Women's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament South Bend Region Sweet Sixteen Game Breakdowns

2014 NCAA Tournament South Bend Region Sweet Sixteen Game Breakdowns


#1 Notre Dame vs. #5 Oklahoma State (South Bend, Indiana)

The Irish were given a game by Arizona State. But Notre Dame was still up by six at halftime and won the game 84-67. It has gotten to the point that any time Notre Dame doesn’t have complete control of the game after five minutes, it becomes a surprise. The Irish will face Oklahoma State who slipped past Florida Gulf Coast before beating #4 seeded, and host, Purdue. Brittney Martin scored 20 points and grabbed an amazing 20 rebounds against the Boilermakers.

This is a balanced Oklahoma State squad that has reached its first Sweet Sixteen since 2008. But the big news is the health of Tiffany Bias. She did return at the end of the Purdue game after an ankle injury suffered early in the second half. But she certainly has some rehab to do to get close to 100 percent by Saturday. The good news is that the Cowgirls will not have to rely on Bias. Freshman Roshunda Johnson had a great game off of the bench and the offense can work through the frontcourt trio of Liz Donohoe, LaShawn Jones and Kendra Suttles. Finding a way to stop Kayla McBride, Jewell Loyd and Natalie Achonwa is another story though. OSU held Purdue to just 37.7 percent shooting from the floor. The Irish sport the best field-goal percentage in the nation and never seem to have an off night. Oklahoma State has made a great run, and a well-deserved one too, but they are running into a team destined for the Final Four.


#2 Baylor vs. #3 Kentucky (South Bend, Indiana)

In the other regional semifinal in South Bend, Kentucky will face Baylor. The Wildcats slipped past Syracuse in the second round despite an average performance. Yet it was Kentucky who made the clutch shots while struggling with the Orange zone. And they always play tough defense. Baylor leaves Waco with first and second round victories over Western Kentucky and California, respectively. The Lady Bears eventually pulled away from the Golden Bears 75-56 thanks to Odyssey Sims’ 27 points. She also added eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.

Of course, Sims is always key for Baylor. When her shots are falling, she can pull off upsets on her own. But Coach Kim Mulkey cannot allow her offense to simply rely on Sims. We are to the point in the NCAA Tournament where that will result in a loss.  Baylor needs to get production in the scoring column from the rest of the team. Freshman forward Nina Davis is the only other double digit scorer on the team, but players like Mackenzie Robertson and Imani Wright are certainly capable of scoring some points. Like Cal, Kentucky is a physical team that can grind down the opposition, but they would prefer to get up and down the floor more than they did against Syracuse. That may not work as well against Baylor, who is third in the nation in scoring, so look for the Wildcats to slow things down on occasion and use their physicality to make Baylor uncomfortable on offense.


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