Women's Basketball 2017 NCAA Tournament Lexington Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns

Lexington Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns
Notre Dame has won 14 games in a row, including recent blowout wins over Florida State, Louisville and Duke. Coach Muffet McGraw has her team playing great basketball right now. Brianna Turner is again leading the way and the Irish should cruise past Robert Morris. The NEC tournament champions have a solid defense and star scorer in Anna Niki Stamolamprou, but that will not be enough.
#8 Green Bay vs. #9 Purdue
If you like scoring, this game is not for you. Green Bay is second in the nation allowing a mere 50.3 points per game. Purdue allows a Big Ten best 58.4 points per game. This will be a grind it out game, but the difference could be the shooters for Green Bay. The Phoenix can stretch the defense by knocking down shots, while Purdue usually sticks in the paint. However, the Boilermakers are a hot team right now following their run to the Big Ten tournament final and look for Ashley Morrissette to have a big game and continue her team’s winning ways.
The Buckeyes are not getting much respect after losing most of their big games in non-conference play and falling to Purdue in the Big Ten tournament semifinals. This is a team with something to prove and they will hope to make quick work of Western Kentucky. Kelsey Mitchell, who averages 23.0 points per game, is the top scorer on the nation’s third most potent offense. Western Kentucky will have no issue running up and down the floor with Ohio State and like to score points too with Kendall Noble leading the way. However, that similar style does not bode well for WKU. Ohio State has more talent and a deeper roster. Western Kentucky may be able to keep up for a while, but not for four quarters.
#4 Kentucky vs. #13 Belmont
Kentucky will be happy not to see South Carolina until, potentially, the Final Four. Their last three losses have come against the Gamecocks, with the most recent coming in the SEC tournament. Belmont have not tasted defeat since December 14th. The Bruins cruised the Ohio Valley Conference with a 16-0 record and did not have any trouble in the conference tournament either. Belmont’s balanced scoring and tough rebounding led to a great season, but it will be much more difficult for Belmont to dominate the glass against Evelyn Akhator and size of the Kentucky roster.
Auburn have lost seven of their last nine games. It is tough for a team to make the NCAA Tournament with that much of a late slide. Of course the schedule has been very tough in the SEC, but there were some winnable games in that stretch, most notably against Georgia and Alabama at home. It will be interesting to see how the Tigers play in the first round against North Carolina State. This game could come down to three-point shooting. The Wolfpack make nearly eight three-pointers per game and generally shoot quite well from beyond the arc. Auburn has been much more inconsistent shooting the basketball and they will need those shots to fall if they want the win.
Back in mid-February Texas was one of the hottest teams in the country. They had just beaten Baylor and Florida State in a double overtime thriller. Since then the Longhorns have lost four of their last six games. However, the combination of wing Joyner Holmes and center Kelsey Lang will be too much for Central Arkansas to handle, especially on the glass. The Sugar Bears are very good on the glass, in large part due to the frontcourt quartet of Taylor Baudoin, Raquel Logan, Taylor Strickland and Kierra Jordan, but they will have a tough time matching up with Holmes and Lang.
#7 Kansas State vs. #10 Drake
Drake came very close to losing their first game since December 21st when Northern Iowa took them to overtime in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament final. But the Bulldogs prevailed and earned a ten seed. Forward Lizzy Wendell has had an amazing senior season, averaging 21.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.6 steals per game. Even if Kansas State can find a way to contain Wendell, Drake does have other weapons in Caitlin Ingle, Becca Hittner and Sammie Bachrodt. The Wildcats will want to work their offense through Breanna Lewis at the center spot. While Wendell will grab all of the headlines, the defensive play of Drake center Becca Jonas will be the difference between a win and a loss.
By Stanford’s standards, this has been a quiet season. They did not grab any headlines with a big non-conference win and an early Pac-12 loss to Oregon State and another home loss to UCLA later in the year kept them out of the Pac-12 title picture for a while. However, they had an opportunity to take down OSU late in the season to likely claim a share of the title. They lost that game 50-47. Regardless, the Cardinal have been going about their business successfully and will continue to do so against New Mexico State. The Aggies once again dominated the WAC, but even their balanced scoring attack will not cause Stanford many problems.