Sunday, March 26, 2023

A who's who of MSU women's hoops tourney opponents

Women to face Middle Tennessee; play Duke or Austin Peay with win

Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

Record — 28-5 overall, 17-1 (first place) in Sun Belt Conference

Head coachSBC Coach of the Year Rick Insell (100-32, four years)

How they got here — The Blue Raiders defeated the Arkansas at Little Rock in a resounding 74-54 win to claim the SBC Women’s Basketball Tournament Championship.

Tournament history — This is the 12th time Middle Tennessee State is traveling to the NCAA Tournament and the first since 2006-07, when the Blue Raiders made it to the second round, eventually losing to Marist 73-59.

Who to watch — 5-foot-10 forward Alysha Clark leads the nation in scoring, averaging 27.3 points per game, while also leading her team with 9.8 rebounds per game.

Probable starting lineup — Clark, Lymon, Brown, Jackie Pickel and Anne Marie Lanning

Duke Blue Devils

Record — 26-5 overall, 11-3 in Atlantic Coast Conference

Head coach — Joanne P. McCallie

How they got here — Duke has played one of the toughest schedules in the nation this year, defeating Stanford, Maryland and North Carolina, all of who have garnered at least a No. 3 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Tournament history — This is the Blue Devils’ 16th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its 15th consecutive trip. As recently as 2006 the team played in the national championship game, but has never won a national championship.

Others to keep an eye on — Guard Abby Waner can shoot the ball from anywhere on the court and even is a threat from well behind the men’s line.

Probable starting lineup — Black, Waner, Jasmine Thomas, Carrem Gay and Bridgette Mitchell

Austin Peay Lady Govs

Record — 17-15 overall, 10-8 in Ohio Valley Conference

Head coach — Carrie Daniels (33-58, second year)

How they got here — Defeated Eastern Illinois 69-65 in double-overtime to win the OVC Women’s Basketball Tournament Championship.

Tournament history — This is the sixth time the Lady Govs have made it to the NCAA Tournament and the first since 2004. Austin Peay has yet to win a game in the NCAA Tournament in five trips.

Who to watch — Guard Ashley Herring has been a powerhouse for the Lady Govs during the postseason and may have to lock down one of Duke’s scoring guards.

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Probable starting lineup — Whitney Hanley, Brooke Faulkner, Thomas, Herring and Nicole Jamen


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