Women's Basketball 2017 NCAA Tournament Lexington Regional Overview

Lexington Regional Overview
This is an interesting region with some teams that are riding high and a couple that have backed their way into the NCAA Tournament. A squad like Texas has proven that they can beat anybody, but they are not playing well right now. Stanford has been quiet this year, but are a very talented team. But the Lexington Regional will go through Notre Dame.
Who Can Win?
Notre Dame, of course, are the favorites. Either Kentucky or Ohio State could give them a game in the Sweet Sixteen though. Both have potent enough offenses to make things interesting against the Irish. Stanford must be considered a team that can reach Dallas too. They will do it with their defense and the Cardinal can beat anybody when they hold the opposition to 34.6 percent shooting from the floor. If they can find enough offense, Stanford can win a lot of games this March.
Who Can Surprise?
There may not be too many surprises in the Lexington Region when all is said and done. However, Purdue is a team to keep an eye on. They almost certainly will not win more than one game with a potential date with Notre Dame waiting in the second round, but the Boilermakers are full of confidence.
Who’s Hot?
Notre Dame has won their last 14 straight. That is not a huge surprise, but three of their last four victories have come against Florida State, Louisville and Duke. And their average margin of victory in those three games was nearly 21 points. This is a team playing great basketball right now and have proven it against some of the best teams in the country. Potential second round matchup Purdue is a hot team too. The Boilermakers won their last four regular season games and followed it up with an improbable run to the Big Ten tournament finals. That win over Ohio State and a decent showing against Maryland should give Purdue plenty of confidence.
Who’s Cold?
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. Will that tough schedule have them ready to make a little run? 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.
Upset Alert!
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. However, since Stanford cannot host and this game will be at Kansas State, it makes the upset seem less likely.
Which Player Will Dominate?
Brianna Turner is not always Notre Dame’s top scorer, but she is the best player on the best team in this region. The senior averages 15.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game and will certainly look to go out on top. Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell has the potential to take over the region. The Buckeyes could have a tough time in the second round playing Kentucky in Lexington, but Mitchell can do enough to not only beat Kentucky, but perhaps take out Notre Dame too.