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

2014 NCAA Tournament Louisville Region 2nd Round Game Breakdowns


#1 Tennessee vs. #8 St. John's (Knoxville, Tennessee)

Tennessee got off to a slow start in the NCAA Tournament, leading #16 Northwestern State by just two points at halftime. Coach Hollie Warlick rallied her team though and the Lady Volunteers cruised through the second half. Tennessee had just way too many scoring threats for Northwestern State to keep up with. St. John’s withstood a scoring barrage from the USC backcourt to keep their tournament going.

When Tennessee has lost this season it was due to poor defense. St. John’s has the potential to make things interesting. It was not prevalent in the game against USC, but the Red Storm are a very efficient shooting team. They are not going to take many three-pointers, but they shoot about 43 percent from the floor. Aliyyah Handford, who scored 27 points against the Trojans, can score in bunches and she will need to knock down a few mid-range jumpers in addition to attacking the basket. Getting some help from Briana Brown and Danaejah Grant, as well as forward Amber Thompson, is necessary if St. John’s is going to upset the Vols in Knoxville.


#4 Maryland vs. #5 Texas (College Park, Maryland)

Texas has got to be feeling very good after their dominate second half against Penn. The Longhorns were down seven at the break, and by as much as 15 in the first half, but outscored the Quakers 48-23 in the second half. It was the interior play Imani McGee-Stafford, who totaled 20 points and a dozen rebounds, who catapulted Texas to victory. But Maryland has plenty to be happy about heading into the second round as well. The Terrapins were never threatened by Army in a 90-52 win. Coach Brenda Frese had the luxury of getting 11 players at least nine minutes of action.

With rest and home court advantage, this is Maryland’s game to lose. Texas had a fine year, but this is arguably the best four seed taking on the worst five seed. Alyssa Thomas averaged 18.9 points and 10.8 rebounds heading into the NCAA Tournament and few teams have had any luck stopping her. Even if McGee-Stafford can swat away a few shots, Maryland will find many ways to score. The key to this game could be on the glass, where both teams rank in the top five in the country in rebound margin.


#3 Louisville vs. #6 Iowa (Iowa City, Iowa)

Louisville and Iowa avoided any upsets in Iowa City on Sunday evening. The Cardinals beat Idaho 88-42 and Iowa pulled away from Marist. Shoni Schimmel only scored ten points, but the superstar added 11 rebounds, five assists and two steals and was one of five players who scored in double figures. Center Bethany Doolittle had her way with the Red Foxes in the paint, while Theairra Taylor was on fire from beyond the arc. But it was do-it-all guard Samantha Logic who put it all together. She scored 11 points, dished out 11 assists and just missed a triple-double with nine rebounds.

Louisville has just one more game to win before they can contend for a Final Four spot at the comfort of home. But that one game is at the home of the Hawkeyes. And that is the big advantage Iowa has heading into this second round contest. Louisville struggles when they get out of rhythm offensively, yet that is not Iowa’s strength. The Hawkeyes give up a lot of points and allow opponents to shoot about 40 percent from the floor. The home crowd has to get behind Iowa and their shots need to fall consistently if they want to be the one heading to Louisville for the right reason. Logic will have pressure on her to keep her squad under control and keep the turnovers even lower than usual. Iowa will not have the luxury of losing possessions in this contest. But if they can keep it close, the crowd and the clutch scorers can put the Hawkeyes over the top.


#2 West Virginia vs. #7 LSU (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

West Virginia allowed Albany to stick around for a while, but 26 points for Christal Caldwell and 20 for Bria Holmes gave the Mountaineers a 15 point win in the end. WVU will move on to face LSU, who knocked off Georgia Tech 98-78 behind Theresa Plaisance and Danielle Ballard. The Lady Tigers also got a huge game from DaShawn Harden off of the bench. She knocked down three three-pointers and scored 17 points.

This is going to be a tough matchup for WVU. Of course playing in Baton Rouge is a major issue, but the Lady Tigers also have enough interior scoring threats to cause the Mountaineers some major problems. Forwards Theresa Plaisance and Shanece McKinney are the biggest scoring threats, but Ballard, Raigyne Moncrief and Jeanne Kenney are all capable of attacking the basket. That puts the pressure on West Virginia center Asya Bussie to force LSU to knock down at least a few long balls. Bussie is a fine shot blocker and a major defensive presence, but when she gets into foul trouble, WVU is a different team and LSU has the tools to get her into foul trouble and take advantage of the situation when she is on the bench.


Tournament Central