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The news that keeps us Onward On!
Since 1925
The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

Women’s NCAA Final Four Preview: Can Clark keep her foot on the gas?

John Mac, Wikimedia Commons
Clark and the Hawkeyes look to punch a ticket to the NCAA Tournament Championship.

This weekend, the sports world will be watching the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four which will take place in Cleveland, Ohio, at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. The tournament has already been thrilling, featuring close games and incredible performances by star players. It has also captured America’s attention, as the Sweet 16 game between Iowa and Colorado was viewed by nearly 7 million fans across the country.

The action will begin this Friday, April 5 at 7:00 when No. 3 seed North Carolina State takes on a number No. 1 seed South Carolina. The Wolfpack will be challenged in this matchup as South Carolina enters the Final Four with an unblemished 36-0 record. The Gamecocks are led by their Hall of Fame head coach, Dawn Staley, who has already won two national championships in her time at South Carolina. South Carolina has also been able to get a lift from their 6 ’7” center, Kamillia Cardoso and from sharpshooting guard, Raven Johnson. However, North Carolina State has some talent of its own. Aziaha James has been able to use her scoring ability to create offense for her teammates to lead the Wolfpack to the Final Four.

The matchup will ultimately come down to whether or not NCState can defend Cardoso and keep her from scoring inside the paint. But even when teams have been able to keep Cardoso in check during the tournament, they have allowed shooters like Raven Johnson to have open looks to shoot. South Carolina will continue its perfect run toward a national championship, or North Carolina State will pull off the most shocking upset of the season.

After the first game concludes, we will see No. 1 seed Iowa takes on No. 3 seed UConn. This game will be a battle between arguably the two best players in the country: Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and UConn’s Paige Bueckers. Both players have helped carry their teams to this moment.

In their thrilling Elite Eight victory over LSU, Clark scored 41 points and made nine three-point shots. Bueckers also shined in UConn’s Elite Eight victory over USC, scoring 28 points and collecting ten rebounds to help the Huskies advance.

While the two stars will undoubtedly impact the outcome of this game, it will ultimately come down to which team can have its role players step up and impact the score. When Iowa has been at its best this season, they have gotten contributions from sharpshooters Gabbie Marshall and Kate Martin and a high volume of rebounds from center Hannah Stueleke. The Huskies also have a strong supporting cast around Bueckers that features Nika Muhl and KK Arnold who have both hit big shots in clutch moments for their team this season. Ultimately, either Clark or Bueckers will come one step closer to cementing their legacies with a national championship, but they will need help from their teammates to do so.

The winners of the two semifinal games will then stay in Cleveland to face off on Sunday, April 7 and the winner will be crowned the national champion. Whether you go downtown to watch the games in person or tune in from home, you will see plenty of fast-paced basketball action at the NCAA Women’s Final Four this weekend.

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