November 09, 2017

Up next: Buckeyes and Huskies in Columbus

The Cardinal are in Ohio this weekend, playing what may be their toughest season-start ever.

This weekend also marks the debut of the first-ever professional audio coverage of Stanford Women's Basketball. This season, there will be live audio broadcasts of all women's (and men's) games available via Sidearm Sports. Read more in the Stanford Athletics announcement: Enhanced Basketball Coverage.

First up is a game at Ohio State on Friday at 3:00 pm PT (6:00 pm ET). The game will be Tara’s first game back in Columbus since she coached the Buckeyes from 1981-85.

Media coverage:

TV: Big Ten Network
Video: BTN2GO
Audio: Sidearm Sports
Live Stats: Game Tracker

The Buckeyes made it to the Sweet Sixteen last year, where they lost to Notre Dame. They've won 15 Big Ten championships and have been picked to win again this year. They're ranked 5/8 in the preseason national polls.

They're a very experienced mature team, but a bit short-handed. Eight of the eleven players are upperclassmen.

The Buckeyes are led by the shooting and ball-handling of All-American senior guard Kelsey Mitchell who averaged 22.6 ppg last season and made 115 three-pointers. She enters this season with 2,553 points and has a chance to break Kelsey Plum's NCAA scoring record (she's 974 points shy, and she scored 889 in 34 games in her sophomore year).

Mitchell also averaged 3.9 assists per game with a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio last season

Redshirt senior forward Stephanie Mavunga averaged a double-double (11.4 ppg, 10.8 rpg) last season, but missed 13 games due to injuries.

This summer she decided she needed to slim down, gain muscle and get in better shape. Head coach Kevin McGuff said, "She’s really taken her physical stature to another level. I’ve actually never been around a player, in over 20 years coaching, who’s done more in terms of her diet to change her body."

Mavunga credits her brothers and her sister-in-law, Jeanette Pohlen-Mavunga, for helping her stick to her new healthy regime.

In their opening exhibition game this season, the Buckeyes completed their starting lineup with three more guards: redshirt junior Sierra Calhoun (9.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg), redshirt senior Linnae Harper (8.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg), and senior Asia Doss (5.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg).

Here is