UConn women's basketball vs. South Carolina: From Aliyah Boston to Aubrey Griffin, key players to watch

Two of the best teams in women's college basketball will face off Sunday at Hartford's XL Center.

No. 5 UConn will host No. 1 South Carolina in a rematch of the 2022 NCAA title game won by the Gamecocks, South Carolina has a talented, deep roster while UConn has overcome a rash of injuries this season.

Who are the key players to watch? Here are a few names to keep an eye on Sunday.


Aaliyah Edwards

The junior big can seemingly shoot with confidence from all over the floor,l but she really asserts herself in the paint for easy layups. Her elbow shot is practically an automatic bucket and the only 3-point attempt she's taken this season was good.

Her offensive has improved this season after an inconsistent sophomore season. After averaging 7.9 points and shooting 52.1 percent last year, Edwards is averaging 16.8 and shooting 60.2 percent.  

Edwards also generates many hustle plays that impact the game in a major way. She fights for rebounds (8.9 per game, up from 5.1 last season) and dives for loose balls. 

Matched against reigning national player of the year Aliyah Boston, Edwards will be a key player for UConn.

Lou Lopez Sénéchal 

While Edwards' elbow-shot has become her signature move, Lopez Sénéchal's 3-point shot has become one of UConn's weapons

She currently ranks fourth in country in three-point percentage (47.5 percent).

Lopez Sénéchal sunk 4 of 8 triples against DePaul last month. That heat continued into the highly-anticipated rivalry game against Tennessee as she drained 4-of-6 3-pointers, earning a huge hug from coach Geno Auriemma.

The transfer from Fairfield is averaging 16.6 points and has been the perfect addition to UConn's injury-riddled roster.

Wild card: Aubrey Griffin

No one disrupts things like Griffin. She adds an extra spark whenever she's near the ball and Griffin could be a huge factor Sunda.

Defensively, she's like Spider-Man with her sticky hands. Griffins averages 1.7 steals per game and her quick reflexes allow her to force many turnovers.

Offensively, she averages 13.9 points per game and shoots at an efficient 59 percent from the floor. She's very scrappy scorer, producing whether she's cutting backdoor, using her athleticism to drive to the rim or pulling up in the midrange.

Griffin always finds her way to the basket.

After missing all of last season, Griffin was not part of UConn's two meetings with South Carolina last year. She'll be a big past of this year's matchup.

South Carolina

Aliyah Boston

Boston is arguably the best player in the country so Edwards and Dorka Juhász will have their hands full trying to limit her impact. She recently set a South Carolina record after she notched her 74th career double-double.

Boston is aggressive on the boards and has recorded a double-double in each of her last seven games, including 14 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Kentucky Thursday night. She is averaging 12.9 points and 10 rebounds in just 24 minutes per game.

She is not just a productive rebounder, though, as she alters many shots by using her 6-foot-5 frame. If she's disrupting shot attempts, she is blocking them -- she averages 2.1 blocks per game.

Her presence changes shooting angles for UConn's post players.

Zia Cooke

Much like  Lopez Sénéchal, leaving Zia Cooke room to operate on the perimeter is a major mistake. She averages 15.1 points per game and will make defenses pay when given space outside.

Cooke hung a season-high 31 points in the Gamecocks' victory over Georgia on Jan. 2. In a win over Arkansas last month, she was 4 of 5 from 3-point range and 8 of 11 overall for 24 points. 

But the 5-9 guard is more than an outside threat. Her ability to drive the lane produced layups and send her to the free throw line. She's 71 for 87 for a team-high 82 percent from the line.

Wild Card: Bree Hall 

Even though the sophomore guard averages just 6.1 points off the bench, she can provide offensive spurts. She came off the bench for a season-high 18 points against Alabama last month but her most impressive performance came in a marquee game.

In a 76-71 win over No. 2 Stanford, Hall had 12 points and converted 2 of 3 3-point attempts.She was a key factor in the win over one of the best teams in the country.

Given UConn's lack of depth and bench help, Hall could provide a huge advantage for the Gamecocks.