27 years to the day: UConn and Stanford meet again in the NCAA Women’s Final Four

The University of Connecticut and Stanford University — two legendary women’s college basketball teams — are meeting at the NCAA women’s Final Four Friday night in Minneapolis.

The matchup comes 27 years to the day when UConn beat Stanford in a previous semifinal game in 1995 in the same city and in the same arena, the UConn Women’s Basketball account tweeted. After that game almost 30 years ago, the Huskies went on to grab their first-ever national championship.

The same coaches who led their teams then, Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer and UCONN’s Geno Auriemma, are still at it.

VanDerveer, who on Dec. 15 became the sport’s winningest coach, is leading her defending NCAA-champion Cardinals. She’s been the team’s head coach since 1985. The team has three titles.

Stanford Cardinal players dribble balls during a practice session with the team at Target Center on March 31, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Elsa/Getty Images


The 2021-2022 season is Auriemma’s 37th as the head coach of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball program. The Huskies have 11 titles and are making an appearance in their 14th consecutive Final Four.

This matchup comes after a nail-biting double-overtime thriller in Bridgeport, Conn., against North Carolina State on Monday. The Huskies were ranked No. 5 in the final AP Top 25 before the tournament. North Carolina’s Wolfpack was No. 3.

According to UConn, this game was the first double-overtime game in women’s NCAA Tournament history in the regional final or later. It was also the first time the team won an overtime game in its tournament history.

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The team lost senior center Dorka Juhasz to a fractured wrist earlier in the game and she will miss the rest of the team’s run in Minneapolis. The school said Thursday that Juhasz underwent successful surgery for the injury.

Head coach Geno Auriemma of the UConn Huskies speaks to reporters before a practice session with the team at Target Center on March 31, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The trip to Minneapolis is also a homecoming for UConn’s star sophomore, Paige Bueckers. She grew up about 10 miles from the arena.

Bueckers, who led Uconn in their win against North Carolina, returned just last month after a serious knee injury.

“Two days ago I said, ‘Win or go home,’ but we won and I’m still going home,” she said. “This is crazy. I’m just so excited no matter the location, no matter where it is.”

Emily Engstler #21 of the Louisville Cardinals celebrates after the 62-50 win over the Michigan Wolverines in the Elite Eight round game of the 2022 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Top-seeded Louisville and South Carolina met for the first time at the Final Four at 7 p.m. ET Friday.

According to the NCAA, the two teams have only met once after leaving the Metro Conference almost 30 years ago. South Carolina has made four Final Fours in seven seasons while Louisville returns to its first in four years, the NCAA said.

South Carolina is already heading home with major awards for the season. Dawn Staley won the Naismith, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, and U.S. Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year awards. And the Gamecocks’ star player Aliyah Boston won the Naismith, Associated Press and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Year, and the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year awards.

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