March Madness roundup: UConn wins epic battle over NC State, Louisville eases past Michigan
Bridgeport, Connecticut - Monday night saw the biggest women’s college basketball program of the modern era, the UConn Huskies, being taken to the limit not once, but twice, as they eventually beat the NC State Wolfpack 91-87 for a spot in the Final Four.
A strong start by the Huskies put them in front for the first two quarters against the Wolfpack and they went into halftime with a 43-28 lead.
But the game suddenly tilted towards NC State once the third quarter got underway. The Wolfpack played its best defense all night at that point, holding UConn to just 10 points.
It was a great effort that brought NC State to within one point going into the fourth quarter.
There was no separating the teams after that, and with just over a minute left in regulation, neither was able to hit another shot. That meant extra time was needed to get a winner out of this one.
The Huskies and the Wolfpack traded baskets through the extra five minutes and with eight-tenths of a second remaining, NC State drained a three to tie the game again, sending this Elite Eight matchup into the round’s first-ever double-overtime period.
This time, the Huskies had the hotter hand, outscoring the Wolfpack 14-10 to march on to their 14th-straight Final Four appearance.
UConn’s sophomore Guard Paige Bueckers (20) took off with 23 points from the second half on, including overtime, only missing one shot to help her team claim victory. She finished the night shooting 10-for-15 overall for a game-high 27 points, six rebounds, and one assist.
The Huskies will now face the Stanford Cardinal Friday night, in the 2022 Women’s Final Four.
The Cardinals cruise past the Wolverines
The Louisville Cardinals had a much easier time earning their place in this year’s Final Four after an impressive 62-50 win over the Michigan Wolverines.
Looking to improve on last year’s Elite Eight disappointment, the Cardinals started this matchup off in the right direction after both teams had trouble getting points on the board during the game’s first three minutes.
After taking the first-quarter lead, Louisville stayed just ahead of the Wolverines with a small 30-27 lead at halftime.
There was more gritty play to be had during the third quarter and the Wolverines stayed right in the thick of things to pull within two as the action headed into the fourth.
Michigan kept the momentum going at the start of the final quarter but then it hit a brick wall as Louisville’s defense got terribly stingy.
In the last 10 minutes of the game, the Cardinals only allowed seven total points while their offense went on a 10-0 run to close out the game and punch the tournament’s last ticket into the Final Four.
Louisville’s sophomore guard Hailey Van Lith played a tough game, leading by example as her team earned a gutsy tournament win. She finished the night with 9-for-15 shooting, a game-high 22 points, three rebounds, and two steals.
On Friday night, the Cardinals will face the South Carolina Gamecocks for a chance to play for the national championship.
Cover photo: IMAGO/ZUMA Wire