NCAA Women’s Elite Eight Previews

A preview and prediction for all four Elite Eight matchups for the NCAA Women's Tournament.
Basketball

A look at each Elite Eight game with two games on Sunday and two on Monday. By Monday night we’ll know which teams will be in the Final Four. 

Sunday, March 31

No. 3 Oregon State vs. No. 1 South Carolina, 1 p.m. ET

Oregon State squeezed by Notre Dame by being efficient on offense but they’ll have to play much better if they want to pull the upset on South Carolina. In that game against Notre Dame they had 26 turnovers but thanks to shooting 60.4% they were able to get the win. They were led by Raegan Beers and Timea Gardiner who both had double-doubles. Beers had 18 points and 13 rebounds while Gardiner had 21 points and 11 rebounds. The key for Oregon State is going to be Beers; she’s been their leader all season if she has another great game the Beavers could stay in this one. 

South Carolina got a scare against Indiana but they were able to come away with a 79-75 win. South Carolina had a 22-point lead that they almost saw slip away as Indiana mounted a comeback but they were able to hold on and advance. Kamilla Cardoso led the team in scoring with 22 points. The Gamecocks will have the speed advantage over Oregon State and if they can replicate what Notre Dame did to force turnovers and steals against the Beavers this should be their game to lose. 

Prediction: South Carolina

No. 3 NC State vs. No. 1 Texas, 3 p.m. ET

NC State has found their stride this tournament and they looked very good in their 77-67 win over Stanford in the Sweet 16. After trailing at the half of that game they put up 28 points in the third quarter to come back and defeat the Cardinals. Aziaha James had a massive game for the Wolfpack with 29 points and five assists. NC State will have a tough matchup but if they can get another big game from James and keep River Baldwin out of foul trouble they could pull another upset. 

Texas has looked great this tournament and they haven’t had a close game so far but NC State will be a difficult test. In the Sweet 16, they took down Gonzaga 69-47. Yvonne Ejim had 14 points and Brynna Maxwell had 13 points in that one to lead the Longhorns. Texas did have 19 turnovers in that game and they’ll have to clean that up against an NC State team that’s good defensively. They’ve had at least 10 turnovers in each tournament game so far. 

Prediction: NC State 

Monday, April 1 

No. 3 LSU vs. No. 1 Iowa, 7:15 p.m. ET

It’s the matchup that was talked about when the bracket came out, a 2023 National Championship rematch. LSU knocked off Iowa in that championship game 102-85 but this could be the game where Iowa gets their revenge. 

LSU has not looked great this tournament but they’ve found ways to win. In the Sweet 16, they knocked out UCLA 78-69 led by Flau’jae Johnson who had 24 points and 12 rebounds. Angel Reese had another double-double as well with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Defensively, LSU is going to have to be very good if they want to send Iowa packing again and they’ll have to win the rebound battle. 

Iowa looked like they were on a mission in their Sweet 16 win over Colorado. They shot a 53.8 field goal percentage but they were 9/22 from three-point range. If Iowa can knock down threes against LSU that will be their recipe for success. LSU isn’t a great three-point shooting team so finding success from behind the arc will be a key. Caitlin Clark looked clinical against Colorado with 29 points and 15 assists. The Hawkeyes had all five of their starters in double digits and if they continue to shoot the ball well and take the pressure off Clark this Iowa team will be difficult to beat. 

Prediction: Iowa 

No. 3 UConn vs. No. 1 USC, 9:15 p.m. ET

This is going to be a fun matchup with Paige Bueckers going up against Juju Watkins. 

UConn blew a bit of a lead against Duke in their Sweet 16 matchup but they were able to come away with the 53-45 win. They don’t have much depth which could prove to be an issue for the Huskies against USC especially if Aaliyah Edwards finds herself in foul trouble again. Bueckers though has been terrific this tournament. Against Duke, she had 24 points and has scored at least 20 points in each of their tournament games. 

USC survived a scare against Baylor in the Sweet 16 and escaped with a 74-70 win. Juju Watkins led the way with 30 points in an impressive performance. Rayah Marshall was also a key part of the win with 11 points and 16 rebounds. If USC can control the pace of this game and get early fouls on UConn they could come away with the win. 

Prediction: UConn 

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