Women's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament South Bend Region 2nd Round Game Breakdowns

2014 NCAA Tournament South Bend Region 2nd Round Game Breakdowns


#1 Notre Dame vs. #9 Arizona State (Toledo, Ohio)

Thanks in large part due to production from Sophie Brunner and Katie Hempen off of the bench, Arizona State pulled off a minor upset over #8 seeded Vanderbilt. The Sun Devils were extremely efficient in the shooting department and managed to win despite 19 turnovers and just nine free-throw attempts. And Coach Charli Turner-Thome and company’s reward for winning in the first round is a date with Notre Dame. The Irish, not surprisingly, cruised past Robert Morris with no problems. They rode a 50-15 halftime lead to a 51 point victory.

Arizona State will need to continue shooting as well as they did against Vanderbilt. But they will also need to remain just as effective on the glass and cut down on their turnovers. The Sun Devils outrebounded the Commodores 33-20. They will not be able to do that against the Irish, but Kelsey Moos and Brunner will have to be extremely tough in the paint. But this is Notre Dame’s year and anything but a trip to the national title game would be a shock. Jewell Loyd, Kayla McBride and Natalie Achonwa are just too much for Arizona State.


#4 Purdue vs. #5 Oklahoma State (West Lafayette, Indiana)

Oklahoma State was involved in a thriller against Florida Gulf Coast. Down six, the Cowgirls made a late run to take the lead and eventually tie the Eagles at the end of regulation. After a low scoring extra stanza, Oklahoma State’s Tiffany Bias made the big shot that led the Cowgirls to victory. It was her only field goal of the game. Purdue had an easier contest against Akron. The Boilermakers defense made it extremely difficult for the Zips to knock down shots, while Purdue connected on 53.7 percent of their attempts from the floor.

The Boilermakers got some production from the reserve guards against Akron and that will be more and more important as the tournament progresses. Coach Sharon Versyp is still trying to replace injured guard KK Houser. April Wilson, Courtney Moses and Dee Williams are going to be productive, but players like Hayden Hamby, Bridget Perry and Torrie Thornton need to be as well if Purdue is going to get past OSU.


#3 Kentucky vs. #6 Syracuse (Lexington, Kentucky)

Kentucky scored 106 points in a first round rout of Wright State. Seven players scored in double figures, led by Jennifer O’Neill’s 21. Syracuse was the higher seed in their matchup against #11 Chattanooga, but the Orange deserve a lot of credit for pulling off a 59-53 win. The Mocs had just three losses on the year heading into the NCAA Tournament and were a widely considered a team that could win a game. That was especially true when they were matched up against Syracuse, a squad that finished strong but had some tough stretches in ACC play.

With the Orange playing relatively well, they will have a shot at upsetting Kentucky. The Orange rebounded well against Chattanooga, which is usually not the case. They may not outrebound Kentucky, but guards Brittney Sykes and Brianna Butler can help keep it close. But this team will need to shoot much, much better than they did on Saturday. They hit just one three-pointer in 15 attempts. From the floor, the Orange hit just 31.5 percent of their attempts. Luckily they made up for it at the charity stripe. As long as DeNesha Stallworth, Samarie Walker and Azia Bishop can keep Syracuse out of the paint and force them to shoot three-pointers, Kentucky should please the home crowd with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen.


#2 Baylor vs. #7 California (Waco, Texas)

Baylor let Western Kentucky hang around for the entire first round contest. For a #2 seed and a #15 seed, that is quite surprising. The Hilltoppers kept knocking down clutch shots and ended up losing 87-74. For the Lady Bears, Nina Davis scored 32 points and grabbed ten boards, while Odyssey Sims added 31 points. If you do the math, that is 63 points of Baylor’s 87. California will hope to take advantage of Baylor’s limited scoring threats and keep riding their momentum following a one-point win over #10 seed Fordham. The hero was Brittany Boyd, who hit the game winner with 14 seconds left in the game. She also scored 16 of her 22 points in the second half and dished out ten assists.

Baylor has been susceptible all year if either Sims or Davis is having an off night. Yet that barely ever happens. It will be an issue soon as the Lady Bears inch closer to an Elite Eight game versus Notre Dame, but for now this team does not need both Sims and Davis clicking on all cylinders. The Golden Bear’s balanced scoring attack, featuring Rashanda Gray, Afure Jemerigbe, Gennifer Brandon and Boyd, will need to remain strong. More importantly, Cal will have to beat Davis on the boards and do their best to keep Sims from knocking down too many shots. But in Waco, that is a tall order.


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