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March Madness Women’s Tournament


March Madness is the NCAA Division 1 basketball tournament that many people look forward to every year. This Tournament is a single-elimination tournament, meaning that once you lose, you are eliminated. At the start of the tournament there are 68 teams, however, in the tournament for the “official” start it must be down to 64 teams. To do this, 4 games are played consisting of the 4 lowest qualifying teams and the last 4 at-large bid teams. The winners of these games will officially be in the tournament. The women’s teams first started playing in this tournament in 1982, since then, the sport has grown so much, and women’s basketball has gotten so much more recognition. 

The official teams in this year’s March Madness tournament were South Carolina, Presbyterian, North Carolina, Michigan State, Oklahoma, FGCU, Indiana, Fairfield, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Oregon State, Washington, Ole Miss, Marquette, Notre Dame, Kent State, Iowa, Holy Cross, West Virginia, Princeton, Colorado, Drake, Kansas State, Portland, Louisville, MTSU, LSU, Rice, Creighton, UNLV, UCLA, CA Baptist, Texas, Drexel, Alabama, Florida State, Utah, Dakota State, Gonzaga, UC Irvine, Tennessee, Green Bay, NC State, Chattanooga, Iowa State, Maryland, Stanford, Norfolk State, USC, Texas A&M-CC, Kansas, Michigan, Baylor, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Marshall, Syracuse, Arizona, UConn, Jackson State, Duke, Richmond, Ohio State, and Maine.

Going into the tournament the #1 seeds were South Carolina, Iowa, USC, and Texas, however, many people were also expecting a lot from Uconn, Stanford, and the defending champions, LSU. In the first round of the tournament the only “upset” was when #11 seed, MTSU, beat #6 seed, Louisville. One highlight in the first round was when freshman, Audi Crooks, had a 40-point game against Maryland. This was the most amount of points scored by a freshman in the NCAA tournament ever. Not only was this her best game in the tournament, but this is now her career high, for now…

In the second round #7 seed, Duke, Knocked out the #2 seed, Ohio State. This was a punch in the gut for many Ohio State fans as their season has officially come to a close. However, this was a huge game for Duke because it helped advance them to their first Sweet Sixteen since 2018. Other than that there weren’t many huge upsets. Stanford player, Kiki Iraifen, had a career-high 41 points helping them end Iowa States’ season in overtime. South Carolina stunned North Carolina, winning by 47 points, advancing them to the Sweet Sixteen. 

The Sweet Sixteen is when the tournament is down to only 16 teams. In this part of the tournament the only times a higher-seeded team lost to a lower-seeded team was when #3 seed, Oregon State beat  #2 seed, Notre Dame, when #3 seed, NC State, beat #2 seed Stanford, and when #3 seed, LSU, beat #2 seed, UCLA. With all of the games in the Sweet Sixteen coming to an end, all of the victorious teams head to the Elite Eight. 

The Elite Eight is when the tournament is down to its final 8 teams. Coming into the elite 8 there were some really big matchups that the fans couldn’t wait for. For example: USC vs UConn. Many people were so excited to see freshman JuJu Watkins face off against UConn’s very own, Paige Bueckers. However, the game no one could stop talking about was, in fact, the LSU vs Iowa game. Last year LSU took the victory against Iowa in the championship game. Last year’s championship game made history in the record books for viewership. Going into this game, many people anticipated the viewership rate to be even higher, making history once again. In the UConn vs USC game, the winner ended up being UConn. This game was very emotional for USC freshman, JuJu Watkins because she was hoping to take her team to the finals. South Carolina beat Oregon State to advance them to the next round along with NC State. It was finally time for LSU vs Iowa, tensions were high and a trip to the Final Four was at stake. Iowa’s Caitlin Clark took this game personally, scoring 41 points, 12 assists, and 7 rebounds. In the end, Iowa ended up taking the victory, advancing them to the Final Four. 

The Final Four is then the tournament is down to its final 4 teams. This year the top 4 teams were #1 seeds, Iowa and South Carolina, along with #3 seeds, UConn and NC State. In the first half of the South Carolina vs NC State game, it remained very close, however coming into the second half, South Carolina had other plans for NC State. South Carolina ended up winning 78-59. The UConn vs Iowa game was super intense. In the first half, UConn was winning by 12 points and 6 at the half. UConn’s Nika Mühl ended up holding Caitlin Clark to only 6 points at the half with her incredible lockdown defense. Coming into the second half Iowa knew they needed to turn up the heat and get into the paint more. With Iowa winning by 1 point and just a few of seconds left on the clock, UConn knew they needed to run down the shot clock and get the ball to Paige Bueckers. However, UConn senior, Aaliyah Edwards was called for an illegal screen by the officials, turning the ball over to Iowa. Iowa ended up winning 71-69. 

Heading into the Championship game Undefeated, South Carolina was facing off the returning runner-up, Iowa. With only 1 day of preparation, both teams were ready to take the court. In the first couple minutes of the game, Iowa took a 10-0 run against South Carolina. Kamilla Cardoso ended up scoring the first basket for South Carolina ending Iowa’s run. Throughout the first half the game remained close, but Iowa contained a steady lead. However, at the end of the first half South Carolina took the lead and ended up leading Iowa by 3

 points. Coming into the second half South Carolina started getting into their groove leading Iowa by 9 points going into the 4th quarter. South Carolina’s Raven Johnson played excellent defense on Iowa’s Caitlin Clark. Iowa dug themselves into a hole they couldn’t get out of and Undefeated, South Carolina ended up winning the game 87-75. South Carolina’s freshmen were a great part of this game because of the energy they brought on this court. Coming off the bench, they knew what needed to be done, and they knew nothing was going to stop them. This game set history for women’s basketball having nearly 19 million viewers. South Carolina finished with a record of 38-0 having the first undefeated season since UConn in 2016. Many people hope that women’s basketball can continue to grow, and with these groups of women, I think it will happen. 

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About the Contributor
Ivy Cavins
Ivy Cavins, Staff Reporter
Hi, I’m Ivy! I am a freshman at Liberty this year! I have 4 cats; Mila, Mack, Marvin, and Marley, who are my entire world!!!! I love listening to Frank Ocean, SZA, and Daniel Caesar. My favorite color is green and I love to play basketball.

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