Another wild weekend of college basketball in the books, and now only two spots left in the most exclusive basketball club in the country.
#1 UConn vs. #2 Baylor
While it was only the Elite 8, this game had the intensity and feel of a National Championship. It was a game of runs that isn’t reflected in the final box score. The Huskies quickly went up 16-4 and were out-hustling the Lady Bears on both ends of the court.
DiJonai Carrington took over the game with her physicality toward the end of the first half, scoring 14 points in the opening two periods. Both teams excelled defensively, forcing turnovers and blocking shot after shot. That unfortunately changed for Baylor when 2020 defensive player of the year winner DiDi Richards went down with a leg injury in the third quarter.
More from NCAA
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, April 6: Stanford defeats Arizona in a tightly contested matchup to win the national title
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 26: Louisville and Texas A&M survive and advance
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 23: Highlights from the first round of the NCAA Tournament
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 16: Tournament bracket released
- Bulldogs’ buzzer-beater makes Gonzaga WCC champions
Without Baylor’s defensive leader and floor general, UConn was able to put together a 19-0 run and never looked back, despite a last-second attempt from Carrington that would have taken the lead (and maybe should have garnered some free throws).
It was just another day at the office for Paige Bueckers, who had a game high 28 points to propel UConn to its 13th consecutive Final Four, one of the most remarkable accomplishments in all of sports.
#3 Arizona vs. #4 Indiana
The nightcap was an equally tight affair until the fourth quarter. Both teams came into the game on the heels of incredible upsets, and their stars came to play. Only a sophomore, Mackenzie Holmes is already an elite talent, and finished the game with 20 points, 8 boards and 5 blocks.
But the big story of the game was Aari McDonald. Not only does the senior guard have talent, but she had the fire in her eyes in last night’s matchup. The superstar Wildcat scored 33 points, including 5 three-pointers en route to a fourth quarter surge that put the Hoosiers away for good.
Indiana head coach Teri Moren relied heavily on her starters this season, but getting outscored 20-9 in the fourth after giving only 10 total minutes to bench players seems awfully correlated.
It will be the first Final Four in the history of the program for Arizona, who draw UConn on the right side of the bracket. Tonight we will find out which of Stanford or Louisville and South Carolina or Texas will be joining them.
For those who may have forgotten, the 2020 Olympics was set to be the first games to include a 3×3 basketball competition. With the postponement to this summer, the players are finally at camp in preparation for the inaugural contest.
The USA roster includes Kelsey Plum, Allisha Gray, Stephanie Dolson, and Katie Lou Samuelson, the latter of which is still competing in Europe and thus has yet to report to training in San Antonio.
There is a lot on the line for the US squad, who are mostly eager for the new gameplay. Dolson said of 3 on 3, “It’s a different game, but it’s more fun for me, it’s more exciting; I’m a pretty quick thinker. Our whole team is learning to enjoy it and play with each other.”
In other professional news, new Washington Mystics signing Alysha Clark suffered a foot injury that will force her to miss the entirety of the upcoming season. It is a brutal blow for Washington, as they lose one of the best defensive players in the WNBA, but an even harder pill to swallow for Clark, who we wish a speedy recovery.