Women's College Basketball: Examining the Final Four Teams, Their Chances, and the Semifinals Matches

South Carolina seems to be the favorite as the No. 1 seed and undefeated record, but NC State, UConn, and Iowa all have proven they have what it takes to win games and make a run for the national title. Here are the matchups and teams for the 2024 Final Four:

  1. South Carolina ('36-0'): The No. 1 seed Gamecocks are undefeated and have proven their worth as the favorite. They are a talented team with a strong defense and offensive weapons. Yet, they nearly let a 21-point lead slip away against Indiana in the Sweet 16 and gave up a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter vs. LSU in the Elite Eight. But South Carolina has been here before and has won it all, so they know what it takes to finish the job.

Their chance to win the national championship: Despite the perfect record, South Carolina hasn't been tested as much as some of the other teams left in the tournament. Their path to the championship game will depend on whether they can withstand the strong offensive performances of NC State's backcourt and force their opponents to beat them from outside. The key for South Carolina to win it all will be minimizing turnovers, stopping second-chance points, and closing out on three-point shots. They have the advantage defensively against both NC State and Iowa, and will be a tough matchup for UConn's Paige Bueckers.

  1. NC State ('31-6'): The No. 3 seed Wolfpack are making their first Final Four appearance since 1998 after stunningly knocking off the defending champion Texas in the Elite Eight. They have a dangerous backcourt in Aziaha James and Saniya Rivers, who have carried NC State through the tournament with impressive scoring performances. The team also gets strong contributions from graduate student River Baldwin, who provides leadership and averages a double-double.

Their chance to win the national championship: NC State will have its work cut out for them in the semifinal matchup against South Carolina. Should they be able to pull off the upset, they would have a chance to face the winner between Iowa and UConn. Whomever they face, NC State will need to find ways to score from outside and limit their turnovers if they want to claim the national championship. They have risen to the occasion all tournament and have a nothing-to-lose mentality.

  1. UConn ('27-7'): The No. 3 seed Huskies seemingly have resurgence behind the strong play of Paige Bueckers, who missed last season due to an ACL injury. After falling to 4-3 in the first week of December, UConn has won 27 of their past 28 games, with Bueckers averaging over 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists per game this season. The Huskies also have Aaliyah Edwards, who averages a double-double of her own and provides a presence in the paint. UConn is a veteran team that knows how to win close games, as evidenced by their nail-bitting victory over USC in the Elite Eight.

Their chance to win the national championship: UConn will have their hands full with a talented Iowa team, led by superstar Caitlin Clark. The Huskies will need Aaliyah Edwards to continue her strong play and for Paige Bueckers to impose her will on the game. UConn has been able to limit opponents' three-point shooting, which could play in their favor against a potent Hawkeye team that averages over eight made three-pointers per game.

  1. Iowa ('29-7'): The No. 1 seed Hawkeyes are led by the explosive scoring and distributing of Caitlin Clark, who is vying to lead Iowa to their first championship since 1989. Iowa defeated LSU in the Elite Eight round by putting on an impressive team effort, with five players scoring in double figures. They have a deep team with a lot of scoring options, including Madi Bailey, Gabbie Marshall, and Hannah Stuelke.

Their chance to win the national championship: Iowa will rely on Caitlin Clark to lead them against a UConn team that will look to stop her. The Hawkeyes will need more of the same team effort they got against LSU, as well as some outside scoring from Gabbie Marshall and others, to help take the pressure off Caitlin Clark and make it to the national championship.

Conclusion: The women's college basketball 2024 season has been thrilling, and the stage is set for epic semifinals. Each of these teams has proven their worth and has a chance to win it all. South Carolina remains the favorite, but with the way this season has gone, anyone could cut down the nets in Cleveland. These semifinal matchups promise to be exciting, and the winners will likely be decided by which team can make the fewest mistakes at the right time.

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