers like Candice Wiggins, and Nnemkadi Ogwumike. They may not have that kind of “elite” scorer this season, but they do have balanced scoring between Senior forward Erica McCall (14.4 points), Junior center Brittany McPhee (13.4 points) and Senior wing Karlie Samuelson (12.8 points). Six different players have led Stanford in scoring in a game this season. Karlie Samuels hit five three-pointers last week in the Elite 8 against Notre Dame. They rallied from 16 down in the second half against Notre Dame and have been down by at least seven points and come back to win six times this season, including five of its last six games overall.

South Carolina is led by All-America forward and Player of the Year candidate A’Ja Wilson, who is averaging 19.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.6 blocks since the start of the SEC Tournament. Wilson is arguably the most dominant player on the floor and if she stays out of foul trouble, which she did not do against Florida Stat, she will be a key factor that will help the Gamecocks. Forward Kaela Davis, the daughter of longtime NBA player Antonio Davis and a transfer from Georgia Tech has carried the Gamecocks offensively the past four games. She has had three straight 20-point games including 23 points in the Elite 8 against Florida State. The Seminoles did get the deficit to down to just three points in the closing moments,  but Davis closed it out wth clutch rebounds and steals down the stretch as they won 71-64.

GAME 2 No. 1 Connecticut (36-0) vs. No. 2 Mississippi State (33-4) 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2

The Bulldogs might be the only other team that can score enough to keep up with Connecticut averaging nearly 93 points in the NCAA tournament. This includes a 94-85 overtime win against No. 1 seed Baylor that earned the Bulldogs their first trip to the Final Four Led by Guard Morgan William. The diminutive guard scored 41 points in that game and could be big trouble for the Huskies. The Bulldogs also have an interior size advantage with center Teaira McCowan who doesn’t start, but can affect the game off the bench averaging seven rebounds a game. She is bigger than any UConn player at 6-7 and if she draws double teams in the post, it allows her to get the ball to open shooters when doubled such guards Victoria Vivians, and William.

The Huskies arrive in Dallas as the overwhelming favorite to win their fifth consecutive National Title, currently on an 111-game winning streak. Despite replacing three starters from last year’s championship team the Huskies are still deep offensively, four starters are averaging in double figures with Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson both averaging more than 20 points per game apiece. Uconn is led by Collier, who is averaging 20.6 points and 9.1 rebounds, shooting 68.9% which is second-best in the nation. The reining champs have averaged 96.5 points per game during the tournament scoring at will on offense, but they also have been a great defensive team only allowing 62.3 points per game. Winning by an average margin of 28.0 points per game.

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