The 2022 Final Four field is set. No. 1 South Carolina, No. 1 Stanford, No. 1 Louisville and No. 2 UConn are making the trip to Minneapolis to compete for a shot at this year's national championship.
BRACKET: View the interactive bracket for the 2022 women's basketball tournament
Before the play gets underway, here are four facts to know before the Final Four.
1. Seven of the last 10 champions were in the top 15 in scoring defense
The saying goes, “defense wins championships” for a reason. Seven of the last 10 national championship teams finished in the top 15 in scoring defense including the last two champions: Stanford (2021) and Baylor (2019).
This year, only two of the Final Four teams are in the top 15: South Carolina (No. 3) and UConn (No. 14), with Louisville just outside the top 15 at No. 16. The Gamecocks have allowed on average 50.5 points per game this season.
One reason for this success has been their ability to control the paint. South Carolina leads the nation in blocks with 265, that’s 68 more than the next closest team (Georgia, 197). The Gamecocks also outrebound everyone, leading the nation in rebounds with 1,686 total (47.27 RPG). On average they also outrebound their opponents by 17.9 per game.
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2. UConn is 11-10 in Final Fours
Yes, of course, 22 Final Four appearances is an amazing accomplishment and something that should be celebrated. But the Final Four brings out the best in competitors; only the top teams are a part of the last four standing.
Four of the 10 UConn losses have come in the Huskies’ last four trips to the Final Four. That’s a lot of “fours.” Here are more “fours”: before that, UConn had won four straight titles before going into a slump, by its standards.
Notre Dame has had UConn’s number in the Final Four. The Irish are 5-1 against the Huskies in national semifinals. Good news for UConn, since this year they’re facing No. 1 Stanford. The Huskies are 3-1 in the Final Four against the Cardinal.
PAIGE GOES OFF: Watch Paige Bueckers' 27-point performance to send UConn to the Final Four
3. This is the 39th unique combination of Final Four teams
Only one of the 40 DI women’s basketball tournaments has produced a repeat Final Four: 1996 when UConn, Tennessee, Stanford and Georgia all made the semifinals together.
There are 621,682,425 different possible Final Four combinations of the 351 DI teams. There has only been 44 unique teams to make the Final Four. Out of this year’s four, UConn has 22 appearances, 15 for Stanford, Louisville and South Carolina have four a piece.
There is a chance we see a repeat championship matchup. UConn has played both Stanford and Louisville at least one time in the title game. South Carolina has faced Stanford in a Final Four before (2021), but it has never matched up with any of the other three teams in a championship game.
4. Only one team not named UConn or Tennessee has won back-to-back national titles
It's no secret that UConn and Tennessee have been the dominant forces in women’s basketball. The two have 19 of the 39 titles in the sport and are two of the three teams that won consecutive titles.
Southern California is the other and they were the first to achieve that feat in the second and third-ever DI women’s basketball championships (1983,84). Stanford now has the chance to join that elite club if they can repeat as champions.