November 24, 2015

Up next: Thanksgiving in Florida

The Cardinal are spending the long Thankgiving weekend in Florida this year, playing in the third annual Gulf Coast Showcase.

The tournament format is an eight-team playoff, with winners playing winners and losers playing losers in the second and third rounds to determine places one through eight.

BD Global Sports, the event sponsor, will provide a video live stream and live stats of each game.

Click here for the tournament bracket and game times.

First Round

Stanford will play the Missouri State Lady Bears on Friday, November 27 at 10:30 am Pacific Time.

The Lady Bears play in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC). They were picked to win the conference in the preseason poll:

Missouri State welcomes back four starters and nearly its entire statistical output from last season’s 18-15 squad that returned to the postseason (WNIT) for the first time since 2012.

The Lady Bears roster features a pair of talented senior guards in Kenzie Williams, a first-team all-MVC selection this season, and Tyonna Snow, an honorable mention all-conference honoree last season. Sophomore Liza Fruendt, a member of the league’s All-Freshman team a season ago, completes the Missouri State backcourt.

Senior center Hillary Chvatal, junior guard Lexi Hughes and sophomore forward Aubrey Buckley, who started in 30 games for Missouri State last season, will also play pivotal roles for the Lady Bears once again in 2015-16.

Here are Missouri State's statistics and roster.

Second Round

Stanford will play either the Dayton Flyers or the Maine Black Bears on Saturday, November 28 at either 8:00 in the morning or 2:00 in the afternoon (Pacific Time).

The Dayton Flyers are not ranked in the top 25, but have received votes in the national polls — enough to place them at No. 29/27. Graham Hayes (espnW) ranked them seventh in his preseason evaluation of the mid-majors.

The Flyers play in the Atlantic 10 conference. They were picked to finish second to George Washington University in the preseason conference poll.

The Flyers, who went 28-7 overall and 14-2 in the Atlantic 10 in 2015, are coming off a thrilling run to the Elite Eight in which they defeated tenth-seeded Iowa State, second-seeded Kentucky and third-seeded Louisville before falling to eventual National Champion, UConn.

The Flyers lost their two top players from that squad to graduation — senior guard Andrea Hoover and senior forward Ally Malott. Those two combined for 43% of the Flyers points and 34% of the rebounds.

The Flyers have made a good start this season with three victories, led by senior guard Amber Deane, senior guard Kelley Austria and senior center Jodie Cornelie-Sigmundova.

Here are Dayton's statistics and roster.

The Maine Black Bears play in the America East Conference. They were picked to finish second to four-time reigning champion Albany in the preseason conference poll.

The Black Bears are coming off their best season in eleven years, winning 23 games and claiming the America East Co-Regular Season title after going 14-2 in conference play.

The Black Bears return all five starters from last year's squad, including Co-Defensive Player of the Year, senior forward Liz Wood, who ranked in the top-7 of scoring, rebounding, steals, assists and field goal percentage last season. Maine led the league in scoring defense last year, allowing just 54.5 points per game.

The Black Bears are a small black spot in the Stanford record book. The Cardinal have played them just once — in the 1999 NCAA 1st round. The Black Bears won 60-58 with a pair of free throws in the last 17 seconds of the game.

Here are Maine's statistics and roster.

Third Round

If Stanford wins its first two rounds, it is most likely to play the Louisville Cardinals, the only other nationally-ranked team in the tournament, in the championship game on Sunday November 29 at 4:30 pm Pacific Time. It would be a first-time meeting — the Cardinal and the Cardinals have never played each other.

Louisville was seeded No. 3 last season, but was upset by Dayton in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. They received pre-season rankings of No. 8/8 in the national polls. But they have lost their first two games this season (to Cal by four points and to Western Kentucky by two) and are currently ranked No. 22 in the AP Top 25 and dropped from the USA TODAY Coaches Poll.

Louisville plays in the Atlantic 10 Conference. They were picked to finish third, behind Notre Dame and Florida State, in the preseason conference poll. Charlie Creme (espnW) concurred with this evaluation:

Nine freshmen and sophomores make up the Cardinals' roster, and at least three of those players could be All-Americans one day.

Sophomore Mariya Moore could burst through as one of the country's top players, and classmate Myisha Hines-Allen is already one of its most efficient scorers. Although just a freshman (but the best of an outstanding class), guard Asia Durr is a veteran of the Team USA circuit and a two-time Georgia Player of the Year.

Taja Cole takes over at the point. She and Durr look to be the backcourt duo for Jeff Walz for the next four years. Erin DeGrate and Sam Fuehring should each get sizable minutes in the post as rookies.

Here are Louisville's roster and statistics.

The other three teams in the bottom half of the bracket are:

The LSU Tigers, headed by fifth-year coach Nikki Caldwell Fargas, play in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

The SEC is a very strong conference, led by South Carolina and Tennessee. The Tigers were picked to finish tenth in the preseason conference poll.

Here are LSU's roster and statistics.

The Purdue Boilermakers play in the Big Ten Conference. They were picked to finish in the bottom half of this 14-team conference in the preseason conference poll.

The Boilermakers are the only Gulf Coast Showcase participant that the Cardinal has played in the recent past. The teams met two years ago in the Puerto Vallarta Thanksgiving Tournament. The Cardinal won that game — it was Tara's 899th career victory.

Here are Purdue's roster and statistics

The Marist Red Foxes play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

The Red Foxes have dominated the MAAC for more than a decade. They've been the tournament champion ten times in the past twelve years. They lost the championship game last season and, before that, in 2005.

They were picked to finish second this season in the preseason conference poll.

Here are Marist's roster and statistics.

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