UConn and Baylor were scheduled to play in Waco in early January but the game was canceled. Now, two of the most dominant programs in the sport will square off in the Elite Eight tonight with a Final Four berth on the line. The game tips off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Here’s that game and the rest of the schedule for the 2021 women’s tournament:
|TIME (ET), TV||MATCHUP|
|Monday, March 29|
|7 p.m., ESPN||No. 1 UConn vs. No. 2 Baylor|
|9 p.m., ESPN||No. 3 Arizona vs. No. 4 Indiana|
|Tuesday, March 30|
|7 p.m., ESPN||No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 6 Texas|
|9 p.m., ESPN||No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 2 Louisville|
|Friday, April 2|
|6 p.m., ESPN||NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Semifinal|
|9:30 p.m., ESPN||NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Semifinal|
|Sunday, April 4|
|6 p.m., ESPN||NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship|
UConn vs. Baylor: History and preview
The last time the Bears and Huskies met was in January 2020, when Baylor won going away, 74-58, behind a 19-6 fourth-quarter advantage. The two teams are 4-4 all time. The first meeting came when UConn won in San Antonio, 70-50, on April 4, 2010. Here is the complete history:
|April 9, 2020||Baylor 74 , UConn 58||
|Jan. 3, 2019||Bayor 68, UConn 57||
|Nov. 17, 2016||UConn 72, Baylor 61||
|Jan. 13, 2014||UConn 66, Baylor 55||
|Feb. 18, 2013||Baylor 76, UConn 70||
|Dec. 18, 2011||Baylor 66, UConn 61||
|Nov. 16, 2010||UConn 65, Baylor 64||
|April 4, 2010||UConn 70, Baylor 50||
San Antonio, Texas
This time, UConn has the slight edge, at least if only according to seed. UConn is the No. 1 seed in the region to Baylor’s No. 2 seed.
Geno Auriemma isn’t buying that. “I think (Baylor was) under-seeded,” he said, per baylorbears.com. “Explain to me how they’re a No. 2 seed. These things happen, I know, but I think they deserved to be a No. 1 seed if you look around the rest of the tournament. And how we ended up in the same region, that’s even more shocking, given how good they are.”
It’s Baylor that is technically the reigning national champion as the Bears went 37-1 in 2019, knocking off Notre Dame 82-81 in the national championship game. It was Baylor’s third national championship under coach Kim Mulkey, while UConn has won 11 titles under Auriemma.
“I think the history of both programs speak for themselves,” Mulkey said.
UConn defeated No. 16 seed High Point, No. 8 seed Syracuse and No. 5 seed Iowa to advance to the Elite Eight, while Baylor knocked off No. 15 seed Jackson State, No. 7 seed Virginia Tech and No. 6 seed Michigan.
These are two of the best shooting teams in the country, with the Huskies shooting a national-best 51.9 percent from the field, ahead of the Bears at 48.7 percent, which ranks fourth. Baylor is first in field-goal defense (32.3 percent) and UConn is fourth (33.3 percent).
If you want to see high-level shot-making and high-level defense, this game is for you.
To no surprise, like almost any UConn-Baylor matchup, some of the country’s premier, individual scorers will be on display. UConn’s Paige Bueckers, the sensational freshman who’s averaging 19.8 points, is shooting 53 percent from the field and 46 percent from three. Bueckers has scored 18, 20 and 24 points in UConn’s last three NCAA tournament games, respectively, with two near-triple-doubles. Her teammates Christyn Williams (16.0 ppg), Olivia Nelson-Ododa (12.7 ppg) and Aaliyah Edwards (11.1 ppg) also average in double figures.
Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith (18.2 ppg, 56.4-percent shooting). Smith had 20 points and 12 rebounds in her last game against UConn — that 74-58 win in Connecticut. Like UConn, Baylor has four players who average in double figures: Smith, DiJonai Carrington (13.8 ppg), Moon Ursin (12.6 ppg) and Queen Egbo (11.2 ppg).
UConn has made the Final Four in each of the last 12 NCAA tournaments, while Baylor is attempting to become the first repeat national champion since UConn.