This weekend, the South Carolina Gamecocks, the defending champion, will try to become the ninth team in NCAA Women’s Basketball history to finish the season undefeated and win the championship.
The top-seeded South Carolina will take on Iowa, led by Caitlyn Clark, who advanced from the Seattle Regional 4 and aimed to make history by winning their first national title.
The game will kick off at 9 PM ET today, Friday, March 31, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. “It would be a massive upset if anyone but South Carolina wins, but I am rooting for Iowa,” one fan said.
Caitlyn Clark has become a household name with her outstanding and heroic plays, comebacks, and her drive to lead Iowa Women’s Basketball back to the final four for the first time since 1993. She has appeared on ESPN highlights, countless magazines, and other television affiliates.
Clark won the Naismith National Player of the Year on Wednesday and the Associated Press National Player on Thursday. In one season, she is the first Player in Division one history to amass 900 or more points and over 300 assists. Also, she has scored 30 or more points in 37.4% of her games and is leading the tournament in scoring at 30 points per game. Aside from receiving all the individual accolades, Clark helps lead Iowa in Scoring Offense with 87.6 points per game in the Nation.
Clark had many highlights this season, including 41 points, ten rebounds, and 12 assists in the Elite Eight Match-up against Louisville to help Iowa reach the Final Four for the first time since 1993. So her ability to step up during big games is one of her greatest assets. On February 26, 2023, she hit the game-winning shot at home to upset Indiana 86-85, who ranked 2nd then.
Along with Clark, Iowa has Senior Forward/Center Monica Czinano, one of the Nation’s best scorers and playmakers, and Kate Martin, the team’s glue who brings everybody together, aka the voice of reason. Among the starters to watch are senior Mckenna Warnock and sophomore Gabbie Marshall, both of whom will pose challenges to South Carolina’s defense.
On the South Carolina side, Brea Beal’s stellar defensive game and offensive presence on the court will pose a problem for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Another dangerous Gamecock is Zia Cooke, a former McDonald’s All-American and current senior guard from Toledo, Ohio, a workaholic who can score and defend from both ends of the court.
Power Forward Aliyah Boston is unafraid to grab tough rebounds, block shots, protect the paint, or keep opponents from scoring. She is a native of the US Virgin Islands and the 2022 Naismith National Player of the Year and this year’s defensive player of the year. In addition to being a four-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year winner, Boston can drop more than 20 points any night. “In South Carolina, defense is a big part of our work, so receiving the award shows how hard we have worked all season,” Boston said.
In this game, the Gamecocks will have to get their offense going early and slow down Martin, Clark, and Cziano since their defense is stellar. They only concede 51.1 points per game.
* South Carolina is seeking their third title in the program’s history.
* After losing a heartbreaker in 1993, Iowa seeks to advance to its first championship game.
* Coach Lisa Bluder is in her 23rd season with Iowa, and she led the team to back-to-back Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament titles in 2022 and 2023.
* Coach Dawn Staley, a former WNBA star and two-time Naismith National Player of the Year, has been with South Carolina since 2008 and is pursuing her third title with he school.
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