The Women's NCAA Tournament has reached the Sweet 16. How does the field look heading into the third round of the 2018 tournament?
KANSAS CITY Region Preview[divider]
MSU heads to their third-straight Sweet Sixteen pulling off the 71-56 win over Oklahoma State on Monday advancing to face NC State. At 34-1 on the year, this matches a program record for most wins in a season and they finished a perfect 18-0 at home.
This is a senior lead lineup in guard Victoria Vivians at 19.6 points per game, Roshunda Johnson at 11.7 points per game, Blair Schaefer at 9.7 points per game and Morgan William at 7.8 points per game. Rounding out the starting lineup is the lone junior, six-foot-seven powerhouse Teaira McCowan who averages 17.8 points per game and 13.3 rebounds.
[credit]Mississippi State Athletics[/credit]
The Wolfpack head into the Sweet Sixteen winning 14 of their last 17 games and their trip under Head Coach Wes Moore. Two of those losses came to Notre Dame and Louisville. A balanced scoring attack lead to a 74-60 win over Maryland in the 2nd round.
They are lead by Chelsea Nelson at 13.1 points per game and will need all hands on deck trying to contain Mississippi State's Teaira McCowan down low. The two teams have not faced each other since 2001 where the Bulldogs defeated NC State 71-58 in Cancun, Mexico.
After a first round 71-60 win over American and a second round 86-64 win over Creighton, UCLA advances to their third-straight Sweet Sixteen facing Texas next. UCLA plays fast, they press and they force you into turnovers. Seniors Jordin Canada and Monique Billings prove to be a tough match-up for opponents. Canada is one of the top point guards in the country averaging 16.7 points and 7 assists.
Billings averages 15.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. These two seniors, along with Kelli Hayes look to continue their legacy advancing to the Elite Eight, but will need to do so defensively and continue to shoot the ball well, which they have as of late.[divider]
The No. 2-seed Longhorns strive to make history as they will play in their fourth straight Sweet Sixteen and will face UCLA on Friday. Offensively, they are playing very well shooting over 61-percent in the last two rounds, averaging 42 points in the paint and 20 points coming off the bench.
Seniors Ariel Atkins and Brooke McCarty will need to come up big as they continue their quest to an Elite Eight. Limiting turnovers against UCLA will be key, along with being able to handle their pressure and continue to be dominant on the boards and shoot the ball well like they have.
Considering what these seniors bring to the table along with head coach Vic Schaefer, its very difficult to imagine them getting beat in this Region.
The Texas – UCLA matchup will be exciting. If these two teams played 10 times, each would likely win five time apiece. That game will be a tough, gritty matchup that probably comes down to the final few possessions.
Friday, March 23 — Kansas City, MO
Mississippi State vs. NC State 6:00 pm on ESPN2
Texas vs. UCLA 8:00 pm on ESPN2