Women's Basketball 2018 NCAA Tournament Kansas City Region Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns

Kansas City Region Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns
It was an emotional Monday night at Humphrey Coliseum as Mississippi State defeated Oklahoma State 71-56. Victoria Vivians scored 23 points and Teaira McCowan added 21 points and 18 rebounds to lead the way for the Bulldogs. The win sent off the most successful senior class in program history for Mississippi State in style as a sellout crowd gave each senior a standing ovation. The game itself didn’t start so smoothly for the Bulldogs as the Cowgirls had a 20-16 lead after the end of the first quarter. However, over the course of the final three quarters the Bulldogs settled down and imposed their will on Oklahoma State.
North Carolina State advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 74-60 win over Maryland on Sunday. Kiara Leslie had 21 points and 11 rebounds to set the tone for the Wolfpack as they got off to a nice start against the Terrapins and methodically put the game away. Offensive balance was another key component for North Carolina State in their win over Maryland as all five starters scored in double figures. Head Coach Wes Moore is going to need more of the same regarding balance for them to beat Mississippi State on Friday night in Kansas City. For the Bulldogs, they will have to try and speed up the game with some defensive pressure and get some transition baskets to beat the Wolfpack on Friday night. This should be a pretty good back an forth type of game for four quarters.
#2 Texas vs. #3 UCLA
Texas is back in the Sweet 16 after pulling away from Arizona State in the second half to beat the Sun Devils 85-65. Lashann Higgs scored 19 points and Brooke McCarty had 15 points along with ten rebounds to lead the Longhorns. Texas also dominated Arizona State in the paint as they outscored the Sun Devils 54-20. The rebounding battle was also one-sided in favor the Longhorns as they outrebounded Arizona State 40-19.
UCLA punched their ticket to Kansas City with an easy 86-64 win over Creighton. Jordin Canada had 21 points along with eight assists. Japreece Dean stepped up with 16 points and Monique Billings added 15 points along with nine rebounds to pace the Bruins. Defensively, UCLA owned the rebounding battle as they outrebounded the Blue Jays 37-27. The Bruins also did a nice job of taking care of the basketball, only turning the ball over ten times while causing 18 Creighton turnovers.  Offensively, UCLA was very sound in the win over the Blue Jays as they shot 48.4 percent from the floor and 78.3 percent from the foul line. The 78.3 percent shooting percentage from the foul line is a huge positive for the Bruins as games are only going to get tighter and free throw shooting will be critical.
For Texas, if they are going to advance they must win the Jatarie White-Monique Billings matchup and get big performances out of Brooke McCarty and Ariel Atkins. McCarty and Atkins are very experienced and should not be phased by any exotic looks from the UCLA defensive. Now, for the Bruins it starts with Jordin Canada knocking down shots early to get in rhythm and then distributing the ball to her deep, talented cast of teammates. If both teams play to their potential this game could be one of the best of the Sweet 16/Elite Eight weekend.