Fallback Four; Four Teams Who Can Stop the UConn Women
For all the flack the NBA gets for having the championship predetermined months in advance, women's college basketball sure isn't exactly fully of parity, with the Connecticut Huskies not only capturing the past four national titles, but winning their past 107 games overall.
That certainly is no knock on the Lady Huskies, who have built this up for awhile now, and have done so despite changes in the lineup, not to mention doing so with class and grace. It's just some of the non-UConn supporters out there might want to see someone new hoisting the championship trophy. We're posting a different kind of Final Four, as in a quartet of ladies' teams that could dethrone the Huskies for national glory...
The Gamecocks were dealt a bit of a blow this week when it was revealed senior C Alaina Coates would miss the tournament with an ankle injury, and it means they'll lose a double-double worth of production (12.9 PPG, 10.7 RPG). However, they'll still have the services of A'ja Wilson (17.6 PPG), one of three remaining scorers on the roster averaging double figures in points, joining Allisha Gray (12.5) and Kaela Davis (12.2). Carolina played UConn well on February 13, owning a late first half lead before eventually falling 66-55, in what became UConn's 100th consecutive win.
The Fighting Irish know a thing or two about ending long winning streaks in college basketball, as their male counterparts ended the 88-game winning streak embarked upon by UCLA in 1974. Led by head coach Muffet McGraw, who has held the position for over a quarter century, the Irish have probably been women's college basketball's best teams not named the Huskies, earning their seventh consecutive 30-win season by capturing the ACC title. Armed with junior F Brianna Turner (15.6 PPG) and G Lindsay Allen (252 assists), Notre Dame found themselves in an uncomfortable spot last season, eliminated before the Final Four for the first time since 2010. If they can make some history in the process, that's just an added bonus.
It's super weird filling out a women's bracket and not seeing the Lady Vols taking their customary spot in one of the top seeds. They are, however, at a respectable #5 seed, and still boast a pair of players that are going in the upper echelon of WNBA mock drafts, including projected top overall pick Diamond Deshields, as well as Mercedes Russell. Once the undisputed queens of college basketball, it would be all too appropriate if the Vols pulled off an upset and reclaimed their throne from the mighty Huskies.
A mid-major seeded 10th on this list?!?! Hey, it's March. Crazier things have happened! The Bulldogs enter this tournament on a pretty winning streak of their own. Sure, it's nowhere near triple digits, but they have yet to lose a game in the calendar year, last losing to Auburn on December 21. Of course, their competition isn't exactly Murderer's Row, partaking in in Missouri Valley Conference, but the Bulldogs do own wins over power conference competition, paced by Lizzy Wendell's 21.1 PPG. If you're looking for a Cinderella on the women's bracket, look no further than these Bulldogs.
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