Women’s Final Four set with UConn, Stanford, Miss. State, SC

Fairleigh Dickinson, Belmont win First Four games
FreeImages.com/Jason Antony

The women’s Final Four has been set, with UConn making its 10th straight appearance and being joined by South Carolina, Mississippi State and Stanford.

Besides their 10th straight Final Four appearances and current 111-game winning streak, the UConn Huskies are also the four-time defending champions. The last year they didn’t win the entire tournament came in 2012 and they have record 11 total national championships including 10 of the last 17.

No. 1 seed UConn will play second-seeded Mississippi State on Friday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas to open the Final Four. The other national semifinal game will pair No. 1 South Carolina and No. 2 Stanford. The winners of those games will play Sunday for the national championship.

UConn beat Oregon 90-51 in Monday night’s quarterfinals to advance while South Carolina beat No. 3 Florida State 71-64 to also advance Monday. On Sunday, Stanford won 76-75 over No. 1 seed Notre Dame, while Mississippi State achieved the same in beating No. 1 seed Baylor 94-85 in overtime.

Stanford is returning to the Final Four for the first time since 2014, which marked the end of a run that saw them reach the national semifinals six out of seven seasons. The Cardinal won national titles in 1990 and 1992 and were runners-up in 2008 and 2010, losing to UConn in the latter year.

South Carolina is playing in its second Final Four after losing to Notre Dame in the national semifinals in 2015. Mississippi State, which reached the Sweet 16 in 2016, is playing in its first Final Four.

With both Mississippi State and South Carolina making the national semifinals, it marks the first time the Southeastern Conference has landed two teams in the Final Four since 2008.

South Carolina’s presence also means that both the school’s women’s and men’s basketball teams will be playing for a national title this weekend. The men’s team will play Gonzaga on Saturday night to open up the men’s Final Four.

The school is just the 13th to have both teams reach the Final Four in the same season. Only UConn has won both titles in the same season, doing so in 2004 and again in 2014.