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Sizing up ND vs. BU (what won it and what the final will look like)

April 2, 2012 – 8:59 AM

By Ashleigh Sargent and Mariah Philips

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish took down perennial powerhouse UConn in overtime to advance to the National Championship for the second year in a row.  Behind the leadership of Skylar Diggins, who finished the night with 19 points, Notre Dame forced the game into overtime after falling behind the Huskies with less than ten seconds in regulation.  Natalie Novosel put back a clutch offensive board to tie the game with 4.6 seconds left and eventually finished with a team-high of 20 points.  Notre Dame dominated overtime, getting two key three-pointers from Brittany Mallory and scoring the final eight points to secure a spot in the Championship. Analysis: The combination of solid perimeter play and relentless toughness clinched the victory.

Baylor: Despite getting just 13 points total from Brittany Griner, Baylor’s strong second half secured the victory over the Stanford Cardinal.  Terran Condrey came up big off the bench for the Bears adding 13 points.  On the defensive end, Destiny Williams grabbed eight defensive boards to finish with a team-high ten rebounds.  Even though Stanford doubled down on Griner, her height and athleticism proved to be too much to handle down the stretch.  Analysis: Both teams struggled offensively, but in the end, Baylor’s defensive efforts won the game for them. Even though Nnemkadi Ogwumike scored 22 points, the Bears managed to hold the rest of the Stanford roster to single digit scoring.

 The Big Game: This Championship matchup will be an interesting one as it features strong guard play on Notre Dame’s side versus Baylor’s tough inside game anchored by Brittany Griner.  Notre Dame will be persistent and scrappy in the front court and will have to rely on the leadership of their guards to control the pace and cause havoc on defense.  Conversely, Baylor will need a big performance from their post players.  If Baylor can consistently feed the ball down low and follow up misses with put-backs, they will be hard to stop with a much smaller Notre Dame team.

 The Pick: We predict that the next National Champion will be Baylor based on their flawless record of 39-0 and an unmatchable size advantage.  Notre Dame is a small team to begin with and Brittany Griner has been virtually unstoppable, even by teams with a strong post game.  The Fighting Irish will live up to their name and hang with the Bears for at least the first half, but eventually size will win out and Notre Dame will start to fall behind.  Unless the Notre Dame guards have an outstanding shooting day from behind the arc, it will be close to impossible for them to outscore Baylor.  In this David versus Goliath-esque matchup, we have Goliath getting the victory and securing a perfect 40-0 record.

 

Ashleigh Sargent is a 6′ forward for Wellesley College and Mariah Philips is a Wellesley varsity softball player.

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