South Carolina Defeats UConn to Win 2022 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Championship

The South Carolina Gamecocks won 64-49 over the UConn Huskies Sunday night, earning their second national championship title

South Carolina Gamecocks
Photo: Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Dawn Staley and the South Carolina Gamecocks are national champions once again.

South Carolina defeated the UConn Huskies, 64-49, Sunday night to win the 2022 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament championship. The title marks the team's second tournament overall victory, the first coming in 2017. Staley has also now become the sixth head coach in women's NCAA tournament history to win more than one national championship.

Prior to the game, UConn had never lost any of their national championship appearances, holding 11 titles all under head coach Geno Auriemma.

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South Carolina Gamecocks
Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty

South Carolina led most of the night with guard Destanni Henderson on top with 26 points, four assists and three steals. Meanwhile, forward Aliyah Boston, the Naismith Player of the Year, finished with 11 points and 16 rebounds.

Following the game, Boston reflected on the win after the team's heartbreaking 66-65 Final Four loss to Stanford last year.

"Honestly, I've been thinking about it since last season, because everybody had a picture of me crying at the end of the Final Four," she said. "But today we're national champions. Happy tears."

Additionally, after taking part in the tradition of cutting the championship basketball net, Staley talked about the importance of her win as a coach.

"The net is going to represent something, something in our game, something that will advance our game," said Staley, who became the first Black coach to win two championships. "What I think is important as a Black woman and coach is the way you do it, like the example that you set for other coaches to follow."

South Carolina Gamecocks
Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty

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This is the first time the NCAA has broken from tradition and allowed the use of "March Madness" for the women's basketball championship. In the past, the NCAA exclusively reserved the phrase and branding for the men's basketball tournament.

The organization announced the change would take effect in 2022 back in September 2021, saying the decision came about after a "comprehensive external review of gender equity issues in connection with the NCAA championships."

"Women's basketball has grown tremendously over the past several years, and we remain focused on our priority of enhancing and growing the game," Lynn Holzman, vice president of women's basketball, said in a statement at the time. "The brand recognition that March Madness carries will broaden marketing opportunities as we continue that work to elevate the women's basketball championship."

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