Double the Madness- A look at the Women’s Tournament

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By: Christine Clancy
Head Women’s Basketball Coach

I am a basketball coach/basketball junky and it’s March, so it is hard for me to write about anything but the NCAA tournament…For most sports fans it’s all about the men’s tournament, but don’t forget that the women are in the midst of March Madness as well. From Thursday March 21st-Tuesday March 26th there will be 96 college basketball games. 96 games in 6 days! As I write this entry I have my laptop on one side and my ipad on the other each streaming a different game…

Lets take a look at the women’s tournament

Who will be the final 4 teams? Unfortunately, in the women’s game there is less parody then on the men’s side. The top 4 teams (Baylor, Notre Dame, UCONN, and Stanford) have been dominate this year, combining for a 123-8 record. Of their combined 8 losses, only 1 came at the hands of a team that is not a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. I will be very surprised if they are not the teams to make the trip to New Orleans.

Most likely to disappoint? Unfortunately, I think the answer might be Stanford, my favorite team of the big 4. The Cardinal are on a crash course with one of the two teams that beat them this year, California. Also in there bracket is a very dangerous #3 seed Penn State. Stanford’s star, Chiney Ogwumike, struggled in the Pac 12 conference championship going 1-9 from the field and only scoring 3 points, but their sophomore point guard, Amber Orrange came up big and carried them to a 2 point win. For the Cardinal to make it back to the final 4, they cannot afford another cold shooting night for Ogwumike.

Best potential match-up? Has to be a Notre Dame-UCONN semifinal. The two Big East teams have played 3 times- the 1st a 1 point decision, the 2nd a triple OT game, and the 3rd a 2 point game for the Big East Championship- Notre Dame has won all 3. A 4th match-up of this rivalry would surely not disappoint! Another potential match-up: UCONN v #6 Delaware could prove to be interesting. Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne (one of ESPN’s 3 player’s to watch) accepted a scholarship to play at UCONN but before she even stepped out on the Huskies court, got homesick and walked away. It seems fitting that they could match-up in her senior season…

Brittney Griner: Unbeatable? Probably.

Brittney Griner: Unbeatable? Probably.

Can anyone beat Baylor and Brittney Griner? I don’t think so… Not without Griner getting injured or into serious foul trouble. There has never been a more dominant player in women’s basketball than Brittney Griner. Obviously, a lot of her impact has to do with her height, but it is her athleticism, fundamental skill, and footwork that make her height such a big factor. Check out this ESPN Sports Science video about the impact she has on the game at http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=6258228. If I was coaching a team to go up against Griner, I would look for any and every opportunity to run in transition and in the half court I would draw her out to the perimeter to defend ball screens- but I don’t know that there is a way to stop her on offense…

I will be going to New Orleans in 2 weeks for the women’s final 4 and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association National Convention. To be honest, I am hoping the four #1 seeds make it so that I can see them play in person. I love an underdog, but what I love most is a good, competitive game! Happy March (April) Madness!

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