Women's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Championship Game Breakdown

Connecticut Women's College Basketball

Women's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Championship Game Breakdown


#1 Connecticut vs. #1 Notre Dame (Tampa, Florida)

The Connecticut Huskies punched their ticket to the national championship game in style by methodically dismantling Maryland 81-58 in the national semifinal on Sunday night. While Breanna Stewart did the lead Connecticut with 25 points, the most valuable player in this battle with Maryland was Morgan Tuck, who was outstanding down inside for the Huskies. Tuck scored 24 points and was very efficient shooting the basketball making 10-of-16 shots from the floor. Defensively, Tuck collected nine rebounds and was a key reason why the Terrapins really could not get much going offensively down in inside. Moriah Jefferson took care of business in the backcourt with 14 points and teamed up with Kia Nurse to keep the explosive Maryland backcourt in check all game long.

The turning point in the game was first part of the second half when Connecticut pulled away from Maryland with a nine point run to stretch their lead to 53-33 and the Terrapins could not get within 14 points the rest of the way. The win sends the Huskies into historic territory as they will be going for the 10th national championship in program history. For Geno Auriemma, a national title will give him 10 in his career, equaling the work of John Wooden who led the UCLA men’s basketball to ten national titles in his storied career. So there is no lack of motivation for anyone within the Connecticut program heading into Tuesday night.

Notre Dame outlasted South Carolina in the first national semifinal on Sunday night as Madison Cable hit the game winning shot with 20 seconds left to give the Fighting Irish a 66-65 win. The Fighting Irish were led by Jewell Loyd’s 22 points to push this youthful squad through to its fourth national championship game in the last five years. Notre Dame did a nice job defensively for the most part throughout the game against the Gamecocks, limiting star guard Tiffany Mitchell to just 11 points. In addition, the Fighting Irish did not let South Carolina get anything going from behind the three-point line, as they limited the Gamecocks to just 16.7 percent shooting from three-point range.

Taya Reimer and Brianna Turner had excellent games for Notre Dame, combining for 33 points and 14 rebounds. That allowed the Fighting Irish to control things down low against the very athletic and physical front line of South Carolina. If Notre Dame is going to shock the world and beat the Huskies, they will need to have big time performances from Reimer and Turner because in the first matchup against Connecticut they struggled. Reimer scored just eight points and Turner did not play at all. They will also need Reimer and Turner to step up because Morgan Tuck went wild in the first matchup on December 6th in South Bend, scoring 25 points and grabbing nine rebounds in a 76-58 win for the Huskies.

Overall, Connecticut can come at you with five legitimate scoring options at any point in a game and that is one of several reasons why it is so difficult to contain the Huskies offensive attack for 40 minutes. Also, the way Connecticut can control things down low poses a significant challenge for the Fighting Irish who are not very deep down inside. If Reimer and Turner get in foul trouble, it’s going to be game over and the Huskies will win their third straight national championship. So if Notre Dame is going to win they are going to have stay out of foul trouble and the combination of Jewell Loyd and Lindsay Allen are going to have to combine for at least 50 points to give themselves a chance to upset the Huskies. In the end, look for Connecticut to gradually pull away and win their third straight national championship by a similar 76-58 type of score.


Tournament Central