NC Converse preps to face UConn on ‘home’ CT turf

4: 36 PM ET

  • Alexa PhilippouESPN


    • Covers ladies’s college basketball and the WNBA
    • Previously lined UConn and the WNBA Connecticut Sun for the Hartford Courant
    • Stanford graduate and Baltimore native with extra expertise at the Dallas Morning News, Seattle Cases and Cincinnati Enquirer

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — NC Converse is having a look to originate history by returning to the girls’s Closing Four for the first time since 1998 when it takes on UConn within the regional perfect Monday.

To total it, the Wolfpack will must tune out what’s anticipated to be a Huskies-friendly crowd in Bridgeport, Connecticut, about 80 miles southwest of UConn’s campus in Storrs.

“I specialise within the next day is a home sport for them. There’s no ask about that,” NC Converse significant particular person heart and WNBA prospect Elissa Cunane instructed journalists Sunday.

South Carolina, the No. 1 overall seed within the tournament whom NC Converse fell to in its season opener, earned the pause seed within the Greensboro Regional, followed by Stanford in Spokane, Washington. Because the No. 3 overall seed, NC Converse was slotted as the No. 1 seed in Bridgeport, and by S-curve so had been the Huskies, who once healthy went on a high-tail in some unspecified time in the future of the discontinuance of the usual season and Big East tournament to catch the No. 6 overall seed (No. 2 in Bridgeport).

NC Converse and Notre Dame had knowledgeable contingents expose up for Saturday’s regional semifinal, which the Wolfpack received 66-63. But there was no mistaking which team the bulk of fans came to root for. One among the loudest cheers of the NC Converse-Notre Dame contest came when UConn avid gamers entered the enviornment to survey the game.

“Connecticut fans are substantial,” NC Converse coach Wes Moore acknowledged. “If I’m out somewhere touring or something, I trudge into them. They adore their ladies’s basketball, and it be famous to respect that.”

The Wolfpack to find one component of their prefer that they might maybe maybe maybe look to lean on: expertise prevailing over top teams in opposed environments.

Closing 300 and sixty five days, NC Converse was the first NCAA ladies’s team to beat two No. 1 teams on the toll road within the same season when it took down South Carolina 54-46 on Dec. 3 and Louisville 74-60 on Feb. 1.

This season, the Wolfpack also beat then-No. 6 Indiana, whom UConn defeated within the Sweet 16 on Saturday, in Bloomington. Overall, they had been 9-1 in away games in 2021-22 and 6-0 on neutral courts.

“Now we to find gone to South Carolina and beat them at their home, now we to find gone to Louisville, beat them at their home, Indiana this 300 and sixty five days,” Cunane acknowledged. “We’re able to beating a substantial team on their home court, so we know we’re able to doing it the next day.”

“I specialise in absolute self belief that affords me self belief, so with any luck it provides them self belief,” Moore added.

NC Converse is showing in its first Elite Eight since 1998 after falling within the Sweet 16 the outdated three years. However the Wolfpack don’t appear to be a completely inexperienced team, boasting a beginning lineup of three graduate college students, a senior and a junior.

That maturity showed when the Wolfpack surged unhurried to beat the No. 5-seeded Irish on Saturday. Notre Dame led for 31: 41, but NC Converse’s 7-0 trudge within the very best 1: 23 to end the game, which incorporated Raina Perez’s trot-forward basket on a decide-and-ranking with 14 seconds to play, made the disagreement.

“They’re stable. They’re skilled. They know straightforward solutions to know. They play substantial collectively. They place no longer seem fazed by anything,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma acknowledged. “They had 9 million reasons to lose that sport [Saturday], they usually ended up winning it. It correct goes to expose you their catch to the bottom of and their capability to correct play and play your whole 40 minutes.”

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