The NCAA women’s basketball bracket 2011 set its Final Four lineup last night. On Monday night, the bracket allowed one No. 1 seed to win its regional, while another got upset by a No.2. In women’s basketball, having a No. 2 beat a No. 1 is the closest thing to an Elite Eight upset these days. Notre Dame pulled that off against Tennessee on Monday, and last night, No. 2s Texas A&M and Duke were underdogs for the first time in the tournament.
Of course, Duke had the hardest task in trying to upset Connecticut in Philadelphia. But Texas A&M didn’t appear to have it that much easier against Baylor in Dallas, since they lost three close games to the Bears this season. Yet just like on Monday, one No. 1 cruised, while the other got surprised.
It was predictable that Connecticut would be the team to cruise, since the Huskies slaughtered Duke earlier in the season. After they faced a surprising test by Georgetown on Sunday, Connecticut needed to be their usual dominant selves in the Elite Eight to send a message to the field. That message was easily sent, as the Huskies breezed by to a 75-40 thrashing.
There was no challenge from the start, as the only suspense was over Maya Moore trying to get her 3,000th career point. She reached that milestone with 28 points, and will now get to build on that total in Indianapolis next week.
To finish the Final Four bracket, Baylor and Texas A&M clashed in Dallas for the fourth time. Out of all the women’s basketball challengers to Connecticut, Baylor looked to have one of the best shots, having nearly upset them to start the season. With super center Brittney Griner leading the way, the Bears were easily favored for their second straight regional title – but this time, the Aggies wouldn’t go down.
Two of Texas A&M’s three losses to Baylor were by three points, so they avoided falling behind altogether last night. The Aggies never trailed, as they pulled off the second mini upset of the Elite Eight by a 58-46 margin. After Notre Dame got their first ever win over Tennessee to win the Dayton regional, the Aggies snapped their eight-game losing streak over the Bears to win their first region.
The Irish and Aggies are the last Cinderellas in the NCAA tournament, despite being No. 2 seeds. Yet they will be marginal Final Four underdogs, as Notre Dame takes on Connecticut and Texas A&M faces Stanford.
Last year’s bracket ended with the Huskies and Cardinal playing for the championship, and a rematch looks even more likely now. Women’s basketball has been dominated by Connecticut and Stanford all season, and they can take their final steps toward each other in Sunday night’s semifinals on ESPN.
ESPN- “NCAA Basketball Tournament – 2011”
Yahoo Sports- “Moore gets No. 3,000 and UConn heads to Final Four”
CBS Sports- “Texas A&M upsets top-seeded Baylor to reach Final Four”