Women’s Basketball Final Four: A Lesson in Staying Power

  • Share
  • Read Later

REUTERS/Mike Stone

Feeling bad about your NCAA bracket being busted up? Maybe you should have filled out a women’s bracket too. Where predictability is more in line with the norm, traditional powers start clashing at the Final Four—right where we are now.

It isn’t uncommon to have a bevy of No. 1 seeds reach the Final Four in the women’s game, and this year isn’t much different. With two No. 1 seeds—maybe you’ve heard of Connecticut and Stanford—and a pair of No. 2s—Notre Dame and Texas A&M knocked off Tennessee and Baylor, respectively—the national semifinals in Indianapolis starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday will pit tradition against each other. Then, Tuesday we’ll crown a champion.

(More on TIME.com: See pictures of eccentric college mascots)

Top-seeded Connecticut (36-1) will aim for its third straight national championship, but will need to get by second-seeded Notre Dame (30-7) first. Both in the same Big East Conference, the Huskies have defeated the Irish three times already this year by an average margin of 11.

Expect Connecticut’s Maya Moore, a four-time All-American at the small forward position, to be a focal point of Geno Auriemma’s offense, especially considering she dropped 31 points on Notre Dame the first time the teams met. She will look to shine brighter than Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, a guard also named to the All-American team.

On the other side of the bracket, Stanford (33-2), the only team to beat Connecticut this season, faces Texas A&M (31-5). The Aggies boast Danielle Adams, a 6-1 post player dominant on the inside, the focal point of coach Gary Blair’s entire offense. But Stanford is no slouch down low either. Or anywhere else, for that matter. Whether versatile Kayla Pederson, post player Nnemkadi Ogwumike—who is leading the team in scoring during the tournament and also can defer to younger sister Chiney Ogwumike—or All-American point guard Jeanette Pohlen, the Cardinal has a variety of scoring options.

If both Connecticut and Stanford survive the semifinals, a rematch of this year’s early-season game where the Cardinal hosted the Huskies and snapped their 90-game winning streak is in order. Of course, last year, Connecticut defeated Stanford in the Final Four en route to a title. Don’t expect any love loss here. (via ESPN)

(More on TIME.com: See a Q&A with UConn coach Geno Auriemma)