As usual, UConn is favored to win the WBB National Title. But as we saw last year, being the favorite doesn’t even mean you’ll make it to the finals. So Swish Appeal is going to give you reasons why each of the other three teams could win it all.
First up is the long shot - Notre Dame. Earlier this season, Notre Dame played UConn and lost by only 9 points. The only team to lose by fewer to the Huskies this year was Texas. UConn has a +37.1 scoring margin average this year, so losing by only 9 points means their team was actually able to compete. They were leading big late in that one, so who’s to say the Fighting Irish can’t pull off a win this time? And if you can beat UConn, you should be able to beat any other team (although we have seen that this doesn’t always hold true...)
Getting down to the team itself, the Fighting Irish have the advantage of strong shooting efficiency. They average 1.14 points per shot attempt and 115 points per 100 possessions. Notre Dame doesn’t tend to take a lot of 3-pointers, which could be a problem against an offensive powerhouse like UConn. The Fighting Irish are led by Arike Ogunbowale, who averages 21 points per game, and Jessica Shepard, who averages 16 points and 8 rebounds per game.
The final reason to believe that Notre Dame could pull this off? Tenacity. This squad lost 4 (four!!!) players to ACL tears this season and is playing with a shortened bench. But despite that adversity, the Fighting Irish have fought their way up in the rankings and all the way to the Final Four. You can never count out a team with the amount of fight and heart that this Notre Dame team has.
(Author’s Note: Dear Boston College - I’m sorry I had to write nice things about Notre Dame. Please forgive me.)