South Carolina’s wire-to-wire victory against Connecticut in the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship has become the most-watched women's finale since 2004, ESPN announced.
Sunday's night victory scored nearly 4.85 million viewers, according to a press release from the network.
“ESPN’s commitment to women’s basketball has never been stronger and this year’s viewership numbers are a clear indication of the growing popularity of the sport and the NCAA Women’s Tournament,” said Nick Dawson, ESPN vice president of programming and acquisitions. "We look forward to working with the NCAA to further enhance our presentation in the years ahead.”
Head coach Dawn Staley's team buttoned up on defense and dominated on the glass, beating UConn 64-49 on Sunday night to end the Huskies’ undefeated streak in title games.
Destanni Henderson scored a career-high 26 points, Aliyah Boston added 11 points and 16 rebounds, and the Gamecocks handed Geno Auriemma’s Huskies their first loss in 12 NCAA title games.
“We played every possession like it was our last possession,” said Staley, the first Black men’s or women’s coach with two Division I titles. “They were determined to be champions today.”
A year ago, South Carolina lost in the Final Four when Boston missed a layup before the buzzer.
“Honestly, I’ve been thinking about this since last season. Everyone had a picture of me crying,” said Boston, who was the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. “Today, we’re national champions and I’m in tears.”