Time, TV and what you need to know

No. 2 UConn vs No. 1 Stanford

When: Friday, 9:30 pm

What: NCAA Tournament Final Four

Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN.

Records: UConn (29-5), Indiana (32-3)

TV: ESPN

Radio: UConn Sports Network

KEEP AN EYE ON

Paige Bueckers is home: UConn’s star sophomore showed up big in the Elite Eight double overtime win over NC State. The 2021 National Player of the Year returns home to Minnesota this week and will play in Friday’s Final Four in an arena just a short drive from where she played at Hopkins High School. While she’s no stranger to big moments, it will be interesting to see how Bueckers can stay poised while the crowd will likely be made up of many UConn and Bueckers fans.


Missing Dorka Juhász: UConn’s go-to backup big suffered a season-ending left wrist injury in the second quarter of Monday’s Elite Eight. While Juhász underwent surgery for the injury on Wednesday and will be returning to Storrs next season, the injury leaves the Huskies with just two experienced post players for Friday’s game. Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Aaliyah Edwards will need to stay out of foul trouble in order to carry the majority of the frontcourt responsibility. UConn coach Geno Auriemma has two backups available in Piath Gabriel and Amari DeBerry, but both have played sparingly this season.

Scouting the Cardinal: The defending national champions are back in the Final Four for the second straight year looking just as strong as last season. Stanford rides a 24-game win streak into the national semifinals, and is led by Cameron Brink (13.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game) and last year’s Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, Haley Jones (12.9 ppg, 7. 8 rpg). UConn leads the all-time series 11-7, with Stanford’s last win coming in 2014. The Huskies are 4-2 against the Cardinal in the NCAA Tournament, including four meetings in the national semifinals and once in the championship game. The Cardinal is led by Tara VanDerveer, the winningest coach in women’s basketball with 1,157 career victories (Auriemma is second at 1,148).

What’s on the line: There are only two ways tomorrow’s game can end. UConn can win and advance its season to one final game in Sunday’s national championship. However, if the Huskies lose, their season ends. UConn hasn’t advanced to a national championship since last winning the title in 2016 and holds an 11-10 record in its all-time Final Four appearances.

PROBABLE STARTERS

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