No. 1 seed South Carolina and No. 2 seed UConn will face off in the NCAA title game, with a national champion set to be crowned.
When: Tip-off is at 8 p.m. ET Sunday, with the game broadcast on ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN U.
Where: UConn and South Carolina will play in front of a packed crowd at Target Center in Minneapolis.
Championship experience: Both UConn coach Geno Auriemma and South Carolina coach Dawn Staley are undefeated in championship games; however, Auriemma has more experience, with an 11-0 record to Staley’s 1-0 record.
Head-to-head record: South Carolina defeated UConn 73-57 in the teams’ Nov. 22 matchup in the Bahamas. The Huskies, however, have a healthier and more robust lineup than they did in their early-season showdown.
Case for South Carolina: The Gamecocks have been the No. 1 team wire to wire and have the undisputed Player of the Year in Aliyah Boston, making South Carolina an obvious favorite to cut down the nets. Boston heads into the title game after a commanding Final Four outing against Louisville in which she posted 23 points and 18 boards. If Boston gets going again on Sunday, the onus will be on Aaliyah Edwards or Olivia Nelson-Ododa to quiet the South Carolina big, however, there is no shutting down Boston completely.
Beyond Boston and the other core players in Zia Cooke and Destanni Henderson, South Carolina will also look to Brea Beal to hush UConn’s perimeter shooters. If Beal can shut down Paige Bueckers or Azzi Fudd the same way she did Hailey Van Lith in the Final Four, the Gamecocks will be hard to beat.
Case for UConn: The Huskies enter the national championship with a lot of confidence after a pseudo-Cinderella story, taking out NC State and Stanford in close games. Coach Auriemma’s daunting 11-0 track record in title games should also instill UConn with a level of assurance.
Star sophomore Bueckers is also hitting her stride late in the tournament after coming off a mid-season injury. The UConn guard has been clutch for her side down the stretch, sinking big shots with poise. Bueckers’ performance could also be buoyed by the fact that she will be playing in her hometown, in front of what is expected to be a friendly crowd.
Fudd is also in top form entering the championship after a season plagued by injury. If the freshman can hand in a performance similar to her 19-point stand against NC State, then the Huskies could be walking away with an NCAA trophy at the end of Sunday.