The Carolinas capture NCAA titles

University of North Carolina earned its sixth NCAA national title in school history. Courtesy of

Although March is over, the madness continues to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I women and men’s championship games. Either by executing key offensive plays or by making history, each team­­ fought until the final buzzer.
The NCAA women’s national championship game took place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas April 2. The game featured Mississippi State University Bulldogs and South Carolina Gamecocks, each making their first-ever appearance in the tournament’s championship game.

South Carolina celebrates its first-ever NCAA women’s championship over Mississippi State.
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In the tournament’s semifinals, Mississippi State stunned the nation by defeating University of Connecticut (UConn) 66 to 64 on a last-second shot by Mississippi State point guard Ms. Morgan William in overtime. This ended UConn’s 111-game winning streak and its chance to get five consecutive national championships. South Carolina beat Princeton 62 to 53 to advance to the championship game.
Mississippi State was quick to gain the lead as Ms. Victoria Vivians hit a three-pointer to start the game and pushed the Bulldogs to a seven to one lead. Mississippi State led for all but the final 24 seconds of the first quarter. South Carolina was able to jump out to a four-point lead and end the first quarter ahead 18 to 14. South Carolina led throughout the second quarter and went into halftime leading by ten points against Mississippi State.
South Carolina continued to dominate the third quarter until Mississippi State went on a nine to zero run to bring the game within four points. South Carolina responded and led 52 to 44 going into the fourth quarter. Mississippi State got within four points several times in the fourth quarter but South Carolina was able to hold off any run. South Carolina won 67 to 55.
This win is the first national title for South Carolina, which had only made its first Final Four appearance two years earlier, according to the
South Carolina coach Ms. Dawn Staley played in three Final Fours as a player but never won. She is the only woman to be named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament but lose the final game, and also became the second African-American coach to win a national championship, according to
“It means I can check off one of the things that has been a void in my career, ” Ms. Staley said, according to We took that vision to South Carolina and that vision was we’ll be national champions. If you stick with us and if you’re disciplined, if you believe all these players believed in that. [I’m] happy our words came true to them.”
In Glendale, Arizona, the University of Phoenix hosted the NCAA men’s national championships April 3. The Gonzaga Bulldogs competed against the University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels. The Tar Heels played in last year’s championship game, but lost against Villanova University by a three-pointer at the buzzer.
North Carolina was the first to place points on the scoreboard in Phoenix, but Gonzaga battled back and led by three at halftime. The Bulldogs held UNC to just 31 percent for field goals in the first half, and the Tar Heels only shot 15 percent from three-point range, while the Bulldogs shot 56 percent.
The Tar Heels started the second half with an eight to zero run, building their lead to five before Gonzaga coach Mr. Mark Few called a timeout. The Bulldogs then went on a run of their own and took back the lead. The lead frequently changed throughout the second half.
The game ultimately came down to the final minutes of the game. With less than two minutes left to
The University of North Carolina earned its sixth NCAA national title in school history.
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play, the score was tied 65 to 65. After a big defensive stop, North Carolina was able to take the lead for the rest of the game and win 71 to 65.
UNC earned its sixth NCAA national title in school history. Although it was an action-packed game, neither team shot especially well. Gonzaga was 12 for 30 in field goal range, while North Carolina made 11 of 35 shots, including two of 13 shots from 3-point range, according to The New York Times.
“It was an ugly game. I don’t think either team played well offensively. The magnitude of the game had a lot to do with it,” North Carolina coach Mr. Roy Williams said, who won his third national title with the Tar Heels, according to The New York Times.
Sacred Heart Greenwich junior Erin Cleary is excited to watch the March Madness tournament each year.
“This tournament brings together a community of people and does not just include people who love and play basketball. Each game is filled with intensity and anxiety until the final minutes. Ultimately, any team has the opportunity to win the national title, no matter what seed they are,” Erin said. “That is what I love about this tournament. UNC happened to be the team that fought off any team they played. However, that could change next year.”
– Kristen Davis, Content Editor