NCAAW fans are in for an exciting Sunday of basketball with 1-seeds on the line in all three of the Power 5 championship games taking place. Can the Georgia Bulldogs, the lone surprise participant in those three games, actually win the SEC title after starting the season unranked?
ACC Tournament championship game
No. 1-seed Louisville Cardinals (23-2, 14-2 ACC) vs. No. 2-seed NC State Wolfpack (19-2, 12-2 ACC)
The Cardinals have been able to play a lot of games this season and have had some blowout wins mixed in with some close calls and a couple losses. Freshman Hailey Van Lith led them in the ACC quarterfinals before a balance scoring effort against Syracuse in the semis. Look for the ultra-clutch Dana Evans to take over for Louisville in this one.
NC State is one of the most complete teams in the country on paper. It beat Louisville 74-60 on Feb. 1 and is thus fighting for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, while Louisville is hoping to secure a No. 2 seed. The Wolfpack may need South Carolina or Stanford to lose in their respective title games to get that 1-seed. They needed to mount an incredible fourth-quarter comeback to get past Georgia Tech in the semis, but can now hit the refresh button. Elissa Cunane has 50 points and 18 rebounds for them so far in the tournament.
When: Sunday, March 7, at 12 p.m. ET
Where: Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC
How to watch/listen: ESPN2/Radio: 790-AM WKRD
SEC Tournament championship game
No. 2-seed South Carolina Gamecocks (21-4, 14-2 SEC) vs. No. 4-seed Georgia Bulldogs (20-5, 10-5 SEC)
The Gamecocks have two comfortable victories under their belt in the SEC Tournament. Zia Cooke, Aliyah Boston and Destanni Henderson combined to go 7-of-14 from distance in the semis against Tennessee with Boston, a center, going 2-of-2. While that is unlikely to happen again, South Carolina has clearly refocused since its loss to Texas A&M at the end of the regular season and is poised to defend its SEC Tournament title. A win on Sunday should clinch a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament. A loss could possibly open the door for NC State or Maryland.
Georgia was down one entering the fourth against Texas A&M in the semis but won the final frame by seven points. The Bulldogs were not receiving votes in the preseason and have shocked the country behind the leadership of SEC Coach of the Year Joni Taylor. The Aggies were the SEC regular-season champs and seemed to be on a collision course to face the Gamecocks in the title game, but the Bulldogs have rewritten the script. Maya Caldwell and Jenna Staiti will both need to continue their stellar play if Georgia is to beat South Carolina.
When: Sunday, March 7, at 2 p.m. ET
Where: Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, SC
Pac-12 Tournament championship game
No. 1-seed Stanford Cardinal (24-2, 19-2 Pac-12) vs. No. 3-seed UCLA Bruins (16-4, 12-4 Pac-12)
Stanford, like Louisville, has played a lot of games, despite having to move out of Santa Clara County for an extended period of time and give up home court advantage. The Cardinal were No. 2 in the NCAA’s final Top 16 reveal so they are safer than South Carolina when it comes to securing a 1-seed. They may be able to get away with losing this game even if Maryland, South Carolina and NC State all win their conference tournaments. We’ll see if Cameron Brink can remain hot like she was against Oregon State in the semis or if Haley Jones and Kiana Williams will lead the way.
The Bruins are still a 3-seed in ESPN’s projected bracket and are looking to move up to a 2-seed with a Pac-12 Tournament title. Michaela Onyenwere has been a superstar for the team this year and dueled it out with Arizona’s Aari McDonald in the semis with very little help from her teammates. We’ll see if sophomore sensation Charisma Osborne steps up on Sunday. UCLA has scored 58 points in each of its tournament games so it will be looking to improve on the offensive side of the ball as a team.
When: Sunday, March 7, at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, NV
How to watch/listen: ESPN2/UCLA’s athletics site