Minneapolis hosts Women’s Final Four

The NCAA Women’s Final Four took place this past weekend at the Target Center in Minneapolis, with South Carolina and UCon advancing to meet in the national title game on Sunday, April 3.


The NCAA Women’s Final Four returned to Minneapolis for the first time since 1995, taking place at the Target Center, home of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx of the WNBA. Out of the 64 teams that entered the NCAA Women’s Tournament, Connecticut (UConn), Louisville, South Carolina, and Stanford were the four teams remaining. And after Friday and Sunday’s games, only one would remain as the national champion. 

Friday night’s first semifinal game began with Louisville taking on South Carolina, led by Coach of the Year recipient Dawn Staley, who helped the team maintain the No. 1 ranking for the entirety of the season. They came into this game with three victories over Top-5 ranked opponents on the season. 

Both teams brought with them a small contingent of fans that sat in their respective sections. Unfortunately for the Louisville fans, they didn’t have as much to cheer about compared to the South Carolina fans. The Gamecocks had complete control from wire to wire, exploding to a double-digit lead immediately in the first quarter. They maintained that lead throughout the game with forward Aliyah Boston illustrating her leadership with 23 points and 18 rebounds. Even with a few blown layups by her guards, Boston was there to grab the offensive rebound and get the second-chance points. 

Louisville was only able to convert one three-pointer on eight attempts and struggled in the paint with the size of South Carolina’s forwards clogging up the lanes. It was a lackluster day by the Cardinals, and they ended their season with a double-digit loss. 

While the energy within the crowd was a bit muted during the first game, the second game of the night proved to be a much more entertaining time. Hometown hero Paige Bueckers brought in a large contingent of supporters for the Huskies of UConn, with the fans taking up multiple sections in the lower bowl. 

Despite leading the nation in championship appearances and titles, UConn has been in a rut recently, losing four straight semifinal games. Bueckers was on a mission not to make it five, as she led the team with 14 points to go along with four rebounds and five assists. 

Both teams struggled on the offensive side of the ball, with Stanford only making 17% of their three-point attempts. They also weren’t able to keep the ball moving, only mustering their second-lowest total assists for the season with 10. 

UConn was able to swing things in their favor thanks to their senior guards. A large number of fans also helped, with the Huskies eking out a 63-58 victory to send them to the championship game against the Gamecocks. 

It’ll be an interesting matchup as UConn dominates their opponents through their guards, and South Carolina dominates with their forwards. The Gamecocks won their only other championship appearance in 2017, and UConn coach Geno Auriemma will be looking for his record 12th national title.