The top-seeded Stanford Cardinal women’s basketball team takes on the 4th-seeded Georgia Lady Bulldogs in a Sweet 16 match up in the NCAA playoffs tonight in Spokane, WA. Stanford (33 – 2) defeated Tulsa 72 – 56 and Michigan 73 – 40 to earn a spot in the Spokane Regional Semifinal against Georgia. The Lady Bulldogs (27 – 6) defeated Montana 70 – 50 and Iowa State 65 – 60 in the first two rounds of the NCAA playoffs.Stanford is led by consensus All-American Chiney Ogwumike, who averages 22.3 points per game, and 13.0 rebounds per game. Joslyn Tinkle averages 11.9 ppg and 5.7 rpg. Mikaela Ruef rebounds at a 6.6 rpg clip, despite averaging only 21.0 minutes per game. Amber Orrange is Stanford’s leading playmaker with 146 assists for the season, and also chips in 10.7 ppg and 3.3 rpg.
As a team, Stanford shoots 45.7 percent from the floor, 32.0 percent behind the 3-point line, and 71.9 percent from the free throw line. Stanford averages 70.8 ppg and 42.3 rpg, while allowing opponents 51.7 ppg and 34.7 rpg.
Georgia is led by Jasmine Hassell (12.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Jasmine James (10.8 ppg, 123 assists). Shacobia Barbee grabs 5.8 rpg, and Anne Marie Armstrong chips in 4.9 rpg.
Georgia shoots 40.1 percent from the floor, 28.0 percent behind the 3-point line, and 67.0 percent from the free throw line. Georgia averages 66.6 ppg and 40.9 rpg, while allowing opponents 53.4 ppg and 36.9 rpg.
Georgia is physical, athletic, and deep. James feeds Hassell in the post often, who can convert inside. But if double-teamed, she is also capable of finding her teammates on the perimeter, where Georgia has prospered recently. With Stanford’s dominance in the paint, Coach Tara VanDerveer may choose to defend Hassell straight up inside, taking their chances on her getting her points, and forcing Hassell’s teammates to beat Stanford outside. Keeping Georgia off the offensive boards will also be key.
On offense, the Cardinal will have to limit turnovers to take away Georgia’s transition offense. Shot selection will be key, but it will come down to execution and letting the offense go through Ogwumike. As long as Ogwumike can impose her presence on both ends of the court, the Stanford women should win this game going away.
Tip off is 6:04 pm Pacific time.