UConn guard Paige Bueckers (5) shoots over Iowa forward Monika Czinano (25) during the second half of a school basketball game in the Candy Sixteen round of the females’s NCAA tournament on the Alamodome in San Antonio, Saturday, March 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Homosexual)
UConn and Baylor possess dominated females’s college basketball in contemporary years and would possibly well merely meet Monday with the winner advancing to but one more Final Four.
The Huskies (27-1) will likely be looking for the the program’s 13th straight appearance in the showcase, 21st all-time and a 12th national championship.
The Lady Bears (28-2), the defacto defending champions after winning the title in 2019, will likely be looking for his or her fifth mosey to a Final Four and a fourth title.
“I need it became once for the national championship and never a chance to earn to a Final Four, on tale of I think each and every programs are factual elite, and it’s a shame somebody has to lose,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said Sunday.
It is a sentiment echoed by UConn coach Geno Auriemma, who also believes the groups are playing too early in the tournament.
“I think they had been underseeded,” Auriemma said. “Explain to me how they are a No. 2 seed. These things occur, I do know. But I think they deserved to be an No. 1 seed, whenever you occur to ponder during the comfort of the tournament.”
The groups replicate every varied in many ways, every having been constructed by their Hall of Popularity coaches using comparable formulas.
Both stress protection. Baylor is tops in the nation, allowing opponents to shoot a mean of 32.3% from the enviornment. UConn ranks fourth, with opponents shooting 33.3% from the flooring.
“It is miles going to be an grotesque game,” Mulkey said. “When I advise ‘grotesque,’ it will likely be low scoring, it will likely be some turnovers. Some of us must claim boring. It would possibly in all probability well presumably also merely no longer be 80 and 90. I don’t know.”
Both also characteristic stars — UConn’s Paige Bueckers and Baylor’s Nalyssa Smith — supplemented by a supporting solid of more than a couple of proficient avid gamers who can consume over video games.
“Every team that competes for a championship and in truth has gained a championship has gorgeous extraordinary worn that system in the event that they want to reach aid,” Auriemma said. “Now, whenever you occur to are handiest trying to cease it once and you’re trying to give it one shot at, then perhaps you don’t must cease it this kind. But whenever you occur to would treasure to be that kind of program that has a chance per annum to attach yourself in that space, then that’s how you should cease it.”
Some things to admire for when UConn at Baylor meet Monday in the Elite Eight:
CAN HARDLY MISS
Baylor’s Smith has made 26 of her 33 photos in the Lady Undergo’s three video games and went 11 of 11 from the flooring in the team’s time beyond legislation win against Michigan in the Candy 16.
UConn freshman Aaliyah Edwards also has been on fire, averaging 18 points per game in the tournament, while hitting 22 of her 26 photos.
“If it wasn’t for Aaliyah Edwards, we wouldn’t be here on the present time,” Auriemma said. “That runt one has in point of fact added so extraordinary to our team. Her strength, her physicality, her toughness, her finishing during the basket.”
TURNING THE PAIGE
Mulkey is most thinking about UConn freshman Paige Bueckers.
The player-of-the year candidate has attach up 62 points, 23 rebounds and 18 assists in UConn’s three video games. But Baylor’s coach, a frail point guard herself, said it’s Buecker’s court docket vision and capability to count on how a play will originate that makes her extraordinarily unpleasant.
“Hear, any freshman that would possibly well pat Geno on the butt during a game and earn away with it, hi there that tells you the draw in which extraordinary he respects her,” Mulkey said.
OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH
UConn junior guard Christyn William confirmed in the Candy 16 why she, treasure Bueckers, became once a national excessive college player of the year, putting up 27 points against over Iowa.
Tennessee transfer Evina Westbrook has also impressed, coming one rebound from a triple-double on Saturday, with 17 points and 10 assists.
Baylor’s Moon Ursin has been averaging 21.7 in the tournament. She had 20 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in the team’s time beyond legislation win against Michigan. Dijonai Carrington has led the Lady Bears stifling protection and has scored 50 points in the tournament.
“These are ladies you should ball with, these that trust in you and I completely trust in them,” Ursin said.
Auriemma said starting guard Nika Muhl will virtually certainly flow away out her third straight game with a sprained correct ankle she suffered in the team’s opening-round win over High Point. He said assistant coach Shea Ralph, who left the bubble sooner than the opening round on tale of a household member tested obvious for the coronavirus, would possibly well no longer be allowed to reach below NCAA principles.
The groups possess met eight events since 2010, every winning four of these matchups. The Lady Bears possess taken the remaining two, including a 74-58 Baylor win in Hartford in January of remaining year.
They had been supposed to meet again this January, but that game became once canceled after Mulkey became once diagnosed with COVID-19.
“It’s two programs that are very proud,” Mulkey said. “I’m certainly no longer going to outcoach Geno, so our avid gamers, they greater compete and examine out to out-play his avid gamers.”
Extra AP females’s basketball: https://apnews.com/Womenscollegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25