Women's Final Four teams arrive in Tampa for championship week

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The four best teams in women’s college basketball arrived in Tampa on Tuesday for the NCAA Championship this week, and it was a party once they stepped off the plane. 

The Final Four teams -- Notre Dame, Baylor, Oregon and the University of Connecticut -- arrived to a welcome that only Tampa could give, including young athletes cheering, bead-carrying pirates, stamped oranges and steel drummers. 

The first team to arrive was the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team, which gave young basketball player Ava Rogers, 11, the chance to see a team in person that she always watches on TV.

“They are all just good together. They share the ball well,” she said. “They just make a really good team.”

Ava even met the head of the team, Coach Geno Auriemma.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” said Auriemma.

She handed him her coach Dave Morgen’s book to sign.

“I got the book in hopes that maybe I would get to him,” said Morgen. “I’ve been a UConn fan my whole life. It’s what you do if you live in Connecticut.”

Coach Auriemma said this will be a tough weekend.

“Every team here is capable of winning, and every team here is incredibly talented,” said Auriemma. “I think whoever wins is really going to deserve it. They’re going to have to work really hard for it.”

UConn will join Baylor, Oregon and Notre Dame for just three games that will decide the next NCAA women’s champion. It will be Oregon’s first run at the title and UConn’s 12th consecutive year in the final four. 

“The way they play, the character of the players, the fan base, it just makes it really an enjoyable event. It’s not just the game,” said Morgen.

The final four play Friday and Sunday for the championship title.