The Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament takes center stage on Monday night when Connecticut looks for its 111th straight win and a trip to the Final Four against upstart Oregon with Florida State and South Carolina meeting in the night’s second regional Elite Eight game. Let’s do a modern mini-handicap of tonight’s two games and offer up a pick in each.
Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, CT
7:06 p.m. EDT
NAT TV: ESPN
Head Coach Geno Auriemma and #1-seed Connecticut (35-0 SU) put their 110-game win streak on the line Monday night in the Bridgeport Regional Final against HC Kelly Graves and Oregon (23-13). This game sees sportsbooks offering the Huskies as 26-point favorites over the Lady Ducks. With super sophomores Napheesa Collier (27 points, 14 rebounds) and Katie Lou Samuelson (20.7 ppg), Connecticut squeezed by UCLA in the regional semifinals, 86-71, as the Bruins got out to a 7-point lead against UConn—its largest deficit of the season—then saw Gabby Williams (17/9/6) and the Huskies rally for the win.
The Ducks will look to freshmen Ruthy Hebard (19.7 ppg), Mallory McGwire (14.6 ppg) and 3-point sharpshooter Sabrina Ionescu (14.6 ppg) to try to help pull off what would be one of the biggest upsets in Women’s college basketball history. The biggest loss for Oregon—which beat #3 Maryland, #2 Duke and #7 Temple to get here—this season was by 22 points to then-No. 9 Washington, but facing a stacked UConn squad playing in their home Nutmeg State. Expect big games from Collier, Samuelson, Williams, Kia Nurse (13.0 ppg) and the talented Huskies bench. The fear from the UCLA game is the key to this handicap.
Free NCAAB Pick: Connecticut -26 -110Best Line offered: at BetDSI
South Carolina vs. Florida State
Stockton Center, Stockton, CA
9:06 p.m. EDT
NAT TV: ESPN — WEB: ESPN3
SEC champions South Carolina (30-4 SU) come in 5-point favorites and on an 8-game win streak against Florida State (28-6) on Monday night in the Stockton Regional Final at the Stockton Center in Stockton, California (140, BetDSI). The Lady Gamecocks are led by two-time SEC Player of the Year A’ja Wilson and walloped Quinnipiac by 42 in the Sweet Sixteen, 100-58. Leticia Romero, Shakayla Thomas, and the Lady Seminoles knocked off #2-seed Oregon State to get to this point.
With South Carolina only losing to powerhouse and three-time defending champions UConn by 11 in its last loss, expect Wilson, Kaela Davis (15.8 ppg), Allisha Gray and the Gamecocks to find a way to win by 10 points or more and send a second proud program from Columbia to the Final Four this calendar year with fumes from the Men’s Cinderella March Madness run helping stoke this Women’s team’s fire.
Free NCAAB Pick: South Carolina -5-110Best Line offered: at BetDSI