April 4, 2022 

Daily Briefing — April 4, 2022: TEAM OF DESTANNI — South Carolina dominates UConn for second national title

Cocks call game

It’s Monday, I’m sorry. Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the NCAA Roundup and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 136 of college basketball was here, with South Carolina racing to an early lead and crushing a late UConn push, for the Gamecocks’ second NCAA tournament title. South Carolina won its first championship in 2017 — then the first non-UConn title since 2012 — and adding a second March Madness win five years later, capped with a win over the Huskies from an entirely different Gamecock roster, is as symbolic of a seizing of the torch as I can imagine.

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Dawn Staley has two rings. Aliyah Boston and Destanni Henderson have a ring. Columbia, S.C. is the center of the college basketball world for the foreseeable future.

Now, onto the draft.

NCAA Roundup

Coaching carousel

  • UCF: Hired Sytia Messer away from LSU to be its next head coach. She had been working under Kim Mulkey since 2014, when the two were at Baylor.
  • Delaware: Hired Sarah Jenkins away from Penn State to be the next head coach. Jenkins replaces her former boss Natasha Adair (who left to go to Arizona State), having previously worked for Adair at Delaware (2017-2021) and Jenkins’ alma mater Georgetown.

Transfer portal

Out of the portal:

  • Naomie Alnatas: The point guard out of Kansas City committed to Oklahoma State, following the move of her head coach, Jacie Hoyt.

Sunday, April 3 recap

(All rankings below reflect tournament seeding)

#1 South Carolina beat #2 UConn, 64-49, for its second title in the past five tournaments. The Gamecocks opened on a 13-2 run to force a Husky timeout, and led by as much as 18 in the first half; UConn drew within six points in the late third quarter, to which South Carolina responded with a 14-4 run. The Gamecocks were out-shot from both the field and from three, but took six more attempts and 22 more free-throws; South Carolina had a +25 rebounding margin, including a 21-6 advantage in offensive boards; the Huskies committed 21 fouls.

All-Final Four point guard Destanni Henderson led the Gamecocks with a career-high 26 points on 9-for-20 from the field, 3-for-6 from three, and 5-for-6 from the line, four assists, and three steals against two turnovers; Final Four Most Outstanding Player center Aliyah Boston recorded an 11-point, 16-rebound double-double on 3-for-8 FG (5-8 FT) with five offensive boards, three assists, and two blocks against three turnovers; All-Final Four wing Zia Cooke scored 11 points on 5-for-13 shooting (0-4 3pt.) with five rebounds.

All-Final Four point guard Paige Bueckers led UConn with 14 points on 6-for-13 from the field (1-3 3pt.), six rebounds, and two assists in 39 minutes; off-ball guard Azzi Fudd only played 16 minutes (scoring three points on 1-3 FG), on account of being sick; backup off-ball guard Caroline Ducharme scored nine points on 4-for-8 shooting (1-3 3pt.).

Joining Henderson, Boston, Cooke, and Bueckers on the All-Final Four team was Stanford point wing Haley Jones.

Credit for today’s boldhead goes to The Chronicle sports managing editor Sasha Richie

Written by Em Adler

Em Adler (she/they) covers the WNBA at large and college basketball for The Next, with a focus on player development and the game behind the game.

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