It’s been an exciting year for college basketball. March Madness did not disappoint and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area saw its University of Maryland Terrapins make an impressive run to the Final Four in Nashville, TN. The Lady Terps were the only fourth seeded team to make it to Music City, facing off against Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish.
The Terps’ march to college basketball’s biggest stage wasn’t easy, with many believing they wouldn’t be able to make a deep run into the tournament. With dominate names like Connecticut (UConn), Notre Dame, Tennessee, Louisville and Stanford, predictions had the Final Four games stacked with regional top seeds. On the shoulders of their senior guard, Alyssa Thomas, the Terps sent Tennessee packing in the Sweet 16 and withstood the press of Louisville during the Elite Eight winning 76-73.
With its first appearance in the Final Four since the team won it all in 2006, the Terps faced a tough match up with Notre Dame who entered the game undefeated. The Fighting Irish proved to be too much for the Lady Terps with Notre Dame moving on to face undefeated UConn in the championship game.
That game was touted to be the match-up of the season. Two undefeated teams going head-to-head for the title, which had never happened in the men or women’s game. Heading into the championship game, Notre Dame came with a balanced approach of shot makers and skilled defenders. The Irish were able to beat Maryland at its own game winning 87-61 by crashing the glass and scoring points in the paint. Even without their senior leader, Natalie Achonwa, Notre Dame looked like they could give the Connecticut Huskies a run for their money.
The Huskies came into the championship game looking much sharper than they had in the beginning of their other NCAA tournament games. UConn stars Breanna Stewart and Stefanie Dolson set the tone for the game early, scoring easily and locking in on defense. Cruising to a 79-58 victory, UConn demonstrated its dominance in women’s college basketball and brought home a ninth championship title for Coach Geno Auriemma, closing out at perfect season (40-0). This title win broke the tie between Auriemma and legendary Coach Pat Summitt for the number of national titles won by a single women’s basketball program.
Both the women and men’s Connecticut basketball programs won the NCAA national championship, making it the second time in ten years. UConn has established itself as a basketball powerhouse, never losing when its teams make it to the title game.
With the season over, talented seniors from across the country turn their attention to the WNBA draft set for Monday, April 14 at Mohegan Sun arena in Connecticut. Thomas has had a record breaking season at Maryland and it will be interesting to see how she adapts her game at the next level. For a full listing of WNBA draft prospects click here.