The South Carolina Gamecocks have won the 2022 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. In a regular-season rematch, the Gamecocks pulled off the 64-49 victory to cut down the nets. This is the first loss in the championship game for the UConn Huskies in program history. This is the second national championship for the Gamecocks.
The preseason analysts hit the nail on the head for this one as UConn was ranked No. 1 while South Carolina was ranked No. 2 and they met in the championship game. In the preseason, UConn had +250 odds to win the national championship and South Carolina had +300 odds to win it. The Gamecocks entered the national championship game as a four-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, with the total closing at 125.
Just like in the regular season, this game was a battle for the boards. In the first quarter, it was all South Carolina as they came down with double-digit offensive rebounds getting out to a 22-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. Those eight points were the fewest points that UConn had scored in the first quarter all season. Standout guard Paige Bueckers had zero points in the first quarter.
UConn looked more themselves in the second quarter and was able to find its footing. South Carolina suffered from forced shots and they tried to keep their tempo up, but that just spelled more opportunities for Paige Bueckers and the Huskies. The Huskies cut the lead to eight with South Carolina leading 35-27 at the half.
The third quarter started slippy as the Gamecocks increased their lead and it looked like UConn was going to fall even further behind. The Huskies finally started connecting from beyond the arc and a late -third quarter 10-0 run helped them cut the Gamecocks' lead to 46-37 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw the teams trading blows with big shots and costly turnovers on either side. The tempo stayed fast on either side of the ball as the teams took efficient shots and looked for an advantage. Paige Bueckers was able to hit a wide-open three to put it to a 10-point deficit with 3:18 left in the game. It was Destanni Henderson that started taking over for the Gamecocks with a career-high scoring performance.
UConn took time to try and set up possessions as the clock wound down and foul trouble kept sending the Gamecocks to the line. South Carolina came away with the win after dominating the boards. They were +23 in rebound differential.