LSU Angela Reese/Photo Courtesy of Josh Auzenne/WFAB

The Elite Eight is nearly set for the women’s March Madness, and as the Sweet 16 comes to an end, there are some strong teams inching closer to a championship.

1.) South Carolina

The University of South Carolina Gamecocks are no strangers to winning. They won a championship in 2017 with A’Ja Wilson (who has since won two championships with the Las Vegas Aces) leading the way. South Carolina won another championship in 2022 with Aliyah Boston (who won Rookie of the Year last season). This year’s roster includes players like Kamilla Cardoso (who will likely be a top pick in the 2024 WNBA draft) and Te-Hina Paopao.

WNBA legend Dawn Staley continues to lead her team to success, and after defeating No. 4 Indiana in the Sweet 16, Staley and company gear up for No. 3 Oregon State. South Carolina has not lost a game this year, and has won by significant margins (in most of their games) in the process. However, they blew a 22-point lead against Indiana and beat them by four points. The Gamecocks will be ready for their next game, and chances are, they advance and head to the Final Four.

2.) Louisiana State

The Louisiana State University Tigers are the defending champions. They beat the Iowa Hawkeyes 102-85. This year, the Tigers are looking to repeat, and players like Angel Reese (a potential top pick) and Flau’jae Johnson. Louisiana State has a good chance at repeating, and they could be the first team to win consecutive championships since UConn. UConn won championships from 2013 to 2016. Before that UConn also won back-to-back in 2009 and 2010 and even before that, they won multiple championships from 2002 to 2004. Louisiana State could make history, but it will be a challenge. However, the Tigers have what it takes to win.

The Tigers will be facing a familiar face in the next round. That team is also next on this list.

3.) Iowa

The Iowa Hawkeyes are another team to keep an eye on. They made it to the championship game last year after an impressive, exciting run in the tournament. They lost to LSU, but that was a significant game for women’s basketball. The LSU/Iowa championship game was said to have an average of 9.9 million viewers, which made it the most watched women’s college basketball game (so far). Iowa had another good year, and after beating Colorado in the Sweet 16, they are headed to the Elite Eight to face LSU. This will be a competitive game, and both teams are going to give it their all. And one of them will be closer to winning a championship.

The Hawkeyes are led by Caitlin Clark (who will most likely be the No. 1 pick of the WNBA draft). Clark’s name has come up multiple times through the season, as she became the all-time leading scorer in Division I women’s basketball history (passing Kelsey Plum) and then she became the all-time leading scorer in Division I history (both men and women) by passing Pete Maravich. This could be the year Iowa takes it all, but as their next game shows, it will not be easy.

The Gamecocks, Tigers, and Hawkeyes all have what it takes to win it all. A few other teams, like Texas and UConn, could give them a run for their money. The tournament has been exciting, and it will be interesting to see who advances.