It doesn’t matter if you’re an avid women’s college basketball follower or a casual betting enthusiast that is looking to cash in on this year’s Women’s NCAA Tournament, possibly for the first time ever. Women’s college basketball followers everywhere know the Connecticut Huskies have the best NCAA Basketball odds to bag this year’s national championship, which by the way, would give UConn and unprecedented four consecutive national titles. With the Huskies huge favorites to bag this year’s national championship, let’s look at UConn and the four teams I believe have the best chances of upsetting the Huskies.
NCAA Division I Women’s Final Four
When: April 3, 2016
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
NCAA Division I Women’s Championship Game: April 5 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
The 2016 NCAA Women’s Final Four will be the third time that Indianapolis has hosted the event. Final Four games will be played on April 3, with the two national semifinal games at 6:00 and 8:30 PM ET, and the national championship game being held on April 5 at 8:30 PM ET.
NCAA Women Basketball Championship Picks
UConn is such a huge favorite, that gaming enthusiasts will need to wager $900 just to win $100. UConn has won 69 consecutive games and an insane 63 straight games by double digits against teams in the American Athletic Conference.
The Huskies women’s teams have also previously had mind-boggling winning streaks of 70 wins (2001-2003) and 90 wins (2008-2011). The Huskies are led by star senior Breanna Stewart. The 6’4″ forward is averaging 19.2 points on a stellar 58.2 percent shooting while grabbing 8.3 rebounds per game. Senior guard Moriah Jefferson (12.6 PPG, 5.4 APG) and redshirt junior forward Morgan Tuck (12.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG) contribute 25.1 points per game and the rest of Geno Auriemma’s team is full of high school All-Americans that would likely be starters at other schools.
Notre Dame lost just one game this season, unfortunately it was a 91-81 loss to Connecticut that left a bad taste in the mouth of the Fighting Irish. ACC Tournament MVP Madison Cable finished the season ranked third in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage, at a blistering 47.6 percent. Cable is also an active defender that averages nearly two steals per game. Freshman Marina Mabrey and backup Hannah Huffman give the Irish arguably the best backcourt in the nation. If the Irish can get some solid play from their frontcourt to counter UConn’s Stewart, who knows what could happen.
South Carolina, like Notre Dame, also went 31-1 with their only loss of the season being a 66-54 loss against UConn back on February 8. The Gamecocks will have the best chance of meeting the Huskies in the national championship simply because they have a pretty easy path to the Final Four in the Sioux Falls Region. Dawn Staley, a six-time WNBA All-Star is undoubtedly one of the very best college coaches in the country today and South Carolina has plenty of talent in players like 6’5″sophomore forward A’ja Wilson (16.4 ppg, 8.7rpg).
Fellow big Alaina Coates averages a stellar 10.1 rebounds per game, while senior guard Tiffany Mitchell adds 15.0 points per game and 35.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Mitchell was named the 2016 SEC tournament MVP.
Baylor (7 percent)
It all starts with point guard Niya Johnson for Baylor despite the fact that the pass-first floor leader averages just 7.1 points per game. Johnson averaged a nation’s best 8.7 assists per game which was 1.4 dimes more per game than any other player in the country.
Small forward Nina Davis is a Wade Trophy finalist, given to the most outstanding Division I women’s basketball player. Davis leads Baylor in scoring at 16.1 points per game and grabs 6.1 rebounds per contest. The three-time All-Big 12 first-team selection and 2015 WBCA All-American has scored in double figures in 31 games this season including a season-high-tying 30 points in the Lady Bears’ NCAA Tournament second-round victory over Auburn. Johnson is also a skilled facilitator and willing passer, but will it be enough for the Bears?
Maryland gave UConn a hard way to go in its 83-73 Maggie Dixon Classic loss in December and they could give the Huskies a problem again if they meet. Maryland has a fantastic perimeter-low post combination in forward Brionna Jones and guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough. Jones is a powerful low post scorer who put up 24 points on 12 of 14 shooting against UConn. Walker-Kimrough is a deadly outside shooter who led the nation in 3-point shooting percentage — at a Steph Curry-like 54.0 percent.