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Women's NCAA basketball national championship matchup is set

South Carolina will play for its first title since 2017. Connecticut is looking to extend its unbeaten streak in national title games to 12.

The Connecticut Huskies will face the South Carolina Gamecocks Sunday for the NCAA women's basketball national championship. Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m. ET. 

Here's a recap of how both teams advanced in the Final Four.

South Carolina 72, Louisville 59

This time, Aliyah Boston and the South Carolina Gamecocks were smiling as they strutted off the court at the Final Four.

The only crying came from relief and joy, one year after a painfully opposite finish in the national semifinals.

Boston took over after halftime and finished with 23 points and 18 rebounds to back up her AP National Player of the Year award, carrying South Carolina to the NCAA championship game with a 72-59 victory over Louisville on Friday night.

“You see happy tears, happy tears, right now,” Boston said in her postgame TV interview. “I’m just thanking God we have one more game.”

Brea Beal matched her season high with 12 points and helped hold Cardinals star Hailey Van Lith to nine points on 4-for-11 shooting as the Gamecocks (34-2) delivered another stifling defensive performance.

Destanni Henderson scored 11 points with 3-for-6 shooting from 3-point range for South Carolina, which had a 19-5 assists advantage and improved to 13-0 this season against AP-ranked opponents.

Emily Engstler led Louisville with 18 points and nine rebounds as the Cardinals went 1 for 8 from 3-point range and were never able to find a rhythm in the half court against the No. 1 overall seed in this tournament.

South Carolina, which won it all in 2017, was ousted in the semifinals last season by one point to eventual champion Stanford when Boston’s put-back attempt bounced off the rim at the buzzer. The 6-foot-5 junior from the U.S. Virgin Islands has bounced right back a year later, and the Gamecocks have followed her lead.

UConn 63, Stanford 58

Paige Bueckers scored 14 points and UConn advanced to the national championship game with a 63-58 win over defending champion Stanford on Friday night.

It's UConn's first trip to the championship game since 2016, when the Huskies won the last of four straight championships. Since then, the team has suffered heartbreaking defeats in the national semifinals, losing twice in overtime.

UConn (30-5) will be seeking its 12th national championship, and the Huskies have never lost in an NCAA title game.

They had to work to get to the finals. Leading by 52-44 with 1:26 left, Stanford made a furious rally thanks to a few costly UConn turnovers.

Cameron Brink's layup with 18.4 seconds left got the Cardinal within 60-58. UConn was able to work seven seconds off the clock before Christyn Williams was fouled with 11 seconds left. The senior guard calmly swished both free throws to restore a two-possession lead.

Ashten Prechtel completely missed a tough contested 3-pointer from the wing with 5.4 seconds left and the Huskies held on for the win.

Haley Jones led the Cardinal with 20 points.

Travis Pittman contributed to this report.

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