It is finished – DC-area women’s teams run in March Madness that is – as the 2016 Women’s Basketball NCAA Championship heads into the Sweet 16. George Washington was upset in the first round and Maryland in the second. But the cream has risen to the top of the field.
No. 3 South Carolina must eliminate No. 14 Syracuse to advance in the Sioux Falls region. Tip-off is 7 pm March 25 (ESPN). No. 9 Ohio State and Tennessee follow at 9:30 (ESPN 2). No. 12 Kentucky will attempt to avoid the upset when it plays Washington in the Lexington regional at 7 (ESPN 2). No. 2 Notre Dame faces No. 13 Stanford at 9:30 (ESPN) in what might be the night’s best game.
No. 1 Connecticut drew surprising No. 15 Mississippi State at 11 am on March 26. UCLA squares off against No. 7 Texas at 2 pm in the other Bridgeport regional game No. 4 Baylor has No. 17 Florida State at 4 pm in the Dallas regional. No. 18 DePaul will be looking for another upset, this time against No. 6 Oregon State at 6:30. All of Saturday’s games will be televised on ESPN.
The Huskies and Volunteers have ascended the highest to reach this level of the dance. Both started the show as seventh seeds. Neither cracked AP’s final top 20.
Players to watch this weekend Washington’s point guard Kelsey Plum. She finished with 32 points, six rebounds and seven assists. In 2016, Plum has scored a UW single-season record 894 points and averages 26.3 ppg. She also averages 4.1 assists per game and 3.7 rebounds per contest.
Tennessee’s Diamond DeShields and Bashaara Graves have been named to the Associated Press Women’s Basketball All-SEC Second Team. DeShields, a transfer from North Carolina, led the team this season with 13.9 points per game while also adding 5.1 rebounds This season Graves is averaging 10.4 points and a team best 8.4 rebounds per game.
DePaul point guard Chanise Jenkins averaged 14.6 points per game along with five assists. She was named the Big East Player of the Year.
Florida State has the one of the deepest benches left in the tournament. For example, the Seminoles leading scorer is Shakayla Thomas – the sixth woman. She averages 16.6 points per game in just 25 minutes. Thomas shoots better than 50 percent from the floor.
Mississippi States’ Victoria Vivians named to the WBCA All-Region 2 Team after averaging 21.5 ppg in this year’s NCAA Tournament. She averaged 17.4 ppg and 6 rpg during the regular season.
Three former DC prep stars could still create some March Madness. Maggie Morrison (Archbishop Spalding/Vanderbilt) has contributed 11 points in Syracuse’s first round 79-56 win over Albany. She hit back-to-back threes, giving the Orange the lead. Syracuse never trailed again.
Notre Dame’s Lindsay Allen (St. John’s) is a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award as the country’s top point guard while averaging 9 points per game. She is one of only four players from Power Five conferences to rank among the top 20 nationally in both assists and assist (5.9)/turnover ratio (2.49), joining Baylor’s Niya Johnson, Maryland’s Brene Moseley (Paint Branch) and Nebraska’s Rachel Theriot in that exclusive company.
Natalie Butler comes off the bench for the undefeated UConn Huskies. She has been all but forgotten since the season ended as Geno Auriemma and the Connecticut media machine has focused on Moriah Jefferson, Morgan Tuck and Breanna Stewart.