The 2013 women’s basketball tourney has been one of upsets, namely the fall of defending champs Baylor and west coast powerhouse Stanford. With Brittney Griner’s Lady Bears and Chiney Ogwumike’s Cardinals out of the picture, this year could turn out to be the ultimate Cinderella story for Louisville or California.
The Final Four begins Sunday in New Orleans, and the four teams that remain are rookies on one side, and Final Four mainstays on the other.
Louisville v California
Last night, Louisville’s Shoni Schimmel netted 24 points to lead her Cardinals to another big upset, this time over the Tennessee Lady Vols, 86-78. When 5th seed Louisville faces off against 2nd seed Cal on Sunday in New Orleans, it will be the school’s second trip to the Final Four. And most impressively, they are only the second 5th seed in history to reach the semifinals.
And the road hasn’t been easy for Louisville. They had to defeat Baylor in a David and Goliath match-up on March 31, at a game in which no one expected them to win. But the Cardinals were able to pull off the ultimate upset of the season.
The Cal Lady Bears defeated 4th seed Georgia on Monday night in a 65-62 overtime win, and with that, they are making their first trip to the Final Four. Layshia Clarendon scored 25 points, and Cal rallied after being down 10 with less than 7 minutes left to force overtime.
No team seeded higher than fourth has ever won a game at the Final Four stage of the tourney. But this year will be different, Louisville has the momentum going into Sunday’s game, after all, they found a way to beat Baylor and Griner. Louisville by 4.
Notre Dame v UConn
On the other side of the bracket are the Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs the U Conn Huskies. The Irish and UConn are the only #1 seeds left in the tourney, after Baylor and Stanford both lost in the Sweet Sixteen.
Notre Dame defeated 2nd seed Duke 87-76 last night behind the leadership of Skylar Diggins, who scored 24 points. This will be the Irish’s third consecutive trip to the Final Four.
UConn defeated 2nd seed Kentucky 83-53 on Monday night, behind Brianna Stewart’s game high 21 points. With their win, they secured their sixth straight trip to the Final Four, 14th overall.
Most of the sports analysts predicted this match up from the beginning, and most are going with UConn for the win. Even though the Huskies have lost to Notre Dame three times this season, it’s hard to believe that UConn could fall for a fourth time to the same team in the same season. Especially when a national championship is at stake, UConn by 2 in OT.
What do you think? Who's going to the finals this year?