The name of Sunday’s game was the Gamecocks’ defensive and offensive rebounds, who dominated the match from the start with a 13-2 lead in just the first six minutes of the match. This was the lowest point a Husky scored in a quarter this season.
The Gamecocks defeated the Husky 49-24 in the victory.
The Husky went two runs – 9-0 in the second quarter and 10-0 in the third – but the Gamecocks held the lead throughout the match.
South Carolina goalkeeper Destani Henderson and striker Alia Boston were the stars of Sunday’s game. Henderson finished the game with 26 points and Boston with 11 points.
“I’ve been thinking about it since last season, everybody used to see me cry. But today we are national champions and I’m crying,” Boston said, referring to last year’s Final Four loss to Stanford.
Gamecock’s triple-star defense fended off husky guards – Paige Bueckers, Christyn Williams and Azzi Fudd. Neither Williams Fodd scored until late in the fourth quarter and the Bakers finished the game with 14 points.
“I know our players are tired, but they are determined to win the championship today,” South Carolina coach Don Staley said.
UConn was 11-0 in the national championship games before Sunday, which were all under coach Geno Auriemma.
Sunday’s title match was a rematch. South Carolina beat UConn 73-57 in November at Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, relying on Boston’s 22 points and a stifling defense that kept Husky just 3 points in the fourth quarter.
UConn, the premier women’s basketball program in nearly three decades, finds itself in the strange position of an underdog. UConn, seeded 2 in the tournament, has had 11 starting lineups this season due to a combination of injuries and Covid illnesses.
South Carolina was the highest-rated team since pre-season at 34-2 all year, with each loss by two points or less.
This was UConn’s 14th consecutive appearance in the Final Four dating back to 2007.
South Carolina has made the Sweet 16 every year since 2014 and won their first National Championship in 2017. They were the highest-ranked team in the country in 2020 when the tournament was called off due to Covid-19 and they lost last year in the Final Four.
The two teams last played in the NCAA tournament in 2018, when UConn beat South Carolina 94-65 to go to the Final Four.
CNN’s Jacob Leaf contributed to this report.