The Final Four is almost here. Each of the four teams remaining in the NCAA women’s tournament has made at least four previous trips to the national semifinals.
UConn leads the way and will be making its 22nd Final Four appearance on Friday while Stanford will be making its 15th. South Carolina and Louisville will each be making their fourth appearances.
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With 21 previous Final Four appearances, UConn is no stranger to the game’s biggest stage. The Huskies have featured in every Final Four since 2008, making 14 straight runs to the semifinals, and they have gone on to win the tournament seven times in that span.
In the Huskies’ 21 appearances before this season, the team advanced to – and won – the NCAA tournament final 11 times. UConn has never finished as the runner-up in the NCAA tournament, which just adds to the program’s impressive résumé.
Minneapolis, the site of this year’s Final Four, holds special meaning for the Huskies – it’s where UConn won their first national title in 1995.
Both Tara VanDerveer and Geno Auriemma joined their respective teams in 1985 and, since then, have brought them unprecedented success. While UConn’s Final Four success has no equal, Stanford and Tennessee are the only two other programs to reach more than 14 Final Fours.
Since its two NCAA titles in the ’90s, Stanford has made eight other Final Four runs – including last year when the Cardinal won the title again. Twice they’ve been runner-up, in 2008 and 2010.
Tennessee, UConn and USC are the only teams to win back-to-back national titles. Stanford will be looking to become the fourth this season, and if the Cardinal pull it off, they’ll join an elite club of champions.
Unlike Stanford and UConn, South Carolina’s Final Four dominance has come within the last 10 years. After making their first Final Four in 2015, the Gamecocks made their second in 2017 and went on to win their first national title.
South Carolina made the Final Four again last year, losing to eventual champion Stanford by one point.
Since then, they’ve only gotten better, finishing the 2021-22 regular season the wire-to-wire No. 1 team in the nation.
While Louisville has made the Final Four three times prior to Friday and the championship game twice, the Cardinals have yet to win a national championship.
But they’ve been one of the nation’s better – if not slightly underrated – teams in the past few years, making the Final Four in 2018. All four of their appearances have come in the Jeff Walz era.
“We’ve been pretty good all year,” said Walz after the team’s Elite Eight win. “It’s not this year. You go back five years, we’ve won the third-most games.”