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NCAAB Championship: Women's last four preview

The 2022-23 Division 1 women's basketball season draws to a close in Dallas this weekend as the national semi-finals take place on Friday before Sunday's Championship game.

Just four teams remain of the 68 who qualified for the WNCAAB Championship and the stage is set for what should be two fascinating semi-final affairs.

Defending champions South Carolina are still in the mix and they will come up against Iowa in their last four tie after LSU have faced off against Virginia Tech earlier in the evening, and we've previewed both games.

LSU and Virginia Tech chasing history

The first of the two semi-finals sees two teams chasing the best seasons in their respective programs' histories as LSU and Virginia Tech clash.

LSU have never won the championship but they have reached this stage in the past, managing five consecutive national semi-final appearances between 2004 and 2008. 

This season they have 31 wins, the most for the program since the last time they reached this stage in the 2007-08 campaign, and they will feel they have the talent to go all the way under second-year coach Kim Mulkey.

LSU have one of the top offences in the country and some star quality in the likes of Alexis Morris and sophomore forward Angel Reese, who averages 23.2 points and 15.7 rebounds per game. 

Louisiana State weren't quite at their best in the last eight against Miami but still managed to get the job done, although they will need to bring their A-game to beat Virginia Tech.

Like their opponents, Virginia Tech are chasing a first national title but this has already been a historic season as they landed a first ACC Tournament title. 

It was perhaps a minor surprise to see them handed the 1-seed in the Seattle Regional 3 but they have lived up to that billing with some dominant displays – with a 19-point win over a strong Tennessee side in the last 16 a particular highlight.

Towering center Elizabeth Kitley and guard Georgia Amoore are Virginia Tech's key players but they have quality throughout the team and are particular strong in defence, adding further intrigue to this semi-final clash as an exceptional offence comes up against a resolute defence.

LSU are rated at -130 to win in the Money Line or -110 with a -2 handicap in the Spread, while Virginia Tech can be backed at -110 with a +2 handicap in the Spread and +110 in the Money Line.

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Iowa looking to derail South Carolina charge

South Carolina claimed a second national title last year, having picked up their first in 2017, and have played like defending champions all season. 

If USC do manage to win it all they will complete an incredible unbeaten season as they head into Friday's match-up seeking to extend a 42-game winning run stretching back to last year.

Their success is built on an incredible defence and they have some exceptional players on their roster, including the reigning national Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, Aliyah Boston, who registered a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds in the last eight win over Maryland.

Brea Beal is another vital component in USC's defensive play, while Zia Cooke is the team's leading scorer as she averages 15.1 points-per-game.

Dawn Staley's South Carolina outfit look the team to beat, but in Caitlin Clark Iowa have a superstar of their own and they shouldn't be written off just yet despite being the clear underdogs in this last four encounter.

Clark became the first player in tournament history (men's and women's) to record a 40-point triple double as she managed 41 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists against Louisville in the previous round. 

Iowa are not a one-player team, however, and if USC do manage to keep Clark quiet the likes of Monika Czinano averages and McKenna Warnock are also capable of scoring heavily.

Iowa are bidding for a first ever national title and this is just their second appearance in the last four, having last reached this stage back in 1993. 

They have statistically the best offense in the country with Lisa Bluder's team averaging 87.6 points, and they may need to produce their best display of the season if they are to deny South Carolina a place in the championship game.

South Carolina are rated at -750 to win in the Money Line and -110 with a -11.5 handicap in the Spread, while Iowa are +525 to win in the Money Line and -110 with a +11.5 handicap in the Spread.

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