The women’s NCAA tournament kicks off and the game is in as good as hands as ever. While UConn may still be the favorite to win the tourney, it’s not a bad year at all to pick the field. The better UConn gets, the rest of the country is rising with it and it will be on display in the 2018 tournament.
Here are seven players you cannot miss this March.
South Carolina’s A’Ja Wilson is the best of the best
Wilson is the clear standout star of this tournament. She’s the 6’5 senior from South Carolina, who will most likely be the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft next month and the NCAA’s Women’s player of the year. She’s just that good. After most of last year’s title team left for the WNBA draft, Wilson stayed and has continued to carry South Carolina all year averaging 22.6 points and 11.8 rebounds per game and has 94 blocks this season.
They’re on the path for an Elite 8 matchup with UConn which could easily be a national championship game.
UConn’s Gabby Williams literally does it all
UConn may not have one true standout player like Breanna Stewart or Maya Moore but my goodness are they loaded with talent. With Katie Lou Samuelson, Gabby Williams, and Kia Nurse leading the way, this team is as stacked as ever. They’re currently 32-0 after losing in the Final Four last year.
But the one player to keep an extra close eye on is senior Gabby Williams. Expected to go early in the WNBA draft, Williams had 19 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals in the AAC Championship game in just 30 minutes. She truly does it all.
ESPN’s Jay Bilas thinks she’s the most complete player in all of college basketall
Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell can shoot the damn ball
You want to see someone score points? Then watch Kelsey Mitchell. She enters the tourney with 3,363 career points. That is only 31 points shy of Jackie Stiles for second all-time on the D1 scoring list. She can hit from deep at any time.
And can drive while having the agility and balance to finish strong at the basket.
Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu is a triple double machine
Ionsecu and the Ducks are the two-seed in the Spokane region and will be on display Friday night in the first round. Ionescu currently has five triple-doubles this season and nine for her career, which is an NCAA record. In the Pac-12 championship game, she led Oregon to a title with a blistering 36 points. Her court vision though is what sets her apart and will lead the Ducks far in the tourney.
By the way, she’s only a sophomore.
HIGHLIGHTS | Sabrina Ionescu had her biggest game of the year in Oregon’s biggest game of the year. A career-high 36 points plus four rebounds, four assists and four steals. #GoDucks pic.twitter.com/vud2LiFPAv
— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) March 5, 2018
Louisville’s Asia Durr is a pure scorer
Durr is an incredible basketball player. I don’t need to say more than that she scored 47 points against Ohio State this year. She had 36 points against Notre Dame, and she’d led Louisville to their first ever No. 1 seed in the tourney. She’s the ACC player of the year and oh yeah … she’s a junior.
UCLA’s Peanut Butter and Jelly duo
Jordin Canada and Monique Billings refer to themselves as peanut butter and jelly on the court together, while Canada stands at 5’6 and Billings comes in at 6’4. Their height isn’t their only difference since they grew up as rivals in the AAU circuit as well. But now they’ve come together in their senior year to get UCLA was last push towards a title. Canada is the Pac-12 defensive player who averages 16.8 points, 6.9 assists, 3.5 boards and 3.2 steals per game. Billings is averaging 15.2 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
It’s set up to be a great tournament this year with plenty of storylines to follow. Don’t let a dominant UConn team keep you away from all of the good basketball happening in the women’s game.
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