One look at the 63 NCAA women’s tourney games

Baylor is six wins from a second straight national championship.

But, it’s hardly a foregone conclusion this year that the Lady

Bears will repeat.

Here’s one look at the 63 games and how they might pan out. It’s

guaranteed to remain unblemished until at least Saturday’s

opening-round games (seedings in parentheses, winners in




CONNECTICUT (1) vs. Idaho (16) – The Huskies will make the

Vandals’ first trip to the NCAAs in 28 years a short one. UConn

isn’t about to see its 20-plus year streak of losing back-to-back

games end.

VANDERBILT (8) Saint Joseph’s (9) – Saint Joseph’s plays

tenacious defense, as was evident with their run to the Atlantic 10

tournament title. Unfortunately, Vanderbilt, which is just one of

eight schools to make the NCAA field every year since 2000, can

shoot the ball well.

MARIST (12) vs Michigan State (5) – There may not be that one

star player on Brian Giorgis’ team this season, but the Red Foxes

play great defense and anyone can step up on a given day. The

Spartans had a great run through the Big Ten tournament before

falling just short. This will be a low-scoring affair with the

underdog coming away with the win.

MARYLAND (4) vs. Quinnipiac (13) – The Bobcats are making their

first trip to the NCAAs and riding a 22-game winning streak. Coach

Tricia Fabbri loves to play a hockey-style game subbing five in at

a time, hoping to wear down an opponent. It won’t be enough to

upset Alyssa Thomas and the Terps.

DELAWARE (6) vs. West Virginia (11) – Getting to play on their

home court will be enough to help Elena Delle Donne and the Blue

Hens overcome the physical Mountaineers. Akeema Richards

transferred from West Virginia and will definitely have added

incentive to send the Mountaineers home early.

NORTH CAROLINA (3) vs. Albany, NY (14) – The Tar Heels are back

in the tournament after a rare one-year absence, and with ACC

rookie of the year Xylina McDaniel – the daughter of former NBA

star Xavier McDaniel will get through the first round. The Great

Danes are making their second straight NCAA appearance after

running through the America East. Unfortunately, they don’t have

enough offense to stay with the Tar Heels.

ST. JOHN’S (10) vs. Dayton (7) – The Red Storm are hosting for

the first time and don’t plan on losing in the opening round. The

balanced Flyers have only lost twice this season, but lack of

tournament experience will do them in.

KENTUCKY (2) vs. Navy (15) – The Wildcats have too much on

offense and have a strong pressure defense to not sink the young

Midshipmen. Navy is making its third straight trip to the



CONNECTICUT (1) vs. Vanderbilt (9) – The Commodores won’t be

able to keep up with UConn and the Huskies will advance to the

regional semifinals for the 20th straight season.

MARYLAND (4) vs. Marist (12) – The Terrapins are tough to beat

at home and the Red Foxes will challenge them, but Thomas and

Tianna Hawkins will prove to be too much.

DELAWARE (6) vs. North Carolina (3) – There’s just no way that

Elena Delle Donne will lose her final game at home. She’ll have a

huge game to lift the Blue Hens to the regional semifinals and a

trip to Connecticut.

KENTUCKY (2) vs. St. John’s (10) – Nadirah McKenith will be able

to handle the Wildcats’ 40 minutes of dread. Unfortunately, the Red

Storm don’t have an answer for Samarie Walker.


CONNECTICUT (1) vs. Maryland (4) – The Terrapins gave UConn a

tough game in the Jimmy V Classic back in December. Maryland is

still short-handed and the Huskies are too strong.

KENTUCKY (2) vs. Delaware (6) – Delle Donne and Samarie Walker

could have been teammates at UConn. Instead, they will be facing

each other in the regional semifinals. Delle Donne’s career will

end one step short of the matchup that everyone would have loved to



CONNECTICUT (1) vs. Kentucky (2) – Tiffany Hayes was the

difference last year when these two met in the regional final and

UConn came away with a 15-point win. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis will be

the one this time to get the Huskies back to their sixth straight

Final Four.



