South Carolina wins NCAA women’s basketball title

South Carolina wins NCAA women's basketball title

The top-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks captured their first NCAA women’s basketball title since 2017 after defeating the second-seeded UConn Huskies 64-49 at Target Center in Minneapolis.

South Carolina’s win was paced by junior forward Aliyah Boston, who averaged a double-double in the NCAA tournament, and senior guard Destanni Henderson, both of whom continued their dominance in the final.

Boston, arguably South Carolina’s best player all year, finished with 11 points, 16 rebounds, and three assists.

Her ability to draw defenders all night long including double-teams by Aaliyah Edwards and Olivia Nelson-Ododa opened up the floor for guards Destanni Henderson and Zia Cooke.

Henderson finished with 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting from the floor and 3-of-6 shooting from deep, while Cooke finished with 11 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the floor.

It was Henderson’s best performance of the NCAA tournament, and it would not have been possible without Boston opening up the spaces for her as evident by her 10.1 point average in the tournament before the final.

Boston’s incredible rebounding skills were also on full display against the Huskies as she finished with 16 rebounds, including five offensively, which helped the Gamecocks get a number of second-chance opportunities.

Behind her final performance, Boston was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

The Huskies’ meanwhile were undone by turnovers, lack of rebounding, and an absence of genuine shooting threat.

UConn finished with 15 turnovers and 24 rebounds while South Carolina turned the ball over 14 times and recorded 49 rebounds, including 21 offensively.

Freshman guard Azzi Fudd and senior guard Christyn Williams failed to add anything offensively against the Gamecocks. Both players did not have a single bucket to their name until late in the fourth quarter.

Fudd went 1-of-3 from the floor and 1-of-2 from deep, while Williams went 1-of-7 from the floor and 0-of-3 from beyond the arc. Courtesy of their shooting woes, South Carolina managed to hold UConn’s most prolific weapon in Paige Buckers to 14 points by focusing all their defensive efforts on stopping the guard.

The win marks South Carolina’s second NCAA women’s basketball title with both of their championships coming under head coach Dawn Staley, who took over in 2008.

As for UConn, this marks their first loss in the national championship game under head coach Geno Auriemma, who is now 11-1 in title games following the Huskies’ loss.

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