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South Carolina defeats UConn to win NCAA women’s basketball title




CNN

The South Carolina Gamecocks won their second national championship in five years on Sunday after beating the Connecticut Huskies 64-49.

The name of Sunday’s game was defense and offensive rebounds for the Gamecocks, who controlled the game from the start with a 13-2 lead in the first six minutes of the game. It was the fewest points the Huskies had scored in a quarter this season.

The Gamecocks outshot the Huskies 49-24 in the win.

The Huskies went on a two-point run – 9-0 in the second quarter and 10-0 in the third – but the Gamecocks held their lead throughout the game.

South Carolina guard Destanni Henderson and forward Aliyah Boston were the stars of Sunday’s game. Henderson finished the game with 26 points and Boston with 11.

“I’ve been thinking about it since last season everyone had a picture of me crying. But today we’re national champions and I’m in tears,” Boston said, referring to the Final loss. Four last year against Stanford.

Gamecock’s defense held off the star trio of Huskies guards — Paige Bueckers, Christyn Williams and Azzi Fudd. Williams and Fudd didn’t score until late in the fourth quarter, and Bueckers finished the game with 14 points.

“I know our players were exhausted, but they were determined to be champions today,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said.

UConn was 11-0 in national championship games heading into Sunday, all of which were led by head coach Geno Auriemma.

Sunday’s title match was a rematch. South Carolina beat UConn 73-57 in November at Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, relying on 22 points from Boston and a stifling defense that held the Huskies to just 3 points in the fourth quarter.

UConn, the premier women’s basketball program in nearly three decades, finds itself in the odd underdog position. Seeded 2 in the tournament, UConn had 11 starting rosters this season due to a mix of injuries and Covid illnesses.

Still, UConn reached the Final Four by edging out 1-seeded NC State in an epic 91-87 double-overtime victory, the first time in NCAA women’s tournament history, a game in the Elite Eight. or beyond required a double extension. They followed that up with a 63-58 victory over another 1 seed at Stanford on Friday night to reach the title match.

South Carolina is the highest-ranked team since preseason and is 34-2 on the year, with each of its losses being by 2 points or less.

The Gamecocks reached the Final Four by beating 10th-seeded Creighton 80-50 and then dropping 1st-seeded Louisville 72-59 on Friday to reach the title game. In the win over Louisville, Boston and its pink and purple braids scored 23 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, the 29th double-double of its stellar season.

It was UConn’s 14th consecutive appearance in the Final Four since 2007.

South Carolina has made the Sweet 16 every year since 2014 and won their first national championship in 2017. They were the highest-ranked team in the nation in 2020 when the tournament was canceled due to Covid-19 and the last year lost in the Final Four.

Both teams last played in the NCAA Tournament in 2018, when UConn beat South Carolina 94-65 to advance to the Final Four.

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