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Sunday, March 30, 2014
Sunday Cardinal Couple -- Cards face LSU today in NCAA Regionals
SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
Gary Witherspoon previews the action ahead!
Women’s college basketball fans should get a big
treat this weekend in the Louisville regional of the NCAA tournament. From top
to bottom, the Louisville regional probably has the best set of four teams of
any of the four regionals.
Lincoln regional looks like a cakewalk to the Final Four for UConn. The
Stanford regional will also be very competitive; and, like the Louisville
regional, it seems very possible that any of the four teams in that regional
could win it. Notre Dame got by Oklahoma State, but they could be
challenged by Baylor in the Notre Dame regional. The
Baylor/Kentucky matchup looked to be the best matchup of the first round of games
this weekend. Baylor dominated.
Despite not being the number one seeds in their
regionals, I think Louisville and Stanford should be viewed as the favorites to
win their regionals because they are probably the best teams in those regionals
and because they are playing at home. But they should only be considered slight
favorites, and could lose either in the semifinals or in the finals of their regions.
two biggest stars in the Louisville regional are Shoni Schimmel and Alyssa
Thomas of Maryland. Beyond these two, thereis a great array of individual
talent that includes Theresa Plaisance and Danielle Ballard of LSU, Lexie Brown
of Maryland, Izzy Harrison and Meighan Simmons of Tennessee, and Louisville’s
Sara Hammond and Asia Taylor.
Beyond the stars, there are also some great role
players in this regional like Shanece McKinney and Jeanne Kenney of LSU, Cierra
Burdick, Bashara Graves and Andraya Carter of Tennessee, and Tia Gibbs, Antonita
Slaughter, Bria Smith andJude Schimmel of Louisville. Any of these great role
players could wind up being the deciding factor in these games that are likely
to be closely contested.
Louisville and Tennessee have by far the most depth
in talent and experience of any of these four teams, but Danielle Ballard and
Theresa Plaisance of LSU and Alyssa Thomas of Maryland are the most versatile
players in the regional because they can all play in the post as well as on the
perimeter, and they can all rebound as well as play in transition.
Louisville and Maryland have been the most
consistent teams through the season, and Tennessee and LSU have been the most
LSU beat Tennessee 80-77 at Tennessee in January, and LSU lost to
Tennessee 72-67 at home late in the season.
lost 88-67 at Louisville in the early season WNIT, but LSU led that game through
most of the first half. Louisville went on a 21-0 run starting at 10:53 of the
second half, taking the score from 60-54 to 81-54 with 5:30 left. Asia Taylor
led the Cards in that game with 23 points, but all five starters finished in
double figures. Jude had 3 rebounds,2 assists, 2 steals and 6 points in 14
minutes off the bench.
big thing to keep in mind is that Danielle Ballard had only 4 points in 12
minutes in that early season game against Louisville. She has since then
developed into one of the best players in the country. In LSU’s win over 2
seed West Virginia, Ballard had 22 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals
in 38 minutes. Ballard is only about 5’9”. In LSU’s victory at Tennessee,
Ballard had 25 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, 1 block and no turnovers
in 34 minutes. In LSU’s loss to Tennessee at home, Ballard had 3 points and 3
rebounds in 18 minutes. It seems as Ballard goes, so goes LSU.
has been inconsistent losing 6 in a row and 8 out of 10 late in the season, but now they are on a two game winning streak in the NCAA tournament. They can be
very good. The have size, quickness, and are tough on the boards and in the
open court. Plaisance is 6’5” and alternates between playing point guard and
shooting threes to playing center and posting up inside. She was a teammate of
Shoni’s on the World University Games USA team.
Shanece McKinney is a big body inside at 6’4’’ and
over 200 lbs. She had 7 rebounds, 13 points and 5 blocked shots in 32 minutes
against West Virginia. Jeanne Kenney is a 5’8” guard who shoots well from
distance and usually runs the offense.
Like Ballard, Plaisance and Kinney have both scored
more than 20 points in games this season. Kinney is LSU’s active leader in
assists with over 300. Dashawn Harden has replaced Moncrief (injured) in the
starting lineup and has done well recently.
Because of a concussion in the last
game, Kenney may not play in this game.
I asked this question of Shoni Schimmel at the Media presser Q&A Saturday. Fully tongue-in-cheek, concerning the surprising "E" coast to coast ramble against Iowa. 2/3rd of the people in the media room were clueless. It even took Shoni a few seconds to catch the parody
Q.Shoni, is the Emmonnie Henderson coast‑to‑coast
lay‑up something that's
In case you missed Saturday action...UConn, Notre Dame, Baylor and Texas A&M punched their tickets for Monday night games. Bye-bye Bruno, Mattie, Mormons and Cowboys.
In addition to Louisville facing LSU today, the Maryland Terrapins will face the Tennessee Vols at the KFC YUM! Center (noon tipoff). In the Stanford regional, a battle of the Carolinas (North vs.South) and Stanford faces Penn State.
In case you wondered, two #1 seeds have advanced so far (Notre Dame and UConn). Baylor moves on as a #2 seed and the A&M bunch enters as a #3 seed.
Today, it's #1 vs #4 when UT plays the Terps and #3 vs #7 when the Cards battle LSU. South Carolina is a #1 seed. North Carolina a #4. #2 seed Stanford hosts #3 seed Penn State.