Women's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Oklahoma City Regional Overview

Women's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Oklahoma City Regional Overview

If you’re into down-home Midwestern basketball, it may be worth it to invest some time in this regional. Three Big Ten teams were among the 16 sent to this regional, including third-seed Iowa. All eyes should, and probably will, be on top-seeded Notre Dame as the school tries hard to make the trip from Oklahoma City to Tampa. Add a pair of Pac-12 teams into the mix, two SEC programs and two ACC squads and you have the makings of a regional that should be very entertaining.


#1 Notre Dame, #2 Baylor, #3 Iowa, #4 Stanford, #5 Oklahoma, #6 Washington, #7 Northwestern, #8 Minnesota, #9 DePaul, #10 Arkansas, #11 Miami, #12 Quinnipiac, #13 Cal State Northridge, #14 American, #15 Northwestern State, #16 Montana


Who Can Win?

Two teams come to mind here, but Notre Dame should be right at the top of any short list. The Irish have a 31-2 overall record largely gained by two solid players, Jewell Loyd and Brianna Turner. Loyd has an impressive 20.5 scoring average and a solid 50 steals on defense, and Turner is one of the nation’s outstanding freshmen at 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Notre Dame racked up over 100 points in three separate contests thanks in part to a blistering 49.8 percent shooting mark. Notre Dame’s defense is also solid as the Irish hold opponents to a stark 59.5 per game compared to Notre Dame’s 81.2 mark.


Who Can Surprise?

Keep an eye out for Miami. The Hurricanes are one of only two teams to beat Notre Dame, with Connecticut being the other. It makes sense for Connecticut to handle Notre Dame, but for an 11th seed to knock off one of the top programs in all of the nation? This is the fourth time in five years Miami is headed to the tournament, and its strongest link is Adrienne Motley and her 16.4 points per game. Miami only shoots 39.1 percent from the field, which won’t win too many games. However, the Hurricanes surprised Miami once and could catch someone else napping.


Who’s Hot?

DePaul may not have the best luck when it comes to the NCAA tournament, but the Blue Demons are making their 20th tournament appearance and have a 12-19 mark in those events. DePaul won the Big East championship this season with a 15-3 record. The Blue Demons have five double-digit scorers, led by Brittany Hrynko and her 19.6 points per game and 175 total assists. DePaul crossed the century mark in scoring five times this season. With all that scoring talent, it could easily make a small run, although that first-round game with Minnesota will be tough.


Who’s Cold?

At one point Arkansas carried a 10-2 overall record and only had back-to-back losses to South Dakota State and Rutgers to spoil a perfect start. The second half of the season has not been so kind to the Razorbacks, who have a 7-11 mark since December 29th and have dropped five of their last eight games. Even if Arkansas, with its tough SEC schedule, gets past Northwestern, Baylor will be waiting with open arms in the second round. Things could get a little frigid for Arkansas in the next week or so.


Upset Alert!

Miami was mentioned earlier in this overview, but this 11/6 matchup against Washington looks like the best chance for a bracket buster on paper. The Hurricanes were 10-3 before Atlantic Coast Conference play began but have five losses in their last six games. Teams with losing streaks like that are often overlooked by opponents. Miami only lost to Notre Dame by 16 points in the ACC tournament. Washington has 23 victories and is a deserving sixth seed, even though it lost by 10 points against Oklahoma to start the season.


What Possible Matchup is Interesting?

The 7-10 matchup between Arkansas and Northwestern looks interesting, even though the winner faces a daunting task in Baylor in round two. Northwestern lost eight games but only one, a 69-48 loss to Maryland, wasn’t close. Arkansas and its strong SEC schedule should help a No. 10 seed possibly overcome a 7 in the first round. Don’t be surprised if the upset occurs, but be very surprised if Baylor loses to one of these teams.


Which Players Will Dominate?

Kelsey Plum’s 22.8 points per game have helped the sophomore guard propel Washington to a strong performance this season. Also look for sophomore center Nina Davis (Baylor) to join players like Loyd and Turner in the ones to watch column. Minnesota standout Amanda Zahui B. has a 12.6 rebound average, and the 6-foot-5 center also has a ton of height. As far as offensive helpers, Baylor junior Niya Johnson (8.6 assists) leads the nation, and Iowa senior Samantha Logic isn’t too far behind at 8.0. Also keep an eye on Minnesota junior Shayne Mullaney and her 7.4 average.


Women's NCAA Tournament Central