basketball-women-d1 flag

Mitchell Northam | | April 5, 2019

Women’s Final Four preview: Baylor, UConn, Notre Dame, Oregon set to dance in Tampa

How Sabrina Ionescu became NCAA's leader in triple-doubles

The field is set: Baylor, Notre Dame, UConn and Oregon.

Two No. 1 seeds and two No. 2 seeds. On Sunday in Tampa, Florida, one of them will be crowned as champions of women’s college basketball.

The Final Four is scheduled to tip off Friday night. Here’s everything you need to know about each team.

2019 CHAMPIONSHIP: Final Four info | View the bracket | Print the bracket


Head coach: Kim Mulkey, 17th season

Record: 35-1

How they got here: The Lady Bears haven’t lost since Dec. 15, 2018. They beat Iowa State for the Big 12 title, then rolled over Abilene Christian, Cal, South Carolina and Iowa to get to the Final Four, winning each of those games by an average margin of 38.2 points. It’s the fourth time Mulkey has taken the Lady Bears to the Final Four.

Starters (points per-game): Chloe Jackson (11.4), DiDi Richards (7.0), Juicy Landrum (11.3), Lauren Cox (12.9), Kalani Brown (15.5)

Top bench player: Moon Ursin is a versatile sophomore guard, who shoots 42.1 percent from behind the arc and grabs a rebound every 5.1 minutes. She had three rebounds and two points in just six minutes of play vs. South Carolina, and scored 12 points in a Big 12 tournament win over Texas Tech.

CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: Check out the best performances in the women's basketball tournament

Outlook: Baylor may be the most well-rounded team in the Final Four. They rank seventh in scoring offense and defense, putting up an average of 81.9 points per-game while holding opponents to an average of 54.3 points per-game. Leading the charge are its twin towers, Cox and Brown, who combine to average 28.4 points, 16.4 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per-game. Directing the offense is Jackson, a grad transfer from LSU who has nearly tripled her assist total from last season as she transitioned into playing point guard. The Lady Bears have already beaten UConn this year — by 11 points — and will give Oregon everything they can handle.

LOOKING BACK: Here are 5 of the most surprising runs in women's NCAA tournament history


Head coach: Geno Auriemma, 34th season

Record: 35-2

How they got here: The Huskies easily pushed through the American Athletic Conference tournament, then beat Towson and Buffalo before taking close wins against UCLA and Louisville to appear in their 12th consecutive Final Four.

Starters (points per-game): Napheesa Collier (21.0), Christyn Williams (11.5), Crystal Dangerfield (13.7), Megan Walker (12.0), Katie Lou Samuelson (18.5)

Top bench player: A 6-4 freshman from Winder Barrow, Georgia, Olivia Nelson-Ododa plays about 14 minutes per game and puts up averages of 4.4 points and 3.8 rebounds. She’s a rim protector too, having the second-most blocks on the team with 53. She had nine points and three rebounds in UConn’s first round win over Towson.

Outlook: Some say it was a down-year for UConn because they lost a pair of regular season games and were given a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. That’s the type of expectation for excellence that Auriemma’s teams have built up. With two of the best players in the country leading the way, Collier and Samuelson, UConn has shown it can compete against anyone, anytime, anywhere. While facing rival Notre Dame in Tampa Bay won’t be a walk in the park, UConn has a decent shot at winning its first title since 2016.

NATIONAL STATS: Individual and team leaders in the 2018-19 season

Notre Dame

Head coach: Muffet McGraw, 31st season

Record: 34-3

How they got here: After slipping up against Miami on Feb. 7, the Irish haven’t lost since. They ended the regular season on a six-game winning streak, beat North Carolina, Syracuse and Louisville for the ACC title, smashed Bethune Cookman and Michigan State in the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament, then survived Texas A&M and Stanford to reach their second straight Final Four.

Starters (points per-game): Marina Mabrey (12.5), Jackie Young (15.1), Brianna Turner (14.4), Jessica Shepard (16.8), Arike Ogunbowale (21.5)

Top bench player: Abby Prohaska is a 5-foot-10 freshman guard from Ohio who has made an immediate impact. She leads all Irish reserves in minutes played, seeing 536 minutes of action over 36 contests, and averages 1.6 points and 1.9 rebounds per-game. She also leads all Irish bench players in assists (42) and steals (30).

Outlook: The Irish escaped a scare against Stanford in the Elite Eight. They trailed 33-26 at halftime, then outscored the Cardinal 58-35 in the second half. Notre Dame has the best offense in the nation, scoring an average of 89.1 points per-game. With another talented top-to-bottom roster, McGraw’s team is set to defend its 2018 national championship.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Unusual path for Baylor's Chloe Jackson | Grambling's Shakyla Hill makes NCAA history


Head coach: Kelly Graves, 5th season

Record: 33-4

How they got here: The Ducks lost in the Pac-12 title game to Stanford, but have rolled since then, beating Portland State, Indiana, South Dakota State and Mississippi State on their way to the first Final Four appearance in school history.

Starters (point per-game): Satou Sabally (16.6), Maite Cazorla (9.8), Sabrina Ionescu (19.9), Erin Boley (12.4), Ruthy Hebard (16.4)

Top bench player: Oti Gildon is an experienced and versatile veteran. The 6-1 senior from Spokane, Washington plays 14.6 minutes per-game and averages 4.6 points and 3.5 rebounds each contest. She’s a solid free throw shooter, and also makes 58.6 percent of all of her shots from the floor.

HISTORY: Longest NCAA tournament appearance streaks in women's college basketball

Outlook: This Oregon team will go as far as Ionescu and its three-point shooting takes them. A 5-11 junior from California, Ionescu holds the NCAA’s career triple-double record and leads the country in assists, dishing out 305 this season. She’s also the 12th best three-point shooter in the country, making 43.3 percent of her shots from behind the arc, while teammate Boley shoots 43.6 percent from outside. Oregon is the best three-point shooting team in the country, making 41.9 percent of its shots from downtown. If Ionescu and the Ducks get rolling, they can be hard to beat.

Mitchell Northam is a graduate of Salisbury University. His work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, SB Nation, FanSided, USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times. He grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore and is now based in Durham, N.C.

2023 Big 12 softball: Bracket, schedule, scores, TV times for the tournament

The 2023 Big 12 softball bracket, schedule and scores for the conference tournament, played May 11-13 in Oklahoma City.

All-time best performances in the NCAA women's basketball tournament

We dug into the record books to compile a list of the best all-time performances by players in the women's NCAA tournament.

Schools with the most DI women's basketball national championships

UConn has more DI women's college basketball titles than any other program. Here's a look at the women’s basketball teams that have won two or more national championships.

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from and our partners