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

Bridgeport Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns
#1 Connecticut vs. #16 Albany
Albany is the lucky team that will get the opportunity to pull off the greatest upset in the history of sport. The Danes have won 12 of their last 13 games behind the scoring prowess of Imani Tate. She is averaging 19.1 points per game and Jessica Fequiere and Bailey Hixson can do some scoring as well. However, against Connecticut, it will not make that much of a difference.
A year ago the Orange made the Final Four and their road to another improbable run begins against Iowa State. Syracuse has struggled this year against the elite teams in the ACC, but for the most part they have won the games they should have won. Alexis Peterson is one of the best point guards in the country and is averaging 22.3 points and 7.1 assists this season. Iowa State has been more up and down this season, but they ended the regular season with five straight wins, including a huge 70-66 victory at Texas, before falling to Kansas State in the conference tournament. The Cyclones balanced scoring could be too much for the Orange to handle as long as they can contain Peterson and her backcourt mate Brittney Sykes.
#5 Texas A&M vs. #12 Penn
Texas A&M finished the regular season on a four game losing streak, but picked up a couple decent wins in the SEC Tournament. The Aggies will need to work though center Khaalia Hillsman in a tough matchup against a Penn team that never makes it easy for the opposition to score. The Quakers allow just 52.4 points per game and rarely beat themselves. That means the Aggies should attempt to take advantage of their size and look for easier buckets in the paint. It would help if Danni Williams and Curtyce Knox were adding a threat on the perimeter in order to make scoring in the paint easier. Meanwhile Penn will want to score in the paint as well with Michelle Nwokedi and Sydney Stopanovich. Penn may not have any big wins this year, but this could be a tough game for Texas A&M.
#4 UCLA vs. #13 Boise State
With Jordin Canada and Monique Billings leading the way, UCLA has a very potent offense. The team averages nearly 75 points per game and the Bruins have no problem getting up and down the floor in a hurry. Despite that pace, this is not a team that will turn the ball over often. Their biggest weakness is their ability to consistently hit three-pointers and that is where Boise State will have to hope for the best. The Broncos will need to pack the paint and prevent Canada, Billings and company from attacking the basket and hope the Bruins miss their shots. The Broncos meanwhile will have to make their three-pointers and get a big game out of leading scorer Brooke Pahukoa.
#6 West Virginia vs. #11 Elon
Elon has had an amazing season, going 27-6 and 15-2 in CAA play. The Phoenix did lose twice to James Madison during the regular season, but beat them when it mattered the most with an NCAA Tournament bid on the line. They have a balanced offense, a very good defense and the toughness on the glass to battle with anybody on the glass. West Virginia is tough on the glass too and full of momentum after winning the Big 12 Tournament, but this is a decent matchup for Elon if they can successfully stretch out West Virginia’s defense.
#3 Maryland vs. #14 Bucknell
Maryland will look to put their second round loss to Washington last season behind them by making a much deeper run this year. The Terrapins score about 90 points per game and not many teams can keep up with that. With the inside/outside combination of Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones, Bucknell will have a terrible time keeping up with Maryland. The Bison do have a very good defense, but it probably will not look like it by the time Maryland is done with them. Bucknell will need to use the rebounding ability of Claire DeBoer, Sune Swart and Kaitlyn Slagus to limit Maryland’s second chance opportunities.
#7 Temple vs. #10 Oregon
This game will likely come down to three-point shooting. Temple will hoist up a lot of three-pointers. Oregon does not take as many, but they rank fifth in the country with a 38.7 three-point field-goal percentage. The other storyline here is the freshmen that have really stepped up for both teams. When the Owls look inside, it is Tanaya Atkinson who makes things happen. She is averaging 13.1 points and 8.5 rebounds this season. The Ducks biggest interior scoring threat, Ruthy Hebard, is a freshman too. However, it is Sabrina Ionescu, the College Sports Madness Freshman of the Year, that could put Oregon over the top. She is averaging an impressive 14.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists.
#2 Duke vs. #15 Hampton
After missing the tournament last year, Duke will look to make a statement early. That is bad news for Hampton. This is a Duke squad that will win games with their tough defense and Hampton does not have the scoring threats to do much about it. Junior wing Monnazjea is the Pirates top scorer at 12.5 points per game and she will need some help if her team is going to keep this one close. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils should get more than enough scoring from junior guards Lexie Brown and Rebecca Greenwell.