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Shannon Scovel | | March 30, 2019

Eight facts to know about the Elite Eight teams in the women's basketball tournament

Notre Dame punches ticket to women's Elite Eight

The second day of the women's basketball Sweet 16 went chalk — top-ranked Baylor and Notre Dame advanced over South Carolina and Texas A&M, and No. 2 seeds Iowa and Stanford also booked their tickets to the Elite Eight with wins over North Carolina State and Missouri State. 

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The Bears, Fighting Irish, Hawkeyes and Cardinal will join No. 2 UConn, No. 2 Oregon, No. 1 Mississippi State and No. 1 Louisville in the star-studded Elite Eight, but before games start Sunday, here are eight facts that you need to know about the eights teams still remaining in this year's tournament. 

1. UConn will play in its 14th consecutive Elite Eight, but for the first time in 13 years, the Huskies won't play as a No. 1 seed. Geno Auriemma's squad posted two losses in the regular season to earn a No. 2 seed in its region, and this year's Huskies will face their biggest challenge in the tournament so far when they take on No. 1 Louisville in the first game of the Elite Eight. The Cardinals beat UConn 79-68 in their earlier battle this year, but UConn will be looking for redemption when they take the floor at the Times Union Center on Sunday. 

UConn advances to women's Elite Eight

2. Notre Dame will look to defend its national title and look to become the first team other than UConn to go back-to-back since Pat Summitt and the Tennessee Volunteers accomplished the feat in 2007 and 2008. All five of Notre Dame's starters are averaging double-digit point totals per game, and they look to be a good position, as a team, to make another deeper run in this tournament. 

3. Stanford, Baylor and Notre Dame are the only teams other than UConn to have won a title. All three of these teams have won two. The Cardinal took home the program's first championship in 1990 under head coach Tara VanDerveer and earned a second title two years later. Notre Dame became the second of this year's Elite Eight teams to win a championship in 2001 with a close 68-66 win over Purdue, led by head coach Muffet McGraw. The Fighting Irish needed another 17 years to pick up their second national win. Baylor has been a more recent success, picking up its first title in 2005 and adding a second in 2012. Since then, the women's game has been almost entirely dominated by the UConn Huskies, but all three of these teams will be looking to stop Geno Auriemma and Co. in this year's tournament for a third title. 

Baylor knocks off South Carolina, advances to Elite Eight

4. Sabrina Ionescu has been breaking records all season, and she's not slowing down. The Oregon junior holds the record for the most triple-doubles in NCAA history with eighteen, and eight of those have come this season. She's averaging 19.5 points, 7.2 assists and 6.9 rebounds, meaning she's a threat in all corners of the floor.

Oregon punches ticket to women's Elite Eight

5. Megan Gustafson has been equally impressive, hitting double-doubles in her three last tournament games and averaging 27 points in those performances. The senior Hawkeye is going out strong, and this Elite Eight matchup against Baylor will give her a chance to keep that dream alive. In the battle against the Bears, she'll face-off against another senior in Kalani Brown who has been averaging 15.5 points per game. This will be a classic battle between two veterans hoping to extend their seasons, and it sets up this year's Elite Eight game to be one for the ages. The winner of this game will take on the winner of Mississippi State vs. Oregon. 

Iowa women's Elite Eight bound

6. Speaking of records, Mississippi State's Teaira McCowan also has an NCAA record to her name. McCowan secured her 225th career rebound in Friday's game against Arizona State to pass Sylvia Fowles on the all-time tournament rebounding list. She'll come into Sunday's game against Oregon aiming to add to that total and further separate herself from the field. But she can do more than rebound. McCowan is also a scoring machine who has scored double-digit points in all but two of her games this season. Look for McCowan to stuff the stat sheet when she takes the court. 

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7. UConn may be one of the most successful women's basketball dynasties in recent years, but Tara VanDerveer and Stanford have also been piling up Final Four appearances. The Cardinal leader has been at the helm of the Stanford program since 1978, and in that time, she has captured two titles with Stanford and advanced to 12 Final Fours. She also recorded her 1,000 career win last year and has only been adding to her resume since. A Stanford win against Notre Dame would not only stop the defending national champions from adding another trophy to the Fighting Irish collection, but it would also keep Stanford's hope alive for winning its first title in over two decades. 

8. Louisville's leading scorer, Asia Durr, is chasing program and national records in her Elite Eight game against UConn on Sunday, as she currently sits just two points short of second all-time at Louisville for points scored during the NCAA tournament. She's also ranked 16th nationally this year for points per game. The athlete in 15th? UConn's Napheesa Collier. The Husky is averaging just .1 more points per game than Durr at 21.3, but the Cardinals will be aiming to top Collier and push her team past UConn for the second time this season during the Elite Eight matchup.

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