The Women’s Beat with Bob Joyce
The Brackets – Good Morning Husky Fans, I don’t think there is too much to squabble about when it comes to the Women’s Field of 64. However, seeing the possibility of a Rutgers-Miami Second Round game in Spokane is a bit strange….That game and a few other potential second round matchups could be very interesting. Like say Maryland-Louisville with Jeff Walz & Brenda Freese once again getting together. Wasn’t it the Cards who ended the Terps run in 2009 ?? Walz was a Maryland assistant when the Terps won it all in 2006. And maybe Stanford-West Virginia in the 2nd round in Norfolk..The Mountaineers have size in the post. But are they quick enough to deal with the Oqwumike sisters ?? There will be upsets in this tournament, but I wouldn’t expect it to involve the #1’s. This season the top four seeds are indeed the favorites with Baylor trying to be the first 40 win national champ. Here are some thoughts on each regional.
DesMoines: Yes, the Bears are that good. Brittany Griner has come a long way offensively this season and Baylor is at their best when the ball goes through the post. Odessey Sims is as good a point guard as anyone in the country and more importantly, she has a “edge” to her that gives the Bears a great chance to win it all. Destinty Williams and Brooklyn Pope will also be counted on to pick up the slack…Tennessee, Delaware and Georgia Tech round out the top seeds. Georgetown is #5, but they have been terrible offensively lately. Granted, they’ll be playing teams unfamiliar to their style of play..we’ll see.
Fresno: Strange that Stanford, the top seed is flying cross country to open in Norfolk. But it’s not like the Cardinal aren’t used to traveling. If any team but Duke was a #2, I’d say Stanford would be the most likely #1 to exit pre Final Four. But with the Blue Devils youth, I have a hard time seeing anyone beating them. But, don’t count out St. John’s. Winners of 9 straight before UConn demolished them in the Big East Semi-Finals..Question will be which Red Storm Team shows up ?
Raleigh: Notre Dame opens at home then heads south. Where defending Champ Texas A&M and #2 Maryland most likely await.The Irish didn’t shoot the ball well in losing to UConn, nor did they get to the FT line. Especially the duo of Diggins and Novosel, who were 2-2…that’s it. If the Irish get a Maryland squad in the elite 8, expect a lot of points. Notre Dame is on a mission to not only get back to the Final Four, but win it…
Kingston: Last year, it was too much familiarity to Indy..This season, UConn will play new teams or teams they haven’t played in a while. Unless Rutgers gets to the Elite 8. Kentucky and Miami are wildcards. They can pile up the points, but can also go down at inopportune times. Miami beat Maryland in the Comcast Center..They also lost to UNC..And if they get RU again in Round 2, don’t think for a minute the Scarlet Knights won’t be hungry for revenge. Of course Kentucky has Samarie Walker (yes, the one & same who transferred from UConn) Their top rebounder since her arrival. Shockingly, a writer or two brought up the possibility of a matchup with the Wildcats down the road. The players took the high road and passed on comments.
Keys for UConn to get to Denver ? Play the way they did at the Big East Tournament and take care of the ball. They don’t have a 1st team all American, but do have players that can score. If Bria Hartley gets her 3 pt stroke back, obviously a plus. And Kia Stokes could be the x-factor. Stephanie Dolson can’t do it alone in the post..And if she gets into foul trouble, the freshman from Iowa will be needed. One area of concern might be Tiffany Hayes and the stress reaction she has in her right foot. She won’t be needed Saturday, but being a senior, I can’t see Hayes not playing..The end is near !!
The Top Seeds should get to Denver – Baylor v Stanford and Round 4 (again) for the Huskies & Irish. It’s the Bears Title to lose. And only one of the Big East Teams they beat in Waco will get a crack to beat them on a neutral floor..IF form holds. Afterall, that’s why the games are played…Should be fun…Just bring the Lunch Pails & Hardhats if you root for the Huskies. You’ll see that kind of effort..Welcome to the madness !!