Women's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament Lincoln Region Elite Eight Game Breakdowns

2014 NCAA Tournament Lincoln Region Elite Eight Game Breakdowns


#1 Connecticut vs. #3 Texas A&M (Lincoln, Nebraska)

While on the surface it would be easy to criticize a Connecticut for their slow start against BYU in the Sweet 16. However, the narrative is that the Cougars did not show fear against the Huskies and were able to get as big as a six point lead in the first half at 27-21. They also did a great job and showed a blueprint on how to slow down Breanna Stewart and make other players beat you, which Connecticut did eventually do in a 70-51 win on Saturday to advance to the Elite Eight. The way this game unfolded should benefit the Huskies greatly moving forward as they have gone awhile, because of the weak nature of the American Athletic Conference minus Louisville, without being truly tested. The difference in the second half was the ability to control the rebounding battle as Connecticut ended up winning the battle of the boards 47-38 after only outrebounding the Cougars 20-19 in the first half. They also locked down BYU from three-point range in the second half, limiting them to just one made three point shot after going 5-of-10 in the first half. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis also continued her outstanding play in the NCAA Tournament as she scored 19 points and collected 13 rebounds. That was huge for the Huskies as without that performance the game could have very easily been decided by single digits. Moreover, while BYU fell short against Connecticut they made a huge statement for slowly increasing parity in women’s basketball by becoming the third number twelve seed to make it to the Regional Semifinal. They also, with their performance, proved that they probably should have been seeded a couple of slots higher at around 9 or 10 instead of a number 12 seed.

Texas A&M punched its ticket to the Elite Eight by taking care of seventh seeded DePaul 84-65. This was one of the most complete performances by the Aggies of the season as they controlled this matchup from start to finish. They shot 60 percent in both halves from the field. They also were excellent defensively against the high flying Blue Demons offense, limiting them to 28 percent shooting in the first half from the field. The aggressiveness of the man to man defense by Texas A&M was huge as they did not let DePaul have their way from start to finish. Offensively, Courtney Walker played like a senior even though she is only a sophomore, scoring 25 points. Defensively, Walker locked down Brittany Hyrnko of the Blue Demons and limited her to just three points on Saturday. Another key to the Aggies victory was the overall balance of the offense. Four other players, along with Walker, scored in double figures. This balanced attack is going to need to show up again on Monday against Connecticut to keep the Huskies defense honest.

This game should be relatively competitive as Texas A&M is not going to play in fear of Connecticut that is for certain. The Aggies are going to have to be aggressive yet controlled at both ends of the court. The BYU game showed a glimpse of what can be done to the Huskies if you make shots consistently against them. For Connecticut, they need to get Breanna Stewart going early by trying to get her some looks down in the paint. Also, they need to try and force the action with the Texas A&M backcourt and see how they respond. In the end, look for the Huskies to move on to the Final Four in Nashville once again as Mosqueda-Lewis is going to keep rolling and Stewart is going to bounce back with two strong halves of basketball.


Tournament Central