the upcoming games…
#4 UNC v. #1 South Carolina
David Caraviell, Post and Courier: For Gamecocks, an all-too-familiar foe awaits in Sweet 16 and In women’s basketball, battle of Carolinas bigger than one game
She won two national championships at Francis Marion, she married a man from Florence, and she’s a member of the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame. High school coaches from the Palmetto State will comprise much of her camp staff this summer. Sylvia Hatchell may be in her 29th season as head coach of the women’s basketball program at North Carolina, but her ties south of the border remain strong.
“I have probably more houses and real estate in South Carolina than I do in North Carolina,” she said.
No wonder, then, the Tar Heels have proven such a formidable foe for Dawn Staley’s program at South Carolina, in more ways than one.
Willie T. Smith, Greenville News: Hatchell, Staley continue to battle for talent in SC
David Cloninger, Go Gamecocks: Lost stars, same style with Tar Heels – DeShields and McDaniel missing, but UNC still likes to run
Top-seeded South Carolina earned a conveniently short trip for its NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance.
Its opponent — fourth-seeded North Carolina, the lowest seed left in the region — got an even shorter one.
#3 Iowa v. #2 Baylor
Andy Rennecke, SCTimes: Peschel riding high with Hawkeyes
Don’t let Kali Peschel’s statistics fool you. She means a lot to the Iowa women’s basketball team.
The former Sauk Centre star averages 4.9 points and 2.9 rebounds a game in an average of 16.2 minutes per contest, but she does all the dirty work for the Hawkeyes, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 after two wins last weekend.
Luke Meredith, AP: Iowa women’s basketball team, Johnsburg’s Dixon ready for Baylor
By almost every measure, Lisa Bluder’s 15-year tenure at Iowa has been a roaring success.
Bluder’s only blemish had been 11 NCAA tournament appearances, including seven straight, had produced zero trips to the Sweet 16. But the third-seeded Hawkeyes (26-7) finally came through for Bluder on Sunday – and their recent play suggests they might be able to keep winning
Steve Batterson, Waterloo Cedar Fall Courier:
Before packing its bags for the Sweet 16, the Iowa women’s basketball team hit the reset button.
“Those old goals, they don’t work anymore,’’ center Bethany Doolittle said. “We’re going to have to set some new ones because we’re not satisfied just getting to the Sweet 16.’’
Kyle Mann, Daily Iowan: Hawkeyes ready for race-track pace
The Gazette: Hawkeyes back to work, with more nets on their mind
Dubuque Telegraph: Iowa women’s basketball team rockin’ the big dance
Shehan Jeyarajah, The Baylor Lariat: Mulkey’s coaching style brings intensity, success to Baylor women’s basketball
Up 33 points with seven minutes left against Arkansas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, you’d think Kim Mulkey could relax.
Perhaps the most successful coach in Baylor history, regardless of sport, Mulkey was set to lead a young Lady Bears squad to their seventh Sweet 16 in as many years.
But even with the game decided and a trip to the Oklahoma City Regional all but booked, Kim Mulkey was on her feet.
“If you go back and look at the game, everyone’s playing,” she said. “Looking back to when I was a player, I didn’t ever go and play half-speed because the score’s lopsided, so I won’t go and coach like the score is lopsided.”
Joedy McCreary, AP: Florida State, Arizona State square off in women’s Sweet 16
For years, Florida State and Arizona State have been fighting their way up the ladder in women’s basketball.
One is about to move a step closer to its first Final Four.
#4 Stanford v. #1 Notre Dame
AP Game Preview
AP’s Clif Brunt: Stanford’s VanDerveer, Notre Dame’s McGraw to face off
Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer and Notre Dame’s Muffett McGraw will coach against each other Friday in the Sweet 16 for just the third time in their Hall of Fame careers and the first time in the NCAA Tournament.
VanDerveer said she is surprised she hasn’t faced McGraw more often. VanDerveer is in her 29th year at Stanford, and McGraw is in her 28th at Notre Dame.
Robby Howard: Goshen News: Irish enter Sweet 16 with smiles
Notre Dame freshman Brianna Turner is a crowd pleaser.
The 6-foot-3 forward from Pearland, Texas, brings the home crowd to its feet with her blocked shots, her fast-break layups and most enthusiastically when she catches a lob pass from a teammate down low and completes the play with an alley-oop layup.
“Plays like that are just amazing plays and we get energy off that,” Irish forward Taya Reimer said. “It gives the crowd energy and when they’re into it that obviously gives us a lot of energy and we build off that.”
From the Fort Wayne Gazette: Irish junior goes from role player to key role and Al Lesar, NDInsider: Mabrey’s impact for Notre Dame a product of work, short memory
Mention the NCAA Tournament. Knock on wood.
That’s the extent of Michaela Mabrey’s superstition.
Beyond that, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team’s sniper is focused on her work, so she leaves nothing to chance.
John Reid, San Jose Mercury News: Stanford in rare underdog position
It will take some doing for the Stanford women’s basketball team to reach its 13th Final Four. The Cardinal, the No. 4 seed in the Oklahoma City Regional — ranked No. 14 in the nation — is up against second-ranked Notre Dame in today’s regional semifinal at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. Tip-off is 7 p.m.
The Irish (33-2), who won the national title in 2001, are fourth in the nation in scoring offense at 81.1 points per game. Expect the Cardinal (26-9) to slow the tempo until the lane opens up for drives to the basket by guards Amber Orrange, Lili Thompson and Bri Roberson.
