Women’s Final Four teams survived wild tourney amid parity | Sports

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — There was once a time, no longer that a few years in the past, when predicting the ladies’s NCAA Tournament champion appeared moderately simple.

UConn or Tennessee or Baylor or possibly Stanford, relying at the yr.

But this yr isn’t a yr like that.

“It doesn’t mean that a team can’t be dominant, doesn’t mean that you can’t have several teams that are dominant,” South Carolina trainer Dawn Staley mentioned. “It just means that there are stories that come along throughout our season that beg to be heard about.”

No. 2 seeds Baylor and Iowa had been eradicated earlier than the Sweet 16. Florida Gulf Coast, a 12-seed, disappointed fifth-seeded Virginia Tech within the opening spherical. Creighton, a 10-seed, made it to a regional ultimate.

“Our game is growing,” mentioned Louisville trainer Jeff Walz, whose crew is in its fourth Final Four. “So it’s just not one school where everybody goes, one program where everybody goes. Now players are branching out. Other universities like ourselves are investing in women’s basketball. I think as that continues throughout the country, you’re going to see more and more programs evolve and continue to get better. That’s really what it’s all about.”

The early rounds once more featured their proportion of blowouts. There had been 12 video games made up our minds by means of 30 or extra issues on this event, in comparison to simply 4 at the males’s aspect.

“It was once simply an incredible basketball sport and it was once a super show off for our recreation,” UConn trainer Geno Auriemma mentioned.

“The way this tournament has gone, too, it’s amazing that that’s happened,” Duke trainer Mike Krzyzewski mentioned Tuesday, noting the veteran gamers stacked on probably the most tourney groups. “It’s the oldest that that college basketball has ever been. And so as a result of that, it’s going to be tougher to win.”

On the ladies’s aspect, there were 23 video games within the event thus far made up our minds by means of unmarried digits, 13 by means of 5 issues or fewer. Six of the ones video games concerned the Final Four groups.

“I know we’ve got three of the four one seeds are playing in the Final Four, but up to that point, how many great games have we had?” Walz mentioned. “How many upsets have we had? That’s what’s making our game that much better and that much more exciting.”

Fans have noticed. Twitter and other social media sites exploded during the UConn-NC State game Monday, with numerous pro athletes among those sending out messages about the game and the quality of women’s basketball in general.

“I think people have been really starved for great women’s basketball,” Stanford trainer Tara VanDerveer mentioned. “I believe that the video games had been so thrilling. The protection, the crowds had been nice. (The Final Four) goes to be truly an excellent chance, a super platform for the ladies on our crew and the sport itself to be showcased.”

AP sports activities writers Eric Olsen and Aaron Beard contributed to this file.

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