Five Women's NCAA Tournament Games to Watch
Round One of the women’s NCAA tournament offers elite games at all angles. Here are five to watch for their intriguing storylines and tactical battles.
Texas may have gone on a legendary run to win the Big 12 title, but that goes out the window now. One thing to look for is Lamar’s incredible away record at 9-0-1, plus a formidable defense that ranks 21st in the country in goals against average. And for Texas, the Lexi Missimo and Trinity Byars partnership needs no further introduction as they pace the 4th-ranked offense.
Indiana travels to Saint Louis in this matchup of regional powers. The Hoosiers did well to navigate a brutal Big Ten slate, while Saint Louis made easy work of the A10 once again. The key here is both teams match up well physically, so this could be down to which teams win more 50-50 battles and loose balls in the midfield.
This game must feel like déjà vu, as two years ago when Grand Canyon qualified for its first NCAA tournament, it was rewarded with a trip to USC. On that day, the Trojans made easy work of the Antelopes in an utterly dominant 6-0 victory. But that was then, and this is now as this Grand Canyon team has a different feel to it with the athleticism needed to match up with anyone in the country, and one of the best goal scorers in college soccer history, Gianna Gourley, in full force. This game will play out much differently, but USC must still be favored.
Two wins from nine is not ideal as Tennessee enters the NCAA tournament. But what does help is that this team plays better on the road than at home, with a 4-2-2 record on its travels. Xavier must be wary of hosting a lower-seeded team that survived a tougher schedule and competes well away from home.
The lone Sunday game gives us an East Coast tussle as Rutgers challenges Columbia. And with both teams allowing less than a goal a game through the regular season, this will be a defensive war.
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