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Women's Final Four: Here's how to watch the final March Madness games as Caitlin Clark looks to close out the historic season in style

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CNN

Between all the shocks, the tremendous skill on display on the pitch and the drama that came with it, it was truly Women's March Madness in 2024.

After the talking points of last year's national championship game, this act seemed hard to follow. But this year's edition of the women's NCAA Tournament more than lived up to the hype.

And now there are only four teams left as the competition enters the semi-final stage.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of the must-watch Final Four games.

After weeks of grueling action, the remaining teams will compete on Friday, April 5 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio.

Both Final Four matchups will be broadcast on ESPN, with No. 1 South Carolina first taking on No. 3 NC State at 7 p.m. ET

Thirty minutes after the end of the first semifinal game, No. 1 Iowa and No. 3 UConn will compete in the same arena for a spot in the national championship game.

One is the undefeated juggernaut looking to make history, while the other is the upstart surprising some of the tournament's biggest names.

The South Carolina Gamecocks head into the Final Four as the overwhelming favorites to win the national championship after the team pushed aside everything thrown their way following an undefeated season.

After a 36-0 regular season, the Gamecocks secured their fourth straight Final Four appearance with a 12-point victory over No. 3 Oregon State.

South Carolina has a 78-1 record in its last 79 games, with its only loss coming in last year's Final Four against Caitlin Clark's Iowa, as the team sought back-to-back college basketball titles.

During head coach Dawn Staley's 16 seasons at the helm, South Carolina has become the dominant force in women's basketball, but last year's loss to Iowa still haunts them.

“Last year blew me away. It blew me away because we had a team full of players who did everything right. All right,” she told reporters.

“If you were with that particular group of young ladies, you would have wanted them to win. We don't know why, and we often try to ask God why. Why?

“Today I stand here as our why. It doesn't make them feel better because they're not further cementing their legacy, but I know they're happy and proud of this group and they're happy and proud of South Carolina, where they chose to go to school and to establish a legacy.”

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley celebrates with the team after defeating the Oregon State Beavers in the Elite Eight round.

Between South Carolina and the 10th-ever undefeated Division I women's basketball champion is NC State, which made a magical run to the semifinals.

Along the way, the No. 3 seed beat No. 6 Tennessee, No. 2 Stanford and No. 1 Texas. The Wolfpack's 10-point victory over Texas secured them a spot in the Final Four.

The Wolf Pack's appearance in this phase of March Madness is the first since 1998 and only the second in school history.

“You know, people doubted us and we didn’t care what the media had to say,” NC State guard Aziaha James said. “We didn’t care what anyone had to say. We showed up every time on the pitch and proved who we are.”

But NC State faces a daunting task in defeating South Carolina – the Gamecocks have trailed by just 61 seconds total in their four games and have never trailed by more than two points in this tournament. But Wolfpack head coach Wes Moore says there's still reason for hope.

“Obviously the best team in the country. But you don't play a four-out-of-seven series. “You play a game, okay?” Moore told reporters. “So we have to find a way to win a game against them and that will be a big challenge.

“But, hey, right now, you know, you could tell me we’re playing this [Portland] Trail Blazers, and I would feel good. We're in the Final Four. Bring her here.”

Steph Chambers/Getty Images

NC State Wolfpack players celebrate after defeating the Texas Longhorns.

The second semifinal seems to be all about Caitlin Clark, although UConn guard Paige Bueckers might disagree.

After a historic regular season, Clark almost single-handedly led Iowa through March Madness, culminating with her 41-point performance against LSU in the Elite Eight.

This dominant performance not only exorcised some demons from last year's title game, but also cemented Clark's status as the most dominant player in women's college basketball to date. UConn Huskies coach Geno Auriemma said, “We have no plans to stop them” because I've tried calling all the other coaches who have stopped them and none of them are answering their phones. So we have to find another way to win other than stopping Caitlin Clark.”

There is only one final accolade left for Clark before she presumably heads to the WNBA: winning a national championship.

After falling at the final hurdle last time, the three-point specialist once again has an excellent chance to win that previously elusive title – both for Iowa and for herself – with just two games remaining between her and the the most prestigious trophy in college basketball.

“There are two more [games] to get there,” she said on Monday. “That’s what makes the Final Four so entertaining. Anyone can take it. Anyone can win it.

“I think we have the power to do that.”

Clark will play in the Final Four against the Huskies, a team she wanted to play for growing up.

Clark admitted last month that she idolized former UConn star Maya Moore and wanted to follow in her footsteps.

“I wanted to be just like her. Growing up, I thought I was going to go to UConn, but obviously that didn't happen,” Clark told reporters last month.

“Caitlin is obviously a great player, a generational player, but if Caitlin really wanted to come to UConn, she would have called me and said, 'Coach, I really want to come to UConn,'” Auriemma told the NCAA on Tuesday.

“So I don’t think any of us lost. I think she made the best decision for herself and it worked out great. We made the decision we thought was necessary,” he added.

“I'm trying to find out who suits us early on. This is what happened with us and Paige. We felt very, very comfortable with it and went with it.”

Although the specter of what might have been looms over the game, the Huskies are formidable with their own star guard in their pursuit of a record-tying 12th national championship.

Bueckers has been one of the standout players of March Madness so far, testing her team in her 23rd Final Four appearance.

The 22-year-old has recovered from last year's lost season due to a serious knee injury and is making good progress again during the tournament.

Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Bueckers and Nika Muhl hug after UConn's victory over USC in the Elite Eight round.

She played every minute of UConn's last three games in March Madness, scoring 32, 24 and 28 points in an impressive string of performances.

Arguably her most impressive performance came in UConn's Elite Eight matchup against the No. 1 USC Trojans, when she had 28 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to help the Huskies qualify for the semifinals.

Although she has already announced she will return to UConn next season rather than declare for the WNBA draft, Bueckers is one of the stars of the Final Four and will be a difficult obstacle for Iowa to overcome.