June 16, 2023 

Hall of Fame Showcase features multiple top matchups

Florida State, North Carolina, South Carolina, UCLA, UConn and Utah will compete

This week, the Naismith Hall of Fame announced the lineup for its 10th annual Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase, sponsored by Invesco QQQ. The Showcase will be hosted by Mohegan Sun Arena, the home of the Connecticut Sun, with all six teams playing on December 10.

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The one-day tournament will feature six highly touted teams, with Florida State matching up with UCLA, South Carolina playing Utah, and UConn facing off against North Carolina.

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The Seminoles return Ta’Niya Latson, who led the ACC in points per game last year as a freshman while being named All-ACC First Team and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American, and setting the record for points as a freshman in the ACC with 659. Latson’s athleticism and scoring ability promise a fun matchup with UCLA’s strong backcourt, led by fifth year senior Charisma Osborne. Osborne surprised some people when she elected to use her fifth year rather than to enter the WNBA draft this spring. The four-year starter and three-time First Team All-Pac-12 honoree is back to continue UCLA’s quest towards a championship with two All-Freshman guards in Kiki Rice and Londynn Jones, as well as Lauren Betts, the 6’7 Stanford transfer who will make an big impact alongside the talented guard play of UCLA.

The South Carolina Gamecocks, led by Dawn Staley, lost immense talent in the WNBA draft this year, with five players being selected, notably No. 1 overall pick Aliyah Boston, who is already impressing at the next level. Raven Johnson and Bree Hall return for South Carolina, as well as 6’7 Kamilla Cardoso, who was named the SEC’s 2023 Sixth Woman of the Year. The Gamecocks also added backcourt strength in Te-Hina Paopao, the Oregon standout who brings high-percentage outside shooting to a team that struggled with that last year. They’ll match up against Utah, who had a program-best season last year, entering the NCAA Tournament as a second seed, before losing a close game to eventual champion LSU. Utah returns all five starters, including Pac-12 Player of the Year Alissa Pili, who averaged 20.7 points per game last year on 59 percent shooting.

UConn won’t have to travel far to play at Mohegan Sun, where they’ll match up against North Carolina. UConn struggled with injury last year, losing Paige Bueckers in preseason to an ACL tear, and Azzi Fudd missing time periodically due to knee injury. If both of these players remain healthy alongside strong post presence Aaliyah Edwards, UConn will be an immense challenge for North Carolina. Husky fans also look forward to Ice Brady’s return, which will be a fun matchup against veteran North Carolina players Deja Kelly and Alyssa Ustby. Despite a few transfer portal losses, North Carolina added Lexi Donarski, last year’s Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, who will contribute immediately to head coach Courtney Banghart’s tenacious defense.

Thet tournament promises exciting matchups with some of the nation’s best players and coaches on a larger stage. Cori Close, who has served as UCLA’s head coach since 2011, shared with the Hall of Fame, “The bottom line for us is that we feel like we’re going to have a high-level team, and in order to realize that potential, you’ve got to play against the very best and high-level opponents. To have the national coverage as well as the great competition all in one place, not only does it help prepare us to be at our best, but it also helps grow the game. We’re thrilled to be a part of it!”

Times and broadcast details have yet to be announced. Fans can purchase tickets on Ticketmaster starting Friday, September 8. 

Written by Cameron Ruby

Cameron Ruby has been a contributing writer for The Next since April 2023. She is a Bay Area native currently living in Los Angeles.

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