The NCAA Tournament is a funny thing. It can make or break a season. The regular season sometimes doesn't matter to the fans - what only matters is what you do in March.
Tonight in Lincoln, Neb. the UConn women's basketball team is 40 minutes away from heading to the Final Four in Nashville. They face a Texas A&M (27-8) team that is determine to pull off the upset.
Texas A&M coach Gary Blair likes the odds his team faces. He realizes that his team only has to beat UConn once in a 40-minute game.
Geno Auriemma and his Huskies know that and realize the urgency of the moment. They experienced it first hand in the regional semifinals against Brigham Young.
The top-seeded Huskies (37-0) got a scare during the first 25 minutes of their Sweet 16 match-up with BYU this past Saturday. UConn only led 30-29 at the half and were tied at 37 with under-15 minutes to play. Then the Huskies just went on one of those patented run and won 70-51.
They mainly struggled shooting the ball (39.4%), while the Cougars were able to keep pace and managing a lead until the final seconds of the first half. Breanna Stewart started the game missing her first six shots, eventually finishing the game with 16 points on six-for-19 from the floor. As a team, UConn was three-for-19 from three-point range.
Eventually, BYU's shot did not fall in the second half and the Huskies were able to pull away. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 19 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. Stefanie Dolson, who was plagued with foul trouble, finished with nine points and 13 rebounds. Bria Hartley (12 points) and Moriah Jefferson (11 points) also scored in double figures.
Texas A&M comes into tonight's match-up with regional semifinal win against DePaul 84-65. The Aggies had five players in double figures. They do not shoot the three, but play great perimeter defense. This game will be determined on which team can run their offense the best.
The winner advances to the national semifinals next Sunday night and will play the winner of the Stanford Regional between Stanford and North Carolina.
With a win by the Huskies, they will be looking to join the men's team in another Final Four. This has been accomplished three previous times (2004, 2009, 2011) with at least one team winning a national championship. In 2004, both teams won their respective national titles.