Women’s NCAA tournament 2022 – UConn’s double-overtime win over NC State an instant classic


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — By the point the primary additional time tipped off Monday evening within the Bridgeport Regional closing of the 2022 ladies’s NCAA event, the sport was already an instantaneous traditional.

By no means thoughts that the No. 1 seed NC State Wolfpack and second-seeded UConn would play 10 extra minutes earlier than the Huskies sealed a visit to the Closing 4 with a 91-87 double-overtime victory.

The 2 groups had battled all evening, UConn searching for its 14th consecutive journey to the nationwide semifinals, NC State chasing its first Closing 4 since 1998.

All of it added as much as one spectacular recreation: Two overtimes. 13 lead modifications. 9 ties. The gang at Complete Mortgage Enviornment roaring all evening because the groups traded baskets.

The main points made this the sport of the ladies’s NCAA event to date. Whilst upsets dominated the primary two rounds and two 10-seeds made it to the Candy 16, this was the sport that captured the epitome of March Insanity: Two heavyweights battling for the chance to make it to Minneapolis and compete for a nationwide championship.

This was a recreation the place UConn was a four-point favourite over the area’s high seed largely as a result of this recreation was in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a stone’s throw from the UConn campus in Storrs. Vivid Seats’ Fan Forecast estimated that 84% of the group was cheering for UConn, and every time the group cheered following a key basket or a compelled turnover, the noise felt prefer it exploded in your chest.

However this was additionally a recreation the place irrespective of whose facet you have been on, you can really feel your coronary heart beat in your ears and a lump rested proper on the high of your throat. As a result of there have been stakes. UConn hadn’t missed a Closing 4 since 2007, and NC State hadn’t been in 24 years. The Wolfpack had been eradicated in three consecutive Candy 16s. Whilst upbeat music pumped by the audio system, the group barely clapped alongside. As a result of who may clap in rhythm throughout a time like this?

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Jakia Brown-Turner drills 3-pointer with 0.eight seconds remaining to maintain NC State alive.

This was a recreation the place in case you thought it was over, you have been mistaken. UConn bought out to an early 10-point lead, however then NC State seemed prefer it was going to repeat its Candy 16 victory over Notre Dame by rallying to take a late lead. Then UConn seemed prefer it had the sport within the bag … till NC State’s Jakia Brown-Turner hit a nook Three with lower than a second on the clock to ship it right into a second additional time.

This was a recreation the place big-time gamers stepped up in huge moments. UConn sophomore Paige Bueckers — the reigning nationwide participant of the 12 months who missed 19 video games with a knee harm and solely returned Feb. 25 — hit the opening basket of the second additional time, a pull-up 3-pointer from the highest of the important thing, and adopted it with a leaning pull-up jumper simply contained in the arc the following possession. And with the season on the road for NC State, trailing by 5, Kai Crutchfield aka “Clutchfield” hit her second 3-pointer of the additional intervals to drag NC State inside two with 3:03 left within the recreation.

This was a recreation the place newcomers seized the second. UConn freshman Azzi Fudd poured in 19 factors, however shined when the highlight was at its brightest. With the clock waning within the fourth quarter, Fudd was there to chip in a bucket when UConn wanted it. And with the Huskies up by one with lower than a minute left within the recreation, Fudd drove to the appropriate, sucked within the NC State protection, and, as she fell again on her heels, dished the ball to sophomore Aaliyah Edwards, who laid it in to increase UConn’s lead.

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Christyn Williams scores within the closing seconds of double additional time as UConn survives towards NC State to achieve its 14th straight Closing 4.

This was a recreation the place everybody put their our bodies on the road. The 2 groups battled within the paint all evening, the place UConn scored 40 factors and NC State had 44. The sounds of jerseys and pores and skin and sweat sliding towards the hardwood have been the beats beneath the cacophony of cheers and whistles. When senior guard Evina Westbrook discovered herself caught with an unfavorable matchup within the lane, she stretched her fingertips to tip the ball to a teammate. And anybody who was on the block or attempting to maneuver by the lane was a human pinball. Cutters beware.

This was a recreation everybody deserved to win. Because the time went to zero and Bueckers — a Minnesota native who completed with a game-high 27 factors — screamed in triumph to the group, the Wolfpack huddled on the sideline earlier than strolling off the courtroom, 4 of them for presumably the final time in faculty, as their small part of followers proudly held the Wolfpack signal within the air. Sporting their celebratory caps and shirts, the Huskies have been topped regional champions. The area’s Most Excellent Participant, Bueckers hit the dance often known as the Griddy as her teammates bathed her in a confetti bathe.

However because the gamers embraced each other and their households, and the remaining crowd clamored for photographs and autographs, one factor was clear.

This was a recreation to recollect.

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