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  • Writer's pictureKyle Flannery

3 Takeaways from the Hall of Fame Women's Showcase

The Basketball Hall of Fame's Women's Showcase took place on Sunday, December 10th

(Image via

On Sunday, December 10th, I took a trip to Mohegan Sun Arena to check out the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase. The event showcased 6 top-25 teams in a 3 game slate. The day started at noon with #2 UCLA taking on #22 Florida State, followed by #1 South Carolina matching up with #11 Utah, and the evening capped off with the hometown #17 Connecticut Huskies squaring off against #24 North Carolina.

At the conclusion of each contest, I had one major takeaway. Here’s what you should know after this weekend’s competitive exhibition:

UCLA's Lauren Betts and Charisma Osborne celebrate on the court

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

UCLA is the National Title Favorite

Although coming into their contest as the second-ranked team in the nation, UCLA’s statement win showed that they should be favored to take home some major hardware next spring. They have no glaring weaknesses in their game, with versatile backcourt members Charisma Osborne and Kiki Rice serving as major scoring threats while also being plus defenders. The key to UCLA’s success, however, is Stanford transfer post player Lauren Betts. She had a monster double-double (20 pts and 18 rebs) while having her way with the Seminole’s defense. No one on the court could guard the 6’7” center, and when she got doubled in the post she would just kick it out to the shooters she’s surrounded by. When those shooters missed, who else was there to clean up the offensive glass but Betts. If UCLA continues to play how they did on Sunday, I don’t see anyone blocking their path to a national championship.

Utah's Alissa Pili backs down defender in the post

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Expect Utah to Struggle

Despite having maybe the second-best player in college basketball in Alissa Pili, I can’t see Utah making a deep tournament run come March after seeing their loss to South Carolina. Gianna Kneepkens was their only other reliable scoring option before she went down for the season with a broken foot, and that showed on Sunday. Despite Pili having a career-high 37 points, the Utes struggled mightily when she wasn’t on the floor, including an over 6 minute stretch where they failed to score a field goal while Pili was on the bench in foul trouble. Utah can’t rely on the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year to carry them against good teams, especially as the tournament draws closer. If Utah is an early exit in March, I wouldn’t be surprised.

UConn's Paige Bueckers celebrates after a three

(Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Paige Bueckers is the Clear #2 Overall Pick in the WNBA Draft

While the Hall of Fame exhibition was underway on Sunday, so was the WNBA draft lottery. The Indiana Fever were awarded the #1 overall pick for the second straight year, followed by the LA Sparks, Phoenix Mercury, and Seattle Storm. With Iowa phenom Caitlin Clark all but certain to land in Indiana, the critical talent evaluation comes in the rest of the first round. If we needed any more clarification, Sunday confirmed that the Sparks would be silly to pass on Bueckers with the second pick. The junior guard from Hopkins, Minnesota is a franchise-altering player with the ability to score on all 3 levels, create for others, and guard multiple positions with her strength and 5’11 frame. She finished with a game-high 26 pts on 11/14 shooting to go along with 4 blocks on the other end. 4 of her 26 points came from acrobatic finishes at the rim, showing her keen ability to finish over longer defenders. Bueckers’ game translates to the W as well as any prospect, and her ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor should make the Sparks’ decision to select her a no-brainer. 

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