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Women’s March Madness: Elite 8 Schedule, Tip Times and Analysis

The Elite Eight spherical of the N.C.A.A. ladies’s match begins on Sunday, bringing even increased stakes and tight matchups. Within the Greensboro and Spokane areas, two No. 1 seeds will combat for the Last 4 spots that they imagine are rightfully theirs, and two decrease seeds — one a lot decrease — will attempt to spoil their social gathering.

No. 1 seed South Carolina performs No. 10 seed Creighton at 7 p.m. Japanese (ESPN) within the Greensboro regional closing, whereas No. 1 seed Stanford performs No. 2 seed Texas at 9 p.m. Japanese (ESPN) within the Spokane area.

In line with ESPN, 3 percent of women’s basketball tournament brackets created utilizing its platform had No. 10 seed Creighton within the Elite Eight. Even that appears excessive, and going farther is a tall order in opposition to South Carolina, a group whose dominance all season has solely just lately proven indicators of faltering.

The Gamecocks received their spherical of 16 sport on Friday in opposition to fifth-seeded North Carolina with out posting gaudy statistics — at the least not past ahead Aliyah Boston’s 28 factors and 22 rebounds. The Tar Heels stayed inside attain till the top, and South Carolina had its second straight sport by which it didn’t have sufficient separation to be comfy till the clock ran out. As a substitute, the Gamecocks wanted Boston to publish numbers far increased than her season averages to outlive, one thing Creighton is probably going contemplating because it places collectively its sport plan.

As a way to beat No. 3-seeded Iowa State, the Bluejays needed to play spectacular, constant protection. The Cyclones had been one of many highest scoring groups within the nation coming into the sport, however Creighton was capable of frustrate their greatest offensive weapon, artful Iowa State senior Ashley Joens. She made simply 4 photographs from the sphere. The 6-foot-5 Boston should use her substantial measurement benefit over Creighton — which has no gamers taller than 6-foot-1 — to as soon as once more rating persistently inside, even when the Bluejays can take away a lot of her guards’ open appears.

South Carolina will even want to protect the perimeter with a purpose to clinch their second straight journey to the Last 4, which has been one in all their strengths this season. On common, opposing groups make simply 26.6 p.c of their 3-point photographs in opposition to the Gamecocks. They’ll must match or surpass that common in opposition to Creighton, which has made 9.6 three-point baskets per sport to date on this match whereas taking comparatively few photographs. Though Creighton is preventing in opposition to the chances to develop into the primary double-digit seed to make the Last 4, the sport may very nicely come all the way down to the wire.

“That was a reasonably very long time in the past,” mentioned Texas freshman level guard Rori Harmon when requested concerning the Longhorns’ win over the Stanford, the reigning champion, again in November. “It’s fully totally different now.”

The Cardinal, it might appear, don’t fairly see it that method. Texas beat them on their dwelling court docket on the very sport the place they have been celebrating their title and awarding gamers their championship rings. Stanford had a 5-point lead going into the fourth quarter of that sport, and nonetheless misplaced — one thing coach Tara VanDerveer introduced up when contemplating the matchup. “I don’t suppose anybody on our group has forgotten about that,” she mentioned after Stanford’s spherical of 16 win.

Sadly for Texas, Stanford seemed as intimidating as ever in its near-total domination of No. 4 seed Maryland. Its weakest quarter, although, was as soon as once more the fourth, by which the Terrapins have been capable of reduce what had been a 26-point lead down to six. The Longhorns see relentlessness, and particularly relentless protection, as their trademark, and can purpose to as soon as once more fluster the Cardinal late.

The problem shall be stifling Stanford’s electrical offense, powered by junior Haley Jones and a slew of different shooters with the dimensions to create open appears from anyplace on the court docket. In the event that they need to pull off the upset, the Longhorns’ publish gamers should play cautious, tight protection with a purpose to draw Stanford’s Cameron Brink — one of many Cardinal’s best scorers — into foul hassle, which will be one in all her weaknesses.

Even when the Longhorns can gradual Stanford down utilizing the press protection, they are going to possible should combat to attain themselves. Joanne Allen-Taylor was the main scorer for Texas within the spherical of 16, preventing for pull-up jumpers and drawing fouls. The senior should maintain her power excessive and the ball shifting with a purpose to discover any offense in any respect in opposition to this skilled Stanford group.

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