Women's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament Stanford Regional Overview

Women’s NCAA Tournament Stanford Regional Overview
There is a little bit of controversy with the top two seeds in the Stanford regional as South Carolina was awarded the top seed and shipped out to Seattle. Stanford was given the two seed in this regional but the interesting thing with the Cardinal is the fact they were sent out to Ames, Iowa and they face a likely second-round matchup with seventh seed Iowa State on their Hilton Coliseum home floor.
Who Can Win?
All of the top four seeds in this region are highly capable of winning this regional.  Stanford will have the edge by virtue of being at home in Maples Pavilion if they get past the first weekend and they are very tough to beat in Palo Alto. However, South Carolina has the defense and the inside personnel to deal with Chiney Ogwumike and has won in hostile environments on the road, so they shouldn’t be intimidated playing at Stanford. Penn State has the veteran experience in the backcourt with Maggie Lucas so you can’t count out the Nittany Lions. Finally, North Carolina beat the Gamecocks earlier this year as well and they are dangerous.
Who Can Surprise?
If Oregon State can get past Middle Tennessee State in the first round and defend the basketball like normal, they will be a difficult challenge for South Carolina in the second round. The Beavers also should have a very strong following playing in Seattle at Alaska Airlines Arena on the University of Washington campus, creating a mini home-court advantage.  
Who’s Cold?
Stanford has not exactly played elite level basketball in their past couple of games, especially in the Pac-12 Tournament where they lost to USC in the semifinals. The rare early exit for the Cardinal may end up being a blessing in disguise as they got a couple extra days of rest and can regroup for the tough trip to Ames, Iowa.
Upset Alert!
Florida over Dayton is an upset possibility as the Gators have gotten some big wins this season, beating Kentucky twice and Oregon State on neutral court. The Flyers will be coming in off of a tough loss in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament championship game where Fordham limited them to just 51 points. If Florida can start fast and gain confidence early, they have an excellent opportunity to pull the upset.
What Possible Matchup is Interesting?
A rematch of North Carolina and South Carolina would be very intriguing in the Sweet 16. The Tar Heels, if they get head coach Sylvia Hatchell back from her battle with leukemia, will be playing with an inspired purpose. Hatchell has been missing all season, thus to get her back during the NCAA Tournament would be an unbelievable boost. In the earlier meeting this season, North Carolina did a nice job defensively, limiting the Gamecocks to just 1 of 11 shooting from behind the three-point arc and held South Carolina to just 66 points. The ability to force the Gamecocks into a perimeter oriented game again would be a huge key to their success in a potential rematch in the Sweet 16.
Which Players Will Dominate?
For South Carolina the trio of Tiffany Mitchell, Aleighsa Welch, and Alaina Coates are very important to their quest to get to the Final Four. These three have the ability to control things at both ends of the court. Welch and Coates have a tremendous ability to block shots and can make life very difficult for the opposition as the Gamecocks are very skilled at making teams one dimensional at the defensive end. Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike is going to be huge as always for the Cardinal and has carried the team on her back at times. For North Carolina, Diamond Deshields is one of the most exciting young players in the country and when she gets rolling, is very difficult to contain.