Mar 25, 2024; Storrs, Connecticut, USA; UConn Huskies guard Paige Bueckers (5) react after being fouled by Syracuse Orange in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

UConn Faces USC in Women’s Elite 8

The No. 3 seed UConn Huskies face the No. 1 seed USC Trojans in the Elite 8 in Portland, O.R., Monday at 9:00 p.m.

UConn is in the Elite 8 for the 28th time. Meanwhile, USC has made the regional final for just the seventh time in program history.

Huskies Review

The Huskies (32-5) are looking to extend their record number of Final Four appearances to 23, all of which have come under legendary head coach Geno Auriemma.

UConn last played against Duke in the Sweet Sixteen on Saturday, March 30, where the Huskies won 53-45. 2024 Big East Player of the Year Paige Bueckers led the team in scoring with 24 points, while recording three steals and two blocks.

Dating back to the Big East Conference Tournament, Bueckers is averaging 28.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 3.2 steals and 2.8 blocks. In that postseason frame, the redshirt junior is shooting 53.9% from the field, 44.1% from three and 75.0% from the foul line.

Bueckers missed the entire 2022-23 season due to a torn ACL in her left knee. Before 2024, her last tournament was in 2022, where the Huskies lost in the National Championship to South Carolina.

In her freshman season in 2021, Bueckers became the seventh UConn player to win the Naismith College Player of the Year award. All previous Husky winners have gone on to win at least one championship.

Trojan Transformation

While USC had success in the 80s and 90s with Cheryl Miller and Lisa Leslie, the Trojans have not been a premier program in the 21st century. The team has just five tournament appearances in the last 25 years.

2023 No. 1 overall recruit JuJu Watkins has been a revelation to the Trojans. With the help of Watkins, the team has reached their first Elite 8 since 1994 and earned their first No. 1 seed since 1986.

In the 74-70 Sweet Sixteen win over Baylor, Watkins had 30 points and four blocks.

As a freshman, Watkins is second in the nation in points per game at 27.0, while also averaging 7.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.6 blocks.

Head coach Lindsay Gottlieb took California to the Final Four in 2013 and she will be looking to bring USC to the National Semifinals for the first time since 1986.

Monday Night Preview

UConn and USC top off at 9:00 p.m. with coverage on ESPN.

The winner plays either LSU or Iowa on April 5 in Cleveland for a spot in the national championship.

About Lance Williams

Lance Williams is a first-year Economics major with a minor in Mass Communications, and an aspiring play-by-play broadcaster.

Check Also


NFL Draft Less than a Week Away

The 89th draft for the National Football League will take place Thursday in Detroit, Michigan. …