#1 Maryland v. #4 Duke:
Sameer Pandhare at the Duke Chronicle:
“It does feel like another ACC battle, per se, from the standpoint of their longevity in the league,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “This team has just done a great job of just staying right there. There’s nowhere else to be and nothing else matters until we get after things on Saturday.”
Louisville v. Dayton
”When we were recruiting her, everything we heard was good but we didn’t know about her consistency,” Walz said. ”You can get away with some things in high school, but they need to be corrected sooner or later. She’s improved and has had some fantastic games this season.”
Tina Charles offers some Tourney Flashback:
That’s the only word that comes to mind when I think about UConn’s regional final game against LSU in 2007.
That game still haunts me.
I was a freshman.
I was exposed.
From the folks at ESPN – and the web folks are back to hiding stuff again:
Spokane is a familiar place for NCAA regionals, so it’s only fitting that it hosts a very familiar matchup.
Top-seeded Maryland and fourth-seeded Duke are preparing to renew their long ACC rivalry and rehash their national championship matchup from 2006 in the opening game here Saturday.
The Terrapins (32-2), who have never failed to reach the Elite Eight as a No. 1 seed, ride a 26-game winning streak into their fourth consecutive trip to the Sweet 16. Duke and Maryland have faced off 81 times in their history, so this is a matchup of teams and coaches who know one another incredibly well.
With fifth-seeded Texas and seventh-seeded Dayton reaching the Sweet 16, the Albany Regional has the most unpredictable group of teams. But at the same time, the region has the nation’s most predictable team.
The New York state lottery has better odds than a bet that Connecticut wouldn’t reach the state capital. The Albany Regional, however, also includes three teams that had to win second-round games in enemy territory to advance. Joining the top-seeded Huskies are the Longhorns and Flyers, who each upset a better-seeded team (Cal and Kentucky, respectively) in a true road game in the last round. And third-seeded Louisville, which couldn’t host because of a venue conflict, won on the road at 6-seed South Florida.
While No. 1 overall seed and two-time defending champion UConn is the overwhelming favorite to emerge from these three games and get to Tampa, the region’s other three teams at least know they are battle tested.
Here are three X factors from each Sweet 16 game in Albany.
The South Carolina seniors had some time to take mental snapshots of their arena and soak in the feelings of affection that poured down on them from the crowd as their second-round NCAA tournament game concluded Sunday. Such are the benefits of a 29-point victory.
“You think of the memories you’ve had in this gym with these fans,” South Carolina forward Aleighsa Welch said after beating Syracuse in her final game at Colonial Life Arena. “There’s no place like home. The sweet part is knowing my journey isn’t over.”
Meanwhile on Monday, the North Carolina seniors couldn’t bask in the happiness of winning their last game on their home court until the final buzzer sounded. Freshman Jamie Cherry’s winning basket with 1 second left brought all in Carmichael Arena to their feet, and kept alive the Tar Heels’ season.
Fans in Oklahoma City are used to watching some of the best individual talent basketball has to offer, albeit one fewer of those stars than they would like at the moment when it comes to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the regular NBA tenants of Chesapeake Energy Arena. So this is as good a place as any to assemble the most competitive collection of star power in the Sweet 16.
Both the regional in Albany, New York, and this one in Oklahoma City feature three of espnW’s 2014-15 All-Americans, but only in Oklahoma’s capital do those players have to compete against each other for a place in the Final Four (Connecticut claiming all three of the representatives in New York’s capital). And in Notre Dame’s Jewell Loyd, Baylor’s Nina Davis and Iowa’s Samantha Logic, Friday’s semifinals offer not only three of the best players in the country but three players unique in style among their peers — Loyd’s commanding athleticism, Davis’ undersized ferocity and Logic’s triple-double smoothness.
The Greensboro Regional — along with Oklahoma City — also represents a half of the NCAA bracket that really showcases coaching continuity. In Greensboro, the coach who has been at her school the shortest amount of time is Dawn Staley, who’s in her seventh season at South Carolina, and 15th overall as a college coach.
Joining Staley in this quarter of the draw are Sylvia Hatchell (29th year at North Carolina, 40th overall), Charli Turner-Thorne (18th season at Arizona State, 21st overall) and Sue Semrau (18th season at Florida State and overall).
North Carolina has been to the Final Four in 1994, 2006 and 2007. But South Carolina, Florida State and Arizona State are still looking for their programs’ breakthrough to the final weekend of the season. But Staley made such a breakthrough while a player at Virginia, leading the Cavaliers to their three Final Four appearances in 1990, ’91 and ’92.
espnW’s Sweet 16 picks – Only Graham dares to be different.
The Division II Championship is running, too. The Finals feature the #14 California University (PA) Vulcans v. unranked Cal Baptist. The Lancers have been roaring through the tournament, defeated their five opponents by an average of 17 points.
“We’ve been the underdog in every game we’ve played so far, so we’re just going in and playing the best game we can play,” CBU coach Jarrod Olson said. “It just so happens that we’ve been able to win some games with some larger margins, and I’m definitely happy about that.”
The game in on Friday, March 27, at 8 p.m. EST and will be broadcast live across the country CBS Sports Network.
She may not know it, but this is Debbies favorite NCCA team: Sacramento State’s ‘bodies flying’ mantra pays dividends for women’s basketball team
They have already broken their own NCAA records for three-pointers made and attempted in a season, and they rank second nationally among 343 Division I teams in scoring at 86.1 points per game, second only to top-ranked and defending national champion Connecticut (89.7).
But the Sacramento State women’s basketball team is more than just a run and gun offensive team. The Hornets have evolved into menacing defensive pests, which could be a point in their favor when they host to Saint Mary’s on Thursdaynight in the WNIT round of 16.