It’s not the Final Four most of us picked in our bracket but the fact that upsets paved the way to Indianapolis only makes the championship that much more interesting.
Earlier in the season, many thought that UConn and coach Geno Auriemma were infallible. They smashed the NCAA record of consecutive wins (88) and took the title from the UCLA men’s team coached by the legendary John Wooden.
Shortly after the record-breaking game, Stanford proved that UConn wasn’t unbeatable, when they won a game 71-59 at sold-out Maples Pavilion and ended Division I college basketball’s longest winning streak at 90 games..
It’s no surprise that UConn and Stanford won their conferences and are heading to the Final Four. But few picked the other two teams who will be playing at Conseco this weekend.
Most thought that Baylor and star Brittney Griner would make their way to the Big Dance. Baylor had been one of the most dominant teams all season but when they came up against Texas A&M in the regionals, the magic dissipated.
To their credit, TAMU played a terrific game and while few are picking them to go to the final, if they play with the same cohesion against Stanford as they did against Baylor, there could be another upset.
Tennessee was also a likely choice to make the Final Four but those that picked the Lady Vols didn’t give enough credit to Notre Dame and their charismatic star Skylar Diggins. Notre Dame is as close to a hometown favorite as there is in Indianapolis so never count out the fan momentum.
Stanford seniors Jeanette Pohlen and Kayla Pedersen know what it’s like to make the Final Four. This is their fourth trip in four years. But they don’t know what it’s like to win it all and they’d like to leave the program with a championship on their resume. The Ogwumike sisters, Nneka and Chiney, will be there to help them realize that dream.
UConn’s Maya Moore is probably the best player in the history of the sport and most odds makers have their money on the Huskies repeating but both Stanford and Notre Dame have a lot of talent and spunk, so it should be interesting.
I’m heading to Indianapolis today to catch all the action so check back for more news. Also get real-time updates by following @prettytough and @womentalksports on Twitter.