NOTRE DAME (1) vs. Tennessee-Martin (16) – The Irish aren’t

thrilled they are playing in Iowa. They’ll take it out on the

Skyhawks. Tennessee-Martin has won eight straight and already

played three Top 10 teams this season back in November. They lost

those on average by 23 points.

IOWA (9) vs Miami (8) – For the second straight season, the

Hurricanes will have to play an opponent on its home court in the

NCAA tournament. For the second time in a row, they’ll fall. Iowa

has lost in four of their past five opening-round NCAA games.

COLORADO (5) vs Kansas (12) – The Jayhawks were somewhat of a

surprise to make the field. Angel Goodrich and Chucky Jeffrey will

be an awesome matchup of two talented senior guards. The Buffaloes

have enough of a supporting cast and home-court advantage to win

this matchup of teams familiar with each other from their Big 12


SOUTH CAROLINA (4) vs South Dakota State (13) – The Jackrabbits

have made the NCAA tournament all five years since they moved up

from NCAA Division II, winning once. They won’t be able to get that

second victory in the matchup of ”south” schools. The Gamecocks

set a school record with their 11 SEC wins this season and matched

a 33-year-old school record with 23 regular-season wins.

NEBRASKA (6) vs. Chattanooga (11) – Jordan Hooper and Lindsay

Moore were a combined 9 for 39 in last season’s opening round loss

to Kansas in NCAA tournament. They won’t repeat that against the

Lady Mocs, who have won 19 straight games.

TEXAS A&M (3) vs. Wichita State (14) – The Shockers are

making their first appearance in the NCAA tournament and it will be

a short one against a strong Texas A&M squad which is peaking

at the right time. The Aggies had three straight wins over No. 14

South Carolina, No. 9 Tennessee and No. 7 Kentucky to win the SEC


DEPAUL (10) vs. Oklahoma State (7) – The Blue Demons are a very

different team when Anna Martin plays. The senior guard will get

them out of the first round against the Cowgirls.

DUKE (2) vs. Hampton (15) – The Lady Pirates have won 19

straight games and lead the nation in scoring defense (47.2 ppg).

They definitely could make noise in the tournament if they didn’t

have to travel to Durham for the first round. The Blue Devils will

pull out a close victory at home.


NOTRE DAME (1) vs. Iowa (9) – The Irish have beaten UConn twice

in Connecticut. Really, how much more hostile could the Hawkeyes

fans be? Notre Dame rolls to regional semifinals.

SOUTH CAROLINA (4) vs. Colorado (5) – Aleighsa Welch will get

the Gamecocks back to the regional semifinals for the second

straight season.

TEXAS A&M (3) vs. Nebraska (6) – Kelsey Bone is going to be

too much for the Cornhuskers’ front line as the Aggies move on.

DUKE (2) vs. DePaul (10) – After a defensive struggle in the

first game, the Blue Devils will be happy to open it up against the

Blue Demons. Duke has just too much offense for DePaul to keep up



NOTRE DAME (1) vs. South Carolina (4) – Natalie Achonwa has

stepped up her game this season after playing for Canada in the

Olympics this past summer. She’ll be the difference against the


DUKE (2) vs. Texas A&M (3) – It’s going to be a great battle

inside between Elizabeth Williams and Kelsey Bone. Duke’s got too

much of a supporting cast including freshman Alexis Jones who has

helped the Blue Devils survive the season-ending injury to Chelsea



NOTRE DAME (1) vs. Duke (2) – The Irish haven’t needed much out

of stellar guard Skylar Diggins until now. She’ll carry Notre Dame

back to the Final Four in one of the best games of the tournament.

It’s just too bad that Duke isn’t at 100 percent or else this would

have been a great day to be a Blue Devil.



STANFORD (1) vs. Tulsa (16) – Tulsa is 10-3 in its last 13

games. The Golden Hurricanes didn’t play anyone the caliber of the

Cardinal. Tulsa’s first NCAA trip in seven years will be done in

one game.

VILLANOVA (9) vs. Michigan (8) – Kim Barnes Arico knows all

about Harry Perretta’s system having spent years coaching at St.

