The primary spherical of the ladies’s NCAA event is behind us, and the sphere has been narrowed to 32 groups. Mechelle Voepel and Charlie Creme of espnW weigh in on the perfect and worst of Saturday and look forward to what we would anticipate Sunday when the second spherical begins.
What’s subsequent for Tennessee after the Girl Vols’ first-round exit?
Try Event Problem for stay updates with an opportunity to win $5,000 in Amazon.com reward playing cards!
Voepel: A 3rd consecutive early-round loss within the NCAA event is dangerous sufficient. A participant (Evina Westbrook) telling media after the sport that there must be adjustments with the Girl Vols — together with the employees — is a transparent signal that they’ve vital chemistry points and inner strife, which was evident in a few of their losses this season, together with at house to Vanderbilt.
Athletic director Phillip Fulmer prolonged coach Holly Warlick’s contract by 2021-22 in August. Shopping for out ladies’s basketball teaching contracts has hardly ever been accomplished, however Tennessee is likely to be in that place.
Does Warlick must be changed? Her employees? Each? If nothing occurs, will gamers switch? And the way lengthy can Tennessee proceed to lose floor to different SEC packages which have develop into powers, reminiscent of Mississippi State and South Carolina?
Fulmer and the Tennessee athletic division should determine quickly if this system can proceed as it’s. Tabling this isn’t going to make it higher.
Evina Westbrook bought candid with us in post-game, mentioned adjustments must be made to this system off the courtroom, particularly within the #LadyVols teaching employees. pic.twitter.com/iJjVXlWI4z
— Jordan Crammer (@JordanCrammer) March 23, 2019
Creme: The Tennessee program wants a tradition change. Sophomore Evina Westbrook alluded to such after the loss to UCLA on Saturday. That revamped tradition might come within the type of utterly new personnel or an altered method by the employees already in place.
My instincts say the previous would not come with out some change to the latter. It is likely to be time for brand new management atop the Girl Vols’ operation, and a few gamers must look within the mirror and consider their dedication to this system.
A No. 11 seed and first-round exit aren’t acceptable at any of the top-20 packages — particularly not at a college with eight nationwide titles that was so essential to the expansion of the game.
What stunned you most from the second day of the event?
Voepel: How robust No. 5 seed Gonzaga regarded from the tip in beating Little Rock within the Albany Regional. Contemplating the Bulldogs’ damage points, there have been questions on how effectively they’d play. They answered these by outscoring the Trojans 21-2 within the first quarter.
Gonzaga entered the NCAA event with two key gamers — level guard Laura Stockton (eight.9 PPG, four.2 APG) and Jill Townsend (9.four PPG, four.7 RPG) — sidelined with accidents however regarded dominant in its opening win. AP Photograph/Amanda Loman
Creme: Michigan State’s capability to outscore Central Michigan was not how I noticed that recreation going. For the Spartans to win, I assumed they would want bodily play and rugged protection. Neither occurred, and Michigan State nonetheless gained a wildly entertaining 88-87 recreation.
Whereas the Spartans managed the offensive boards for key stretches, the ultimate rebounding benefit was solely 33-30. Michigan State by no means tried to push and bang Reyna Frost, the Chippewas’ 6-foot star submit participant. In reality, the Spartans by no means even doubled her, and Frost put up 34 factors. Coach Suzy Service provider elected to push tempo much more, a recreation that Central Michigan likes to play, but it surely labored, and the Spartans superior to the second spherical for the ninth time in 15 years.
What was the perfect second from Saturday?
Voepel: Going with some nostalgia right here: Seeing Missouri State coach Kellie Harper and assistant Jackie Stiles trying so intense on the Girl Bears’ bench as they upset No. 6 seed DePaul and remembering how essential each have been to their groups as gamers, with Harper successful three NCAA titles with Tennessee (1996-98) and Stiles attending to the Ultimate 4 with mid-major Missouri State in 2001. In the present day, they helped the Girl Bears to their first NCAA event victory since Stiles & Co. gained their Elite Eight recreation in opposition to Washington in 2001.
Missouri State’s Girl Bears pulled off their first win within the NCAA event since 2001, the 12 months they rode Jackie Stiles to the Ultimate 4.
A have a look at the perfect of Saturday’s first-round video games within the 2019 ladies’s NCAA event.
