How to watch, what to know as South Carolina visits UConn in title game rematch
A national championship rematch is set for Sunday, though it could also double as a title game preview.
No. 1 South Carolina will face No. 5 UConn in Hartford, Connecticut at noon Sunday. The game will be televised on Fox.
USC has beaten the Huskies in three of the last four meetings — but the Gamecocks have not won when they’ve played the Huskies in Connecticut. UConn leads the all-time series 9-3.
Both teams faced off twice last season — once in the Bahamas and again in the national championship. South Carolina won both games by at least 15 points, holding UConn under 60 points each time.
SOUTH CAROLINA VS. UCONN GAME INFO
Who: No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks (22-0, 10-0 SEC) vs. No. 5 UConn Huskies (21-2, 13-0 Big East)
Where: XL Center (16,294) in Hartford, Conn.
When: Noon Sunday
Stream: via Fox Sports app/FoxSports.com
WHO CAN STOP THE GAMECOCKS?
South Carolina is 22-0 for the third time under Dawn Staley.
The previous times they had this start to a season — 2015 and 2016 — the team lost to UConn. But times have changed for USC as winners of three of the last four meetings against the Huskies. Additionally, those aforementioned losses came before South Carolina’s first national championship.
The Gamecocks are holding opponents to 47 points per game. Against ranked teams, they’re allowing an average of 63.7 points. UConn enters Sunday’s game averaging 80.2 points on offense and hasn’t scored fewer than 60 in a game.
Increased depth is aiding South Carolina as well. It’s getting 40.1 points per game from its bench, and the team has nine players averaging 15 or more minutes per game.
UConn will be the Gamecocks’ biggest test since No. 2 Stanford, a game USC won 76-71 in overtime back in November.
HUSKIES OVERCOMING INJURY HURDLE
UConn lost star guard Paige Bueckers before the season to an ACL tear. Not long after that, freshman forward Ice Brady had a season-ending injury of her own. Sophomore Azzi Fudd has been limited to nine games with injuries.
Despite that, the Huskies are 21-2 and ranked No. 5 The Associated Press Top 25. The team is also No. 2 in the NET rankings.
UConn is 5-2 against ranked opponents this season, having played four more games than South Carolina against teams in the AP Top 25.
The Huskies rank in the top 15 nationally in points per game. Four players average at least 13 points per game (among those with at least 16 appearances), and five different players have held UConn’s team-high in scoring in at least one game.
Junior guard Nika Mühl has been key in the offensive efficiency. She leads the team with 8.8 assists per game, the highest individual average in the country.
South Carolina’s 2022 national championship win marked UConn’s first loss in the title game (previously 11-0).
USC’s played in three games decided by single digits. UConn has played six such games and hold a 5-1 record.
UConn head coach Geno Auriemma has won 11 national championships and was undefeated in title games until 2022.
Dawn Staley is 102-66 against ranked opponents at South Carolina. USC’s last loss to a ranked opponent was the 2021 Final Four against Stanford.
Both teams are undefeated in their respective conferences.
UConn is second in the nation at 20.4 assists per game.
GAMECOCKS AND HUSKIES PLAYERS TO WATCH
Aliyah Boston, F, South Carolina: Boston — the reigning national player of the year — had a monstrous 22-point, 15-rebound performance in the first game against UConn last season in the Bahamas. She’s currently averaging 12.9 points and 10 rebounds per game for the undefeated Gamecocks. Her presence defensively also changes games, as she leads the team with 2.1 blocks per game.
Zia Cooke, G, South Carolina: Cooke is USC’s leading scorer at 15.1 points per game. She’s been held under 10 points in each of her last two games, but has been one of the primary scoring options throughout the season. She leads the team with 41 made 3-pointers. Her productivity is needed against a UConn team that carries its own load of offensive weapons.
Aaliyah Edwards, F, UConn: Edwards has stepped up for UConn with all its injury struggles. The junior forward has boosted her scoring from 7.9 points per game last season to 16.8 this year. The Huskies have leaned on Edwards to be an offensive threat, and she’s responded with an impressive field goal percentage of 60.2%.
Lou Lopez Sènèchal, G, UConn: Lopez Sènèchal is UConn’s sharpshooter. She’s making long-range shots at a 47.5% clip, and has eight games in which she’s made four 3-pointers. Sènèchal has been a strong scoring threat with a 16.6-point per game average. This is her first year with the Huskies, as she’s a graduate transfer who spent four seasons at Fairfield.