The South Carolina Gamecocks battle the Connecticut Huskies

2022 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship


Photo by: Oregon Live

South Carolina celebrates after their victory

During the 2022 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship the number one seed South Carolina, led by head coach Dawn Staley, played against Connecticut under the leadership of head coach Geno Auriemma. Taking place on Sunday, April 3, both teams were set to face off at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota where each team hoped to walk away with the coveted National Championship trophy.

South Carolina’s Destanni Henderson maneuvers her way around UConn guard Christyn Williams to the basket. Photo By: Daniel Connolly

The match took place after both the Gamecocks and Huskies had won their respective games during the Final Four round where South Carolina beat the Louisville Cardinals 72-59 guided, which was made possible stand-out performer Aliyah Boston who scored twenty-three points, eighteen rebounds and shot over sixty percent from the field. As for UConn, the team managed to emerge victorious after a close game against the Stanford Cardinals, winning 63-58 while showcasing their elite defensive tactics. Heading into the game, the South Carolina Gamecocks attempted to win their first championship since 2017. However, UConn was in search of their twelfth championship appearance in franchise history.

South Carolina guard Zia Cooke attempts to make a layup in order to advance the team’s score once more over UConn. Photo By: Toledo

At the top of the first quarter, the Gamecocks successfully won the jump ball, which provided the team with the momentum they needed early on. Over the course of only four minutes, South Carolina went on an 11-2 run made possible by the team’s outstanding defense and ability to convert on uncontested baskets. In response, Huskies coach Auriemma decided to call a timeout in order to adjust their plays accordingly. Despite their hard efforts, the Huskies continued to struggle against the Gamecock’s defense, extending South Carolina’s lead into double digits.

Throughout the final stretch of the first quarter, the Gamecocks sustained both their offensive and defensive coordination. At this time, the team scored three more baskets while also forcing two turnovers and a missed three point jump-shot attempted by their opponent.

South Carolina’s Destanni Henderson surveys the court in order to successfully make her way to the basket. Photo by: Alex Azzl
UConn guard Paige Bueckers makes her way past South Carolina’s defensive line during the second quarter of the championship game. Photo By: Morgan Engel

As the second quarter came underway, both teams regrouped and laid out a plan for success. During the first few minutes, the Huskies still were unable to find their rhythm offensively thought. South Carolina took advantage of UConn’s position to further their lead even more.

Huskies’ guard Paige Bueckers soon placed pressure on South Carolina when making three shots at the basket in an attempt to put points on the scoreboard within the remaining few minutes of the half. Buecker’s determination at this time set forth an undeniable determination in UConn whose offensive began to look promising. The Huskies, in the final two minutes of the half, capitalized on their newfound consistent offensive rhythm as seen by the series of uncontested baskets from Bueckers, Evina Westbrook and Caroline Ducharme. With the shift in momentum, UConn was able to narrow the score by eight after being down by double digits up until this point in the game.

Despite UConn’s efforts, South Carolina remained in the lead heading into the third quarter. During the beginning stages of the second half, the Huskies and Gamecocks continued to carry impressive defense strategies, causing each of the team’s defensive units to place pressure on the respective offense. The apparent gridlock proved detrimental for UConn whose momentum began to fade. force both of their offenses to get in multiple scoring droughts throughout the first four minutes.

Following a TV timeout, South Carolina had a 43-29 advantage over UConn. As the third quarter began to wrap up, The Huskies finally found the spark that they needed, reducing the Gamecock’s lead to nine after a series of consecutive three-point shots made with less than two minutes left in the quarter. Heading into the last quarter of the game, both teams found themselves under a massive amount of pressure to perform to the best of their abilities as the championship trophy was on the line.

South Carolina forward Victoria Saxton steals the ball from UConn forward Aaliyah Edwards during the remaining minutes of the championship game. Photo By: The Guardian


As the final quarter commenced, South Carolina and UConn made necessary final adjustments to their plays in order to maximize efficiency. Following a pause in play, the Gamecocks soon controlled the game within the first minutes of the quarter as they were able to convert the ball on easy shots while also maintaining a stable defensive position. With such a standing, South Carolina scored eleven points in the span of only six minutes. Then, after a needed timeout by the Huskies, UConn was only able to score two points, which came from Christyn Williams.

After a competitive battle between the two accomplished teams, the Gamecocks walked away with the 2022 Women’s National Championship title with a score of 64-49. South Carolina guard Destanni Henderson undoubtedly captained the ship as she scored a total of twenty-six points.

With their standout performance, South Carolina ended up finishing the season with a record of 35-2, winning their second National Championship title in franchise history. Now, with top senior players, such as Saniya Rivers, leaving South Carolina, the Gamecocks look to build their program with new players who can fill the shoes of past breakout athletes.