Women’s Final Four Closes in Cleveland

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By Maxwell Brucks

The Women’s Final Four kicks off Friday night in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Women are the talk of the College basketball world. There is all the drama a fan can ask for between the storylines for all four teams. UConn looks to reclaim its dominance, Caitlin Clark cements her legacy, South Carolina looks to remain perfect, and North Carolina State is looking for their first national championship. The star power between the national player of the year, multiple number-one overall recruits, and first-team all-conference players has set the women up for a fantastic weekend. This tournament has done very well for viewership of women’s basketball, and the final four looks to apply the finishing touches to the season. 

South Carolina takes on North Carolina State in the first game in Cleveland on Friday night. This game kicks off the women’s final four between two elite teams. South Carolina continues its streak of dominance after making its fourth straight final four after beating Oregon State by 12 in the Elite 8 in Albany, New York. Leading the Gamecocks is Kamilla Cardoso, who averages 14 points and nine rebounds per game. The Gamecocks boast an undefeated record heading into the Final Four and look to continue their reign of terror on women’s college basketball. The gamecocks will look to keep their perfect season alive against North Carolina State, who beat Texas in the Elite 8 in the Portland Region. Leading North Carolina State are two ACC first teamers, Aziaha James and Saniya Rivers. The two-guard punch has been the leading force for the Wolfpack as both average double figures in points. The wolfpack will be heavy underdogs in their first final four since 1998, but that shouldn’t bother them as they won their region as a three-seed. The Gamecocks and Wolfpack will be the first of the final four games to tip at seven P.M. eastern time in Cleveland. 

The most anticipated game of the Final Four tips off around 30 minutes after the previous game ends. Iowa and UConn will take center stage as the most popular college basketball player takes the stage in Caitlin Clark. Clark, who set the NCAA scoring record for women’s and men’s basketball, has gotten Iowa back to the final four for the second straight year. They lost in the National Championship to the team they beat in the Elite 8 in LSU and are looking to get that elusive title. To get to that elusive title, Clark and Iowa have to face off with the most dominant women’s program of all time, the UConn Huskies. UConn won four straight national championships from 2013-2016. Also, the Huskies won three in a row and back-to-back in 2009 and 2010. The Huskies only play around seven players, but those seven are very good. UConn has a 33-5 record this year, and the leading force is All-American guard Paige Bueckers. The co-star to Bueckers is forward Aaliyah Edwards, who leads the team in rebounding and is second in scoring on the Huskies. The drama is high in this one as Clark wanted to go to UConn out of high school, but the head coach for UConn, Geno Auriemma, already had his star in Bueckers. Auriemma said, “I committed to Paige Bueckers very, very early and it would have been silly for me to say to Paige, ‘Hey listen, we’re going to put you in the backcourt and then I’m going to try hard to recruit Caitlin Clark.’ I don’t do it that way, ” according to Bleacher Report and Scott Polacek. This game should deliver the blockbuster expectations set on it, especially considering the star power involved. 

This year’s Final Four is the most anticipated women’s Final Four of all time, and the rating should show that. The star power in women’s basketball is at an all-time high, and each star has delivered. The storylines are there, and so is the anticipation. UConn is old money looking to get back to its 2010 dominance. The new money in South Carolina is looking to cap off their perfect season by facing off against the ACC underdog in NC State, who is back in the final four. Last but certainly not least, the greatest women’s college basketball player of all time looks to close out her illustrious career on top. Women’s basketball is center stage this weekend in Cleveland as it will crown its champion. 

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