Women's NCAA Tournament Oklahoma City Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns

Brittney Griner Baylor NCAA Tournament

Women’s NCAA Tournament Oklahoma City Sweet 16 Game Breakdown


#1 Baylor vs. #5 Louisville (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

The Bears have not had any close calls yet, but now the competition is getting tougher and they are leaving Waco for Oklahoma City. Baylor crushed Prairie View A&M in the first round and followed it up with a second senior night in a 85-47 beat down of eighth seeded Florida State. Against the Seminoles, Brittney Griner tallied 33 points and a career high 22 rebounds. She blocked four shots and dished out four assists for good measure. Louisville followed up their first round win over Middle Tennessee State with a quality victory over Purdue, paced by Sara Hammond and Shoni Schimmel. But, like Baylor, Louisville hosted the first two rounds and now the crowd may not be quite as friendly.

However, the neutrals in Oklahoma City, which will mostly be OU fans, will certainly be on the side of Louisville if Oklahoma wins earlier in the day. The Sooners, and their fans, know that they do not want to face Baylor if they do not have to. Yet, that may not be enough for the Cardinals anyway. Baylor has certainly faced tough crowds in the past and it is has not meant much of anything. More importantly, Louisville will have to use their size and toughness to attempt to neutralize Griner as much as possible. Hammond, Sheronne Vails and Monique Reid are tough interior players. The Cardinals will likely get beaten pretty badly on the glass, but they could at least get physical enough with Griner to make her a bit uncomfortable. That may not be enough to beat Baylor. The Bears still have playmaker extraordinaire Odyssey Sims. She can score in bunches too. Brooklyn Pope and Destiny Williams also do a superb job freeing up space for Griner. Baylor may not win this game by 40 points, but Louisville will have to do something special to keep it close.


#2 Tennessee vs. #6 Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

Tennessee cruised past Oral Roberts and Creighton to reach the Sweet Sixteen yet again. But their home floor advantage has not just turned to neutral; it has turned against them as they head to Oklahoma City to take on the Sooners. Oklahoma has done what they have done all season in wins over Central Michigan and UCLA. The Sooners connected on 9-of-19 three-pointers against CMU and shot 11-of-27 from long range in the 85-72 win over the Bruins. While that outside shooting added quite a few points, it also opened up space for Joanna McFarland in the paint. McFarland score 20 points and nine of those came from the charity stripe. OU as a whole took 37 trips to the free-throw line and that proved to be a huge reason OU advanced to the regional semifinals.

The Sooners will need to keep doing what they have been doing and keep hitting those three-pointers with relative consistency. Tennessee’s defense will be the toughest Oklahoma has faced in the 2013 NCAA Tournament and they will likely guard from the outside in and make players like McFarland beat them. Meanwhile, the Lady Volunteers have a slew of offensive weapons, led by Meighan Simmons on the outside and Bashaara Graves on the inside. The OU defense is not particularly strong and Tennessee will find ways to get some easy buckets. With as many scorers as they have, somebody is going to get clean looks at the basket. Oklahoma will likely get beat on the boards too, but in their home state and with their hot shooting, the Sooners can keep this one close.


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NCAA Tournament Central