Publish date:

WHO CAN BEAT UCONN?

Author:

WE'VE SEEN this movie before: The Huskies enter the NCAA tournament as the heavy favorites following a perfect (32–0) regular season that included just a few games—three (Florida State, Maryland and Tulane)—decided by single digits. UConn is 11–0 against teams in the Top 25, and has won 107 consecutive games, a streak that dates back to Nov. 17, 2014, when Stanford defeated them 88–86 in overtime at Maples Pavilion.

Can this team be beaten? Yes. These Huskies aren't as talented from top to bottom as the 2015–16 squad, which featured the top three WNBA draft picks. Most of the players on this roster have not started in a Final Four game, but let's be clear: A loss is going to take a combination of a 40-minute effort from a top team and the young UConn players getting tight down the stretch. Teams that have already played the Huskies probably have an edge, as some of the mystique of facing the juggernaut has been eliminated. These four teams are best positioned to pull off the upset.*

BAYLOR

Lost 72–61 to UConn in Storrs on Nov. 17

The Lady Bears are big, with six players over 6'2" on the roster, and experienced, with four seniors, including speedy guard Alexis Jones (right). They will also have the crowd on their side if they make it to Dallas.

NOTRE DAME

Lost 72–61 to UConn in South Bend on Dec. 7

No team has a bigger ax to grind with the Huskies than the Irish, who have lost two of the last three NCAA finals to UConn. Junior forward Brianna Turner (right) and senior point guard Lindsay Allen form a tremendous inside-outside attack.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Lost 66–55 to UConn in Storrs on Feb. 14

The Gamecocks have standout frontcourt players in 6'5" junior forward A'Ja Wilson and 6'4" senior center Alaina Coates (right), who average 17.7 and 12.9 points, respectively.

MARYLAND

Lost 87–81 to UConn in College Park on Dec. 29

The Big Ten champions have two All-America caliber players with a ton of tournament experience—senior post Brionna Jones (19.8 points and 10.8 rebounds) and senior wing Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (right), who averages 18.6 points.

*The women's bracket was announced after SI went to press.