As a 7th seed, the Huskies were the unlikeliest of teams to make it to the women’s Final Four. Only 3 other teams with a 7 seed or higher to make it this far. It is the first trip ever for the UW women’s program.
The matchup against the Orange is actually a rematch from a game earlier this season which the Huskies lost 66-62 on November 27th. The game saw the Lady Dawgs turn the ball over 19 times. Talia Walton led the team with 22 points.
Syracuse Orange (29-7 overall)
Orange Projected Starting Five: G Alexis Peterson (Jr., 5-7) G Brianna Butler (Sr., 5-11), G Brittney Sykes (RS-Jr., 5-9), F Isabella Slim (Jr., 6-0), C Briana Day (Jr., 6-4).
Key Bench Players: G Cornella Fondren (Sr., 5-8), G Maggie Morrison (R-Sr., 5-8), F Taylor Ford (Sr., 6-0).
In their first game in November, Kelsey Plum was shadowed despite the Orange playing zone. This hindered Plum’s ability to penetrate and score. Plum had 8 turnovers in that game which reflected the Orange defense keying in on her. We will see how Coach Neighbors makes the adjustment.
The Orange defense will be hounding the Dawgs throughout the game as they play a full- and three-quarter-court press and zone.
The Huskies have a very short bench (as in not many women play) so you might see the Orange try to wear down the Dawgs with the press forcing turnovers and the Huskies to speed up the game. Of course, if you have watched this tournament, the Dawgs are in shape and play free-wheeling and shoot when open.
If the Huskies are to win Sunday, they will need this…
Actually the triumvirate of Chantel Osahor, Talia Walton and Kelsey Plum will need to continue their torrid shooting for the Dawgs to win. Plum, the first-ever WBCA Husky All-American, is the third-leading scorer in the nation and will see a lot of attention from the Orange.
While the Orange have their stifling defense, the Huskies have been stingy with their zone as well during the tournament. The defense has limited their opponents in the tournament to just 37.1% from the field. The Huskies will need to keep an eye out for Alexis Peterson. She led the Orange with 29 points against Tennessee in the regional final.
The good news for the Huskies is that they are peaking at the right time. This includes controlling the games in hostile environments against #2-seeded Maryland and #3-seeded Kentucky.
One more game to the National Championship.