John’s. Her new team just doesn’t have enough offensive weapons to

beat the Wildcats.

GONZAGA (12) vs. Iowa State (5) – The Zags have made a living

the last few years winning NCAA tournament games at home. The

Cyclones will be the latest higher seed to fall to Kelly Graves’


GEORGIA (4) vs. Montana (13) – Andy Landers and Robin Selvig

have combined for over 1,600 wins in their stellar careers, yet

have only played once. That game was in the 2000 NCAA tournament

played in Athens. Georgia won by 28. This meeting might not end

much differently.

LSU (6) vs. Green Bay (11) – Green Bay has won at least one game

in the NCAAs in the past three years, including a trip to the

regional semifinals in 2011. Kevin Borseth is back in charge after

spending a few years at Michigan. The Phoenix just don’t have

enough to knock off the Lady Tigers at home.

PENN STATE (3) vs. Cal Poly (14) – The Mustangs earned their

first trip to the NCAA tournament with all-around team

contributions. They just don’t have nearly enough to hang with the

talented Nittany Lions backcourt of Maggie Lucas and Alex


SOUTH FLORIDA (10) vs. Texas Tech (7) – The Red Raiders are

tough to beat at home going 14-3 this season, but the Bulls have

the Smith sisters – Andrea and Andrell – who can put points on the

board in a hurry. Throw in Inga Orekhova, who can get hot from the

outside at anytime, and coach Jose Fernandez’s team will advance to

the second round for the first time.

CALIFORNIA (2) vs. Fresno State (15) – These two Northern

California schools are traveling 1,400 miles to meet in the first

round. The Bulldogs will have a long trip home as they have no one

who can match with Layshia Clarendon.


STANFORD (1) vs. Villanova (9) – There could be a lot of 3s

taken in this game. Amber Orrange carried the Cardinal to the

Pac-12 tournament title. She’ll be the difference against the


GONZAGA (12) vs. Georgia (4) – The Zags are missing the star

power they’ve had in the past, but they still have the home-court

advantage and send the Lady Bulldogs home early again. Georgia

hasn’t made it past the regional semifinals since 2004.

PENN STATE (3) vs. LSU (6) – These teams will play for the

second year in a row in Baton Rouge. Last season, the Nittany Lions

won by 10. It will be another high-scoring matchup, but the Lady

Tigers just don’t have enough to pull off the upset.

CALIFORNIA (2) vs. South Florida (10) – This could be an

entertaining matchup with lots of points put up if South Florida is

hitting its shots. Unfortunately, the Bulls have also struggled at

times on offense – see a 42-39 win over Rutgers in Big East

tournament second round. The Golden Bears will advance.


STANFORD (1) vs. Gonzaga (4) – A rematch of the 2011 regional

final played in the same arena. A much better Gonzaga team lost by

23 to the Cardinal. This Stanford team isn’t as good, either, but

still has enough to end another Bulldogs season.

PENN STATE (3) vs. California (2) – President Barack Obama has

California advancing to the Final Four. The Golden Bears just don’t

have a way to stop the Nittany Lions’ backcourt of Maggie Lucas and

Alex Bentley. Brittany Boyd will do the best she can, but it won’t

be enough.


STANFORD (1) vs. Penn State (3) – Big players lead teams to the

Final Four and Chiney Ogwumike will get the Cardinal there for the

sixth straight year. The Nittany Lions make it a step farther than

last season, but still fall short of their first Final Four since




BAYLOR (1) vs. Prairie View A&M (16) – These teams played in

the first round of the NCAA tournament two years ago and the Lady

Bears came away with a 36-point win. Brittney Griner and Co. are

much better, and it will be a much wider margin.

PRINCETON (9) vs. Florida State (8) – The only thing missing

from Niveen Rasheed’s career at Princeton is an NCAA tournament

victory. That will change after the Tigers beat the Seminoles

giving an Ivy League school a win for the first time since the

Harvard-Stanford upset in 1998.

LOUISVILLE (4) vs. Middle Tennessee (13) – If the Blue Raiders

were playing this game on a neutral court they’d have a really good

shot at pulling off the upset behind star Ebony Rowe. Unfortunately

for Middle Tennessee, the game is being played at Louisville. The

home court will be the difference.

