Women's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament Louisville Region 1st Round Game Breakdowns

2014 NCAA Tournament Louisville Region 1st Round Game Breakdowns


#1 Tennessee vs. #16 Northwestern State (Knoxville, Tennessee)
The Lady Volunteers are the only team to play in all 33 NCAA tournaments, a tremendous streak if there ever was one, and Tennessee enters this game as the No. 1 seed of the Louisville regional. Tennessee enters the contest having won seven games in a row and 13 of its last 14. Tennessee finished second in the Southeastern Conference, but beat South Carolina in the regular season finale and then swept through the SEC tournament undefeated. Meighan Simmons leads the way at 16.2 points per game and Isabelle Harrison averages 9.4 rebounds. Northwestern State, which finished fourth in the Southland Conference, knocked off Stephen F. Austin in the SLC tournament finals. Trudy Armstead is the team leader at 14.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. Shut Armstead down and this game is over. Tennessee should prevail in a cakewalk.

#8 St. John's vs. #9 USC (Knoxville, Tennessee)
The meeting between the Red Storm and the Trojans is the first ever for these programs. St. John’s enters the action after it reached the Big East tournament final for the first time since 1988. St. John’s lost that game to DePaul, 65-57, but still earned a decent seed.  Guard Aliyyah Handford leads the way with 28 double-doubles this year, and she broke the single-season record for most points by a sophomore as Handford posted the highest point total in 38 years. Amber Thompson is not far from the single-season rebounding record. Look out for the Red Storm’s 3-point field goal defense, which is rated 11th in the country. The Trojans make their 16th overall trip to the tournament on a six-game winning streak and an upset of three top Pac-12 teams to win the Pac-12 tourney title. Ariya Crook and Cassie Harberts average 15.8 and 15.6 points per game, respectively, but it drops off pretty fast afterwards. The Red Storm should squeak this one out.

#5 Texas vs. #12 Penn (College Park, Maryland)
The Longhorns definitely know a lot about the Big 12 but not the Ivy League. The game coming up marks only the second time the Longhorns have faced an Ivy League program in the 40-year history of the sport at Texas. The Longhorns won 21 games this year, nine games better than a year ago, thanks in part to a league-leading field goal percentage defense and rebounding defense. The Longhorns are also a deadly team from the perimeter. Nneka Enemkpali leads the Longhorns with 12.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Texas is 16-10 in opening NCAA tournament games, and it wants a tourney win since it hasn’t had one since 2008. The Longhorns shouldn’t have much trouble with Penn, which won 12 of its final 13 games and claimed its first Ivy title and tournament berth since 2004. Senior captain Alyssa Baron was named Ivy League Player of the Year, but Ivy teams are a combined 1-21 in NCAA play. Texas advances.

#4 Maryland vs. #13 Army (College Park, Maryland)
The second of the two games in Maryland pits the Terrapins against a determined Army squad. Maryland has a 10-2 record inside the Comcast Center and a 33-20 all-time record in tournament play, and they are led by Alyssa Thomas. Thomas became the second player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to earn the ACC Player of the Year honor three years in a row. She is also the all-time leading scorer at 2,258 career points and the second-leading rebounder at 1,178. With 12 points in this game, she would surpass Juan Dixon’s school record of 2,269 for men and women. Army last reached the tournament in 2006 and is in just its second trip to the Big Dance. On the bright side for Army, Kelsey Minato (21.8 points per game) will see action in the tournament.

#6 Iowa vs. #11 Marist (Iowa City, Iowa)
Despite the fact Louisville has the higher seed, Iowa City is the host for two games that include the Hawkeyes and Cardinals. Iowa is the only Big Ten team and one of only 14 teams in the country to have appeared in the last seven NCAA tournaments. The 26-8 record is the best record Iowa has compiled since a 27-4 mark in 1995-96. Iowa possesses a potent weapon in Samantha Logic, who is the only player in the nation to average 13 points, six rebounds and seven assists per game. She also has three triple-doubles. Iowa leads the Big ten with 78.6 points and 18.2 assists per game. Marist is 27-6 and captured its ninth straight Metro Atlantic championship and 10th in the past 11 years. Although Iowa and Marist haven’t faced each other, Marist faced Ohio State earlier in the year and lost 62-59. Marist is led by five starters who average double-figure scoring and Emma O’Connor leads the way at 13.6 points per game. This could be a tricky game to call, but the Hawkeyes get the slight edge.

#3 Louisville vs. #14 Idaho (Iowa City, Iowa)
The second of the two Iowa games puts Louisville in action as Naismith Award semifinalist Shoni Schimmel (17 points, 4.3 rebounds) enters her final NCAA tournament hoping to take the Cardinals as far as they can go. Everything here suggests Louisville wins in a romp. For starters Louisville has 30 or more wins for just the second time in school history. Jeff Walz is 5-0 in first-round games as Louisville’s head coach. If Louisville scores 70 points or more, it has won every time in 15 games. As for Idaho, this is the Vandals’ third NCAA tournament bid and the team hasn’t won in two previous trips. This is the first meeting between the schools and, although Idaho owns a higher free-throw percentage and commits fewer turnovers per game, not even junior Stacey Barr and her 18.7 points and 7.8 rebounds will save the Vandals from a long trip back to Idaho.

#7 LSU vs. #10 Georgia Tech (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
With a 19-12 record, the Lady Tigers earned their third consecutive NCAA tournament bid under head coach Nikki Caldwell and the program’s 15th appearance in 16 seasons. Even though these teams have had a decent history in women’s basketball, these two squads haven’t met before on the hardwood. LSU standout Theresa Plaisance and her 15.6 points and 7.6 rebounds will be the big story here, even though Jeanne Kenney (11.6) and Raigyne Moncrief (10.2) are also averaging double figures in scoring. Georgia Tech is in the tournament for the seventh time in eight seasons and has a better scoring offense overall (79.7 to 69.6) and a better rebound margin (5.8 to 2.3). Tyaunna Marshall (19.6 points) and Kaela Davis (18.6) lead the way. This is one of those games where a 10 could easily top a seven and, even if the Tigers have the higher seed, I believe Georgia Tech has more power.

#2 West Virginia vs. #15 Albany (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
The champions of the Big 12 earned the highest seed in the program’s history when the NCAA selected the Mountaineers as the second seed behind Tennessee. This is the 10th tournament appearance in the program’s history for West Virginia and the fifth straight appearance under Coach Mike Carey. This marks the first meeting between the schools. West Virginia has four double-digit scorers, led by Bria Thomas (15.1 points) and Asya Bussie (13 points, 7.6 rebounds). Christal Caldwell and Taylor Palmer also average over 10 points per game. The last time Albany won in NCAA action was 1992, when Albany was a Division III program. This is the third straight appearance for the Great Danes, who have won three straight America East Conference championships. Shereesha Richards (20.3 points, 9.0 rebounds) will be a formidable presence, but West Virginia should prevail here.


Louisville Regional Overview


Tournament Central