The Pitt News sports desk predicts women’s March Madness winners


AP Photo/Mic Smith

South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston holds up the championship trophy after defeating Tennessee 74-58 to win the championship game of the Southeastern Conference women’s tournament in Greenville, S.C., Sunday, March 5, 2023.

By The Pitt News Staff

As the women’s NCAA basketball tournament approaches, The Pitt News Sports Desk gives its predictions for who will win the National Championship. The first round will start Friday afternoon and conclude April 2 in Dallas.

South Carolina repeats, knocks off Virginia Tech 73-60 // Richie Smiechowski, Sports Editor

Is there a more dominant team in college sports right now than South Carolina women’s basketball?

Since the beginning of last season, the Gamecocks are 68-2 and won the 2022 National Championship with virtually no resistance. This season, South Carolina is arguably even better than they were last year — a scary proposition for any team that stumbles into their March Madness warpath.

South Carolina defeats UConn in 2022 rematch 78-64 // Mason Carter, Staff Writer

South Carolina will cap off their perfect season, knocking off UConn in a championship rematch from last season. Head coach Dawn Staley and her Gamecocks have dominated the country all season.

After narrowly defeating the Huskies earlier this year, South Carolina has only improved their play. The Gamecocks are looking to extend their dynasty with another championship against legendary UConn head coach Geno Auriemma.

Indiana stuns South Carolina 83-80 // Jack Markowski, Staff Writer

Betting against Staley’s South Carolina team probably isn’t smart, but I’m going for it anyway.

Indiana fell short in the Big Ten tournament against Ohio State, but it earned a No. 1 seed and the No. 2 spot in the AP poll for a reason. Senior forward Mackenzie Holmes is one of the best players in the nation, and the Hoosiers’ offense as a whole is lethal. Stepping up to the Gamecocks on both sides of the ball will prove tough, but Indiana is one of the few teams in the country that can do it. 

Clark, Iowa best Indiana in Big Ten grudge match 81-77 // Anthony Speciale, Staff Writer

While choosing to have the powerhouse of the sport in South Carolina NOT advance to the National Championship may be a decision I soon regret, the red-hot Hawkeyes are fully capable of handing the Gamecocks their first loss of the 2022-23 campaign. 

Iowa is arguably playing their best basketball this season following a Big Ten title. Led by player of the year candidate Caitlin Clark, the Hawkeyes will bring their explosive offensive ways to the National stage. Also providing elite offensive production is their Big Ten counterpart, the Indiana Hoosiers, led by seniors Mackenzie Holmes and Grace Berger. The two teams split their regular season matchups this season, with Iowa winning the latter match in a thrilling 86-85 victory. Both of these Big Ten powerhouses should make an exciting, deep run into March. 

Notre Dame defeats Indiana 78-73 // Will Christie, Staff Writer

The “Lady Irish” of Notre Dame fought hard their entire season to stay in the running. With Notre Dame matching up against Indiana in the final game, these two schools will play for Indiana women’s basketball supremacy.

Although Indiana dominated the Big Ten conference for the 2022-23 season, Notre Dame has a long tradition of boasting a successful women’s basketball program. With Notre Dame’s star player Olivia Miles possibly returning from injury, Indiana will have to play their best basketball of the year to knock off the Irish.

South Carolina achieves perfection, beating UConn 66-52 // Alex Porter, Staff Writer

While everyone loves the Cinderella stories that capture the nation’s attention every March, it’s still important to appreciate greatness.

No word better encapsulates South Carolina women’s basketball than greatness.

No matter how hard America may pull for an upset, the Gamecocks will not care. They steamrolled through the regular season, going 32-0 with an average point differential of +30.3. They will continue to dominate in the postseason, laser focused on achieving their season-long goal of becoming back-to-back champions.

So instead of rooting for an underdog or praying for a favorite team, simply sit back and witness the beginning of this Gamecocks dynasty.

Maryland defeats UConn 67-62 // Jermaine Sykes, Senior Staff Writer

Both Maryland and UConn come into the tournament as No. 2 seeds and are led by legendary head coaches,  giving them the edge over some of the competition in their ways. Maryland will defeat No. 1 overall seeded South Carolina and UConn will defeat No. 1 seed Indiana.

In the championship game, I give the edge to coach Brenda Frese and the Terrapins, who will win their first National Championship since 2006.

South Carolina defeats Virginia Tech 65-60 // Zack Gibney, Senior Staff Writer

How about some ACC love?

Elizabeth Kitley is one of the country’s most dominant players, yet it still feels like the Hokies are somewhat disrespected, even as a one seed.

However, South Carolina is the best team in the country — and they will show why. Picking an undefeated team is boring, but it’s the right call here.

UNLV shocks the nation, beating South Carolina 60-58 // Brian Sherry, Assistant Sports Editor 

Why not a major upset in the title game? This pick is a major gamble, but the Lady Rebels are in the midst of a historic year. UNLV is ranked at No. 21 in the nation, following a 28-2 campaign. 

South Carolina, meanwhile, enters the tournament hoping to cement itself as a dynasty. The Gamecocks won it all last year, defeating UConn 64-49. But it’s March, a month where any team can win a title. The Lady Rebs will shock the nation and take down the defending champions. 

South Carolina defeats UConn, 72-60 // Frankie Richetti, Senior Staff Writer

There’s no need to overthink this one.

South Carolina is the most dominant team in the sport and will run through the bracket just as they did last season. With Azzi Fudd back for UConn, the Huskies will make the title game, but there’s no challenge for South Carolina.