South Carolina Gamecocks defeat UCONN Huskies to win Women’s National Championship

The+Gamecocks+defeated+the+Huskies+64-49+to+win+the+national+championship+on+April+3%2C+2022.+Aliyah+Boston%2C+who+averaged+16.8+PPG+and+15.2+RPG+during+March+Madness%2C+was+named+the+Most+Outstanding+Player.+

The Gamecocks defeated the Huskies 64-49 to win the national championship on April 3, 2022. Aliyah Boston, who averaged 16.8 PPG and 15.2 RPG during March Madness, was named the Most Outstanding Player.

After 145 days of Women’s College Basketball, the South Carolina Gamecocks were named NCAA Women’s Basketball Champions after they defeated the Connecticut Huskies 64-49 on April 3, 2022. The national championship game was played at Target Center in Minneapolis, where South Carolina won its 2nd national championship in franchise history, both under head coach Dawn Staley

6’5 forward Aliyah Boston was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player, as well as the Defensive POY (Player of the Year), and National POY during her historic 2021-2022 season. She scored 11 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the championship game, helping South Carolina dominate the rebounding battle 49-24 and a commanding 22-5 advantage on second chance points. 

“South Carolina’s rebounding, especially their offensive rebounding, made a huge difference in the game. Their size and the way they attacked the boards allowed them to out-rebound UCONN by a significant amount. South Carolina’s best player, Aliyah Boston, is also the team’s leading rebound, and when she was on the bench, UCONN got a lot more rebounds than they previously had been able to,” said Amador Girls Varsity Basketball Player Gianna Ghio (‘23).

The success of the Gamecocks’ season can be attributed to the work done by the other players. In the championship game it showed. Senior guard Destanni Henderson dropped a career-high 26 points on a 45% shooting percentage, 4 assists and 3 steals. 

“Along with the defense played on Bueckers, [Henderson] brought a lot of energy to the team that led to their success on Sunday,” said Paul Beckley (‘25).

Despite a disappointing end to the season, star guard Paige Bueckers will look to bounce back for the Huskies next season. Bueckers averaged 14.6 points and 3.9 assists during the season but only played 17 games due to a knee injury.

“At times, she’d magically dribble through the whole defense for an open shot. But the [South Carolina] defense never allowed her to find a rhythm, and along with the rebounding difference, that made it difficult for UCONN to match the intensity. She’ll definitely come back stronger next year [because] her love and passion for basketball is unmatched and will work extremely hard to win,” said Joel Leong (‘23).

Sunday’s exciting championship game recorded an attendance of 18,304 people at Target Center. The game peaked at 5.91 million viewers across all linear and streaming platforms, the best ratings since 2004. 

“I think more people should watch women’s basketball in general because their games are very exciting throughout the season, not just during March Madness. At times, it has just as much, if not more energy than a men’s basketball game,” said Leong.