Coach Dawn Staley won her second championship keeping herself undefeated in title games at 2-0. Staley awarded coach Geno Auriemma his first championship lost bringing his championship record to 11-1.
How did they do it. That is a very good question the answer to that question comes down to two words, will and hustle.
The pressure from the Gamecocks early seemed all they needed to hold on to win the title. The score at the end of the first quarter was South Carolina 22 UConn 8.
It seemed at times that UConn was going to make a significant run, but coach Staley would make the right adjustments before it was too late. It seemed that only one of the teams came to play tonight. The second through fourth quarter was evenly scored 42-41 between the two teams. The title was surely won with one quarter and maintaining the rest of the game.
Punch a team in the mouth early and see how they respond. The Lady Huskies were punched and never fully woke up from the haymaker. Azzi Fudd did not score a basket until around the 3:45 mark in the 4th. Christyin Williams the leading scorer on the team did not score until the 1:45 mark in the 4th. The big 3 (Bueckers, Williams and Fudd) of the Lady Huskies averaged 42 points a game this season they combined for 19 with Fudd scoring three and Williams two scoring.
The overwhelming number of turnovers (15) fouls (21) and offensive rebounds given up (29) seemed to be the nails in the coffin for UConn. South Carolina had four more offensive rebounds than UConn had total rebounds and that led to 21 second chance points.
Aaliyah Boston put up her D-1 leading 30th double double with her scoring 11 points and grabbing 16 rebounds.
Tonight however was the Destanni Henderson show she had game highs in points (26) and assist (4). The 26 Henderson scored is her career high, the senior guard saved her best for last.
The Lady Gamecocks showed their dominance all season and captured the championship that has slipped through their fingers the last two seasons.