When Tennessee misplaced within the first spherical in 2009, it was a stunner. However Saturday’s loss to UCLA was hardly a shock in an up-and-down season.
Creme: Boise State misplaced, however the confidence with which the Broncos performed within the second half in opposition to Oregon State was fascinating. They have been the higher group for many of the recreation, and senior guard Marta Hermida appeared to understand it when she winked on the rim after she made two free throws to provide Boise State a late four-point lead.
What group do you are feeling in another way about now than you probably did coming into the day?
Voepel: Michigan State misplaced six of its 10 video games since Feb. 7, 4 of these in opposition to groups that did not make the NCAA event. The No. 9 seed Spartans have been going in opposition to a No. eight seed Central Michigan group that made the Candy 16 final 12 months and would love nothing higher than to beat a Large Ten group. The Spartans needed to battle for this one. Their 88-87 win on Shay Colley’s layup with seven seconds left was massive. It means they should face defending nationwide champion Notre Dame subsequent, however the Spartans are joyful to have that probability.
Creme: Beating DePaul was at all times within the playing cards for Missouri State. Completely controlling the sport in opposition to the Blue Demons from the center of the second quarter was one thing else totally. The Girl Bears have been good all season — as two wins over Drake and shut losses to Gonzaga and Missouri indicated — however this sort of efficiency exceeded expectations.
Missouri State has averaged simply greater than four.5 Three-pointers per recreation this season. In its previous two video games — the Missouri Valley championship recreation in opposition to Drake and Saturday’s first-round win over DePaul — the Girl Bears have made a mixed 20. That type of taking pictures provides them an opportunity in opposition to one other actually good taking pictures group in Iowa State within the second spherical.
Give us one Sunday upset decide that will shock many of the world however wouldn’t shock you.
Voepel: No. 7 seed Missouri bought some massive wins on the street throughout SEC play, together with at Tennessee (early in January when that was nonetheless a giant win), at Mississippi State (the one visiting group to win in Starkville the previous two years) and at Arkansas (the week earlier than the Razorbacks went on their run to the SEC event last). Beating No. 2 seed Iowa on the Hawkeyes’ house courtroom is a chance. Staying out of foul bother and limiting turnovers, each of which have been points, are keys for the Tigers.
Coach Kellie Harper and 11th-seeded Missouri State supplied the largest upset of the primary spherical, knocking off No. 6 seed DePaul. AP Photograph/Matthew Putney
Creme: Simply two years faraway from a nationwide championship, South Carolina is a extra well-known program than Florida State and the upper seed. However the fifth-seeded Seminoles’ attending to the Candy 16 with a win Sunday is smart. The Seminoles have been the extra constant group most of this season and have the extra reliable go-to participant in Kiah Gillespie. Sure, Florida State struggled to beat Bucknell within the first spherical, and the No. four seed Gamecocks cruised in opposition to Belmont, however South Carolina’s Bianca Cuevas-Moore and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan served suspensions throughout that recreation for a violation of group guidelines. Might that proceed to be a distraction for South Carolina?
Who may need the larger impression: Iowa’s Megan Gustafson or Missouri’s Sophie Cunningham?
Voepel: Here is a approach to take a look at this: Gustafson’s standing because the main scorer and probably the greatest rebounders within the nation is a given. No person has stopped her. She’ll get her double-double, and opponents are fortunate if it is solely 28 and 13.
Cunningham, pretty much as good as she has been, has been held to single-digit scoring video games six occasions, although all of these have been earlier on this season, both earlier than ahead Cierra Porter rejoined the group or quickly afterward.
Cunningham must hit bounce pictures, and she or he has to keep away from foul bother. If she will do each, she has the possibility to have an even bigger impression — partially as a result of, truthful or not, what Gustafson does is so constant that it is nearly taken with no consideration.
Creme: Cunningham handles the ball extra and performs extra areas on protection, so the pure reply can be that she would have probably the most affect. Nonetheless, Gustafson’s submit play and scoring are such an amazing a part of each Iowa recreation.
If Gustafson is catching it low sufficient on the block, she is nearly unstoppable as a result of she so hardly ever misses, taking pictures practically 70 p.c from the sphere. Iowa can merely hold going to that until Missouri finds a inventive option to gradual her down. Cierra Porter won’t be sufficient by herself. Cunningham has to play effectively for the Tigers to win, however Missouri has generally struggled this season in video games wherein she has been nice.