March 19, 2015

The road to Tampa Bay begins in Maples

Here is how the teams that will play rounds 1 and 2 in Maples match up statistically:

Stanford CSU Northridge Oklahoma Quinnipiac
Points per game 68.9 67.4 73.5 78.4
Scoring margin +9.5 +8.9 +6.1 +15.2
Field goal % .434 .390 .433 .412
3-pointers per game 6.8 7.0 6.8 9.1
3-point % .377 .328 .347 .353
Free throw % .714 .721 .694 .708
Rebounds per game 38.6 42.2 38.1 42.3
Rebounding margin +2.5 +5.1 +0.3 +1.0
Assists per game 10.3 12.6 14.0 19.8
Turnovers per game 12.1 14.8 17.0 13.4
Assist/turnover ratio 0.8 0.8 0.8 1.5
Steals per game 5.9 6.1 7.6 9.0
Blocks per game 4.5 2.8 3.0 5.9
Overall record 24-9 23-9 20-11 31-3
Conference record 13-5 11-5 13-5 20-0
RPI 18 81 22 25
Schedule strength 14 183 13 107

FiveThirtyEight gives Stanford a 93% chance of defeating CSUN and Oklahoma a 75% chance of defeating Quinnipiac. The chance of advancing to the Sweet 16 is 79% for Stanford and 16% for Oklahoma.

  Cal State Northridge Matadors

The Matadors finished second (of nine) in the Big West behind Hawai'i. They earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by winning the Big West tournament for the second consecutive year with a 67-60 defeat of Hawai'i in the championship game. They're coming into the tournament off a nine game win streak.

This is the Matadors' second trip to the NCAAs. They lost to South Carolina in the opening round last year.

The Matadors are a very quick, athletic team. They're led by three senior guards – 5'7" Ashlee Guay (16.2 ppg), 5'7" Janae Sharpe (12.6 ppg) and 5'5" Cinnamon Lister (11.5 ppg). All of them are good 3-point shooters. Lister takes 52% of her shots from behind the arc and makes 39% of them; Guay takes 27% and makes 37%; Sharpe takes 24% and makes 33%.

The Matadors have only three players taller than six feet. The most effective on defense is 6'2" senior center Camille Mahlknecht who averages 6.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.

The Cardinal and the Matadors have played once before, but it was in 1979, before any of the current players were even born.

However, the Cardinal and the Matadors shared many opponents this season – USC, UC Davis, Hawai’i and UC Santa Barbara. The Matadors went 5-4 against those opponents, losing to USC (85-74 in overtime), to Hawai'i once and to UC Davis twice.

Here are CSUN's 2014-2015 statistics, roster and game notes.

  Oklahoma Sooners

This is the Sooners' Sweet 16th – their 16th consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament, all under the guidance of head coach Sherri Coales, now in her 19th season at Oklahoma.

The Sooners earned an at-large bid this season with a second-place finish in the Big 12, three games behind Baylor. They have an added incentive to win the first two rounds of the NCAAs this season – a trip to the regional in Oklahoma City, just 23 miles from home.

The Sooners have two players that average double-digit scores – 5'11" sophomore guard Peyton Little (13.2 ppg) and 6'3" junior forward Kaylon Williams (11.9 ppg).

Little is the team's most productive 3-point shooter. She takes almost half her shots from behind the arc and makes about a third of them for an average of 1.7 per game.

Williams doesn't shoot the three – she sinks 2-pointers at a rate of 59.3%, which would rank fifth in the nation except that she's four baskets short of the required minimum of five per game. She's also the Sooners' leading rebounder with 6.7 per game.

5'9" freshman point guard Gabbi Ortiz is the Big 12 Freshman of the Year. She has started every game, leads the Sooners in minutes played (32.6 per game) and handles the ball very well. She averages 3.5 assists per game with an assist/turnover ratio of 1.4. She also averages 7.8 points per game.

Here are Oklahoma's 2014-2015 statistics and roster.

  Quinnipiac Bobcats

Quinnipiac (pronounced quinnuh-pee-ac) is a private university in Hampden, Connecticut, about 85 miles northeast of New York City.

The Bobcats play in the Mideast Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). They swept the conference this season with a perfect 20-0 record and also won the tournament championship with a victory over long-time reigning champion Marist.

The Bobcats are a mature team with considerable tournament experience. They've had the same starters all season – all are seniors. They reached the WNIT or NCAA tournament in each of the past three seasons, but have yet to win a postseason game.

Three of the Bobcat senior starters score in double digits: 6'1" forward Samantha Guastella (12.9 ppg), 6'4" center Val Driscoll (12.7 ppg) and 5'8" guard Jasmine Martin (11.7 ppg).

Driscoll is also the team's leading rebounder (8.1 rpg) and shot blocker (2.2 bpg).

Guastella is an excellent 3-point shooter. She takes 70% of her shots from behind the arc and makes 43% of them (11th best in the nation) for an average of 3.0 per game (8th-best in the nation).

5'9" senior point guard Gillian Abshire is an outstanding ball handler. She averages 6.2 assists per game and has the best assist/turnover ratio in the nation (4.12). The team ranks fourth in the nation in both those catgories.

Here are Quinnipiac's 2014-2015 statistics, roster and game notes.

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