PURDUE (5) vs. Liberty (12) – The Flames enter the NCAA

tournament on a 14-game winning streak despite losing starting

point guard Emily Frazier to a knee injury on Feb. 16. They’re

running against a Boilermakers squad that peaked at the right time

with a Big Ten tournament title.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN (11) vs. Oklahoma (6) – The Chippewas have

size, depth and athleticism, and in Crystal Bradford, a rising

star. A demanding non-conference schedule with games against Notre

Dame and Purdue prepared them for tournament play. It will be too

much for an injury-plagued Oklahoma team that lost four players,

including three starters, to season-ending injuries by the start of


UCLA (3) vs. Stetson (14) – Fresh off a finals appearance in the

Pac-12 tournament, Cori Close’s team is peaking at the right time.

The Hatters rallied from a 15-point second half deficit to win the

Atlantic Sun Championship over top-seed FGCU. They won’t have the

same success against the Bruins.

SYRACUSE (7) vs. Creighton (10) – Star center Kayla Alexander

will cap off her stellar career by helping the Orange win their

first NCAA tournament game. She’ll be too much for Bluejays center

Sarah Nelson, who is the leading post player in the NCAA in

assist-to-turnover ratio (1.91).

TENNESSEE (2) vs. Oral Roberts (15) – Holly Warlick will get her

first NCAA tournament victory, ending the college career of

talented Oral Roberts guard Kevi Luper.


BAYLOR (1) vs. Princeton (9) – Rasheed has had a great career at

Princeton, but the Tigers don’t have enough to contain Griner and

the defending national champions.

LOUISVILLE (4) vs. Purdue (5) – The Boilermakers have been a

Jekyll and Hyde team, and looked great to end the season winning

Big Ten tournament. Don’t think they have enough to beat the

Schimmel sisters and Louisville.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN (11) vs. UCLA (6) – The Bruins have made great

strides this year under Close. Unfortunately, they are running into

a surging Central Michigan team. The Chippewas in a squeaker.

TENNESSEE (2) vs. Syracuse (7) – The Lady Vols never lose at

home in the NCAA tournament. Kayla Alexander and Carmen

Tyson-Thomas give the Orange a talented inside-outside duo, but

just don’t have enough to beat Meighan Simmons and Tennessee.


BAYLOR (1) vs. Louisville (4) – Jeff Walz’s team has no real

answer for Brittney Griner – then again no one really in the

country does. Griner will find open teammates with her stellar

passing and the Lady Bears will continue their quest for a second

straight title.

TENNESSEE (2) vs. Central Michigan (11) – Only one No. 11 seed

has made it to the regional final and that was Gonzaga in 2011.

That streak will continue as the Chippewas’ season will end against

the Lady Vols.


BAYLOR (1) vs. Tennessee (2) – A rematch of last season’s

regional final game will end the same way with Baylor moving on and

Tennessee failing to make the Final Four for a fifth straight

season. There’s no way that the Lady Bears wouldn’t send coach Kim

Mulkey back home to Louisiana for the Final Four.


CONNECTICUT (1) vs. Notre Dame (1) – The Irish have found a way

to win the three meetings this season and have dominated the

Huskies over the last few years like no other team ever has. The

two Big East powers will have one final clash this season and UConn

will find a way to finally pull one out ending the brilliant

college career of Diggins.

BAYLOR (1) vs. Stanford (1) – The Cardinal handed Baylor its

only loss of the past two seasons in Hawaii on Nov. 16. Odyssey

Sims pulled her hamstring early in the first half and the Lady

Bears weren’t the same. Sims is healthy and help the Lady Bears

avenge the only blemish on their season.


CONNECTICUT (1) vs. Baylor (1) – The teams met in February and

UConn couldn’t hold onto a halftime lead as Griner took over in the

second half, including scoring her 3,000th career point. This will

be one of the all-time great championship games, but Griner’s

career will end just short of a second straight national

championship and the Huskies will win their eighth.

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