NCAA Women’s Basketball
Even before the University of Tennessee‘s Pat Summit retired from coaching the Lady Vols, Geno Auriemma and his University of Connecticut Huskies have dominated the competition. Earlier this week after their Sweet 16 win, Auriemma commented about this tweet by Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy:
UConn Women beat Miss St. 98-38 in NCAA tourney. Hate to punish them for being great, but they are killing women's game. Watch? No thanks
— Dan Shaughnessy (@Dan_Shaughnessy) March 26, 2016
Even though I disagree with Shaughnessy, the combination of his tweet and Auriemma’s reaction generated conversation and debate among fans, increasing national interest going into the four regional final (Elite Eight) matchups.
In the Bridgeport regional final, UConn remained undefeated with an 86-65 win over the Texas Longhorns, advancing to their ninth straight Final Four.
UConn would then play the winner of the Dallas regional final between the Baylor Bears and Oregon State Beavers. Baylor was favored going into the game but has faltered at the Elite Eight in previous seasons. Oregon State started the game hot, Baylor came back but the Beavers earn their first Final Four appearance with a 60-57 win.
The Sioux Falls regional final between the 7-seeded Tennessee Lady Volunteers and Syracuse Orange couldn’t have any more varying histories. Summitt-led Tennessee teams have made many Final Four appearances and have won national championships, but this season’s team was not a powerhouse. Syracuse heading into the game never made it to the Final Four, but were favored in this game versus Tennessee. The Orange defeated the Lady Vols 89-67 and would face the winner of the Lexington regional final.
The Lexington regional final between Stanford and Washington guaranteed two Pac-12 teams in the Final Four with Oregon State‘s Elite Eight victory. Stanford has been a strong team in recent years, but Washington, a 7-seed in their region, can make a statement with an upset over their conference foe. The game was close for most of the time, but the Huskies defeat the Cardinal 85-76.
Final Four Matchups
(1)UConn vs. (2)Oregon St.
(4)Syracuse vs. (7)Washington
Can one of these three first-timers pull the ultimate upset over the dynasty in Connecticut?
Photo credit to Scott U. via Flickr.