As the calendar turns to February, we remain one month away from March Madness. The NCAA women’s basketball tournament begins on March 27th, with the Final Four being played on April 3rd. The women’s basketball season wraps up with the national championship on April 5th. As we start our journey towards seeding, Oregon and UConn played Monday Night in a potential Final Four matchups.
Oregon and UConn (Game Recap)
The Oregon Ducks traveled to Connecticut to take on 11-time national champion, UConn. Oregon entered the contest 19-2, while UConn held a record of 19-1. Both teams came into the matchup ranked in the top five. It was the Ducks who got the better of the Huskies. Oregon prevailed by a final score of 74-56. The Ducks outscored UConn in every quarter en route to their victory. Oregon was led in scoring by Ruthy Hebard who scored 22 points. Senior phenomenon, Sabrina Ionescu, fell one rebound and assist short of a triple double. She finished the game with 10 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. The loss was UConn’s first at home in seven years. It was also the fifth worst home loss for the Huskies in their program history.
After the win, Oregon returns to conference play this weekend. The Ducks host a pair of Pac-12 conference games against Arizona and Arizona State. The Wildcats are ranked 12th while the Sun Devils enter the week ranked 19th. Even though both Arizona schools will test Oregon, I think the Ducks will find a way to win. Oregon holds a 9-1 record in the Pac-12. Their closest adversary is the Stanford Cardinal. The Ducks and Cardinal will play the last week of the regular season. With little room for error, the Ducks hope to defend their home court and finish the week 3-0. Oregon will play Arizona on Friday and Arizona State on Sunday.
UConn resumes conference play, at home, on Friday. The Huskies play host to American Conference opponent Memphis. UConn is 9-0 in conference play. They sit two games ahead of second place Tulane. UConn will host Tulane on February 19th. The Huskies have another Final Four possible opponent on Monday February 10th as they travel to Columbia, South Carolina. With a top ranked South Carolina team on the horizon, UConn hopes to not overlook the Memphis Tigers. The Huskies have never lost as a member of the American Conference. They hold a conference record of 111-0. UConn hopes to keep their record unblemished before their top five matchup with SEC foe, South Carolina.
Oregon and UConn (Conclusion)
With both schools sitting a top their respective conferences, a top four national seed could be on the line. On one hand, UConn has made 12 straight Final Four appearances. The Huskies have not missed the Final Four since 2007. In addition, UConn has won six of those 12 championships. However, they have not won a championship in three years. Their last national championship came in 2016 with a win over Syracuse.
On the other hand, Oregon has made only one Final Four in program history. It came last year when they lost to Baylor. Even though the Ducks have only one Final Four appearance, Oregon has made three straight Elite Eights. Furthermore, the Ducks have made three straight NCAA Tournaments after a 12-year drought. Each school can clinch a number one seed before March Madness begins. Look for these two teams to potentially meet again, with bigger stakes on the line.
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