Women’s Final Four: Game Analysis and Live Updates

April 1, 2022, 5:00 p.m. ET

April 1, 2022, 5:00 p.m. ET

Credit score…David Butler Ii/USA As we speak Sports activities, by way of Reuters

The defending champion Stanford Cardinal have only one extra impediment to competing for his or her first repeat title: the Connecticut Huskies, the staff that has gained extra back-to-back championships than every other in Division I girls’s school basketball. Stanford returned all however one starter from its title staff, however it would want its veterans to carry out at their greatest towards the Huskies — particularly, the sophomore phenomenon Paige Bueckers.

The Huskies and the Cardinal each had overwhelming help from their crowds in the course of the spherical of 8. Connecticut successfully had home-court benefit in Bridgeport — only a stone’s throw from Storrs — whereas Stanford performed in Spokane, the place the teammates and twin sisters Lexie and Lacie Hull grew up and led their highschool to 2 state championships.

In Minneapolis, Connecticut will seemingly have the louder cheering part because of Bueckers, who performed at Hopkins Excessive College within the Minneapolis suburbs. The Cardinal haven’t performed with out the followers on their facet within the match to date, and in what appears to be like to be a decent sport, that help might give the Huskies an edge.

Stanford’s 6-foot-4 Cameron Brink and Connecticut’s 6-foot-5 Olivia Nelson-Ododa are each athletic publish gamers who transfer properly across the basket to attain and rebound, block photographs, and, particularly in Nelson-Ododa’s case, discover their teammates to facilitate a fast offense.

Credit score…Younger Kwak/Related Press

In addition they each get into foul bother typically, every averaging 2.8 fouls per sport. Essential for each groups, then, might be preserving their greatest publish gamers within the sport and capable of play freely. Each Stanford and Connecticut are able to making use of intense defensive stress, and Brink and Nelson-Ododa will each have to remain affected person as they maneuver for open appears to be like across the basket.

Standford, which enters the sport with the longest energetic profitable streak of any Division I girls’s staff — 24 consecutive victories — has the scale benefit. Even its guards are tall and may discover photographs towards probably the most diligent defenders, as Texas found within the spherical of 8. As a result of Connecticut is simply as expert, the Cardinal might want to exploit no matter mismatches they will discover — even 6-foot-1 Haley Jones versus the 5-foot-11 Bueckers.

If Jones and Bueckers guard one another throughout Friday’s sport, it might make for among the finest pairings of the match. Each are exceptionally expert as facilitators and scorers, making performs on nearly each a part of the court docket.

The Stanford and Connecticut coaches, Tara VanDerveer and Geno Auriemma, are the winningest and second-winningest coaches in girls’s school basketball historical past. The Huskies personal the sequence by a big margin, however this sport will nonetheless provide one other alternative for 2 of the game’s most necessary coaches to compete on its largest stage.

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