The Final Four for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament is set, and unlike the men’s tournament, a few favorites actually made it to the national semifinals.
Two top-seeded teams – South Carolina and Virginia Tech – join No. 2-seed Iowa and No. 3-seed LSU in the Final Four. The Women’s Final Four stands in stark contrast to the men’s tournament, which did not have a single top-three-seeded team advance.
Although only 37 people correctly guessed the Final Four in ESPN’s bracket challenge for the men’s tournament, hundreds picked the Final Four in the women’s tournament.
And while UCONN’s men’s basketball team made it to the Final Four, the women’s team did not advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2007.
Of the four teams, only South Carolina has participated in a recent Final Four. Virginia Tech is participating in its first Final Four. The Hokies were knocked out of the tournament in the first round last year by Florida Gulf Coast.
“Obviously, this is not easy,” Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks. “One day I'll sit back and realize how hard it was for us to get here and realize we're one of four teams still standing. So I don't know if it was a vision — it was more of a dream — and now that dream's come true. And now we need to build upon it.”
LSU is back in the Final Four for the first time since 2008. The Tigers qualified for five straight Final Fours in the 2000s.
Iowa qualified for its first Final Four since 1993.
South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, whose Gamecocks are in the FInal Four for a third straight year and are favored to win the title, knows luck plays a role in the equation.
“I mean, you've got to get a little lucky, and you've got to get some players that really believe in it and that are unified, that really see honestly the bigger picture,” Staley said. “That is rare nowadays because a lot of times young people only see themselves and what they want to accomplish.”
LSU faces Virginia Tech on Friday, followed by South Carolina taking on Iowa.