Hoping for a UConn upset in March

Devon Greene, Sports Editor

The University of Connecticut Huskies have dominated women’s basketball for what seems like eternity, so when March Madness rolls around, it hard to get excited for the women’s tournament when it feels like UConn is going to win every year. But even when a team as dominate as the Huskies reign over their sport, we’re forced to look and enjoy other players and teams.

One of the most fun players I’ve seen in this tournament is a sophomore coming from the University of Oregon, Sabrina Ionescu. I’d never heard of her before the tournament and hadn’t heard of her until New York Times’ best selling author and leader of the “FOH Army” Shea Serrano, started praising her on Twitter. Ionescu has been one of the standout players of the tournament and has set the tone for the Ducks as they have marched along to the Elite Eight.

Ionescu opened up the tournament with a triple-double against the Redhawks of Seattle University. Her path of destruction continued in the next game against the University of Minnesota Gophers where she dropped 29 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. The University of Central Michigan was the most recent victim of the Ionescu super tornado as they fell 83-69, with the sophomore forward falling only one rebound shy of another triple-double.

Ionescu is averaging 21.3 points, 10 assists and 8.7 rebounds through the first three games of the tournament and has captivated the nation as we hope for another team that could dethrone the Huskies. Oregon has looked the part so far. They are one of the highest scoring teams in the nation, averaging 82.6 points per game, only 6.7 points behind UConn.

Oregon has their toughest matchup tonight as they face the Fighting Irish from University of Notre Dame. Notre Dame has been tearing through their competition so far and has only come close to dropping out in their last matchup against Texas A&M University. Texas A&M were able to stay so close due to another one of the standouts of March Madness, freshman sensation Chennedy Carter.

Carter star has shined as bright as anyone’s in the tournament so far, and it shone the brightest in the Aggies game against DePaul University. The freshman displayed no fear and put up her highest shot total of the season at 30. She sank 19 of them and scored 37 points in the shootout but her last three were by far the most important.

With the Aggies down by two with a little over 10 seconds left on the clock, Carter snatched down a rebound and dribbled up the court. Two defenders were standing up at the three-point line and Carter snatched both of their souls with a quick double between the leg dribble which freed her up to go for the game winning three-point shot. The shot fell and the raw, visceral reaction that came from Carter can only be described as a human nuclear bomb. She turned around and punched the air with such ferocity that a slight “ouch” could be heard from the wind. She stomped her feet on the court so hard that it is a miracle that the floor didn’t snap in half and create a new fault line. But one of the most miraculous parts of the play was that the game wasn’t over yet. There were still 2.8 seconds left on the clock and Carter couldn’t have cared less. Luckily, DePaul called a timeout and she wasn’t caught off-guard during her celebration and the Aggies went on to win the game. The Fighting Irish eliminated Carter and the Aggies, but we can bet that she will come back next season even better and ready to dominate the tournament in 2019.

Finally, the number one player in the nation. A’Ja Wilson of the University of South Carolina. Wilson is a 6-foot-5 forward and has averaged a staggering 22.9 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game this season. She can also dunk which gives me hope that she will decide to dunk on the 6-foot-6 forward, Azura Stephens of UConn in their matchup tonight. Wilson will need to put together the best game of her career if she wants to lead the Aggies over the Huskies in the Elite Eights. She has performed up to expectations in the tournament so far, recording a double- double in all three of their games so far but the Huskies are a different animal. Their chances don’t look great at beating Geno Auriemma and the juggernaut in Connecticut but with the number one player in the country, they can’t be counted out completely.

Upsets are quite common in March, and in the women’s tournament, every single spectator outside of Storrs, Connecticut wants to see that one team who can take down that dynasty. Mississippi State University revitalized the entire world in 2017 when Morgan Williams snapped UConn’s 111-game win streak on a midrange buzzer beater. We can only hope that chaos rules supreme once again and one of these teams can take down the dynasty in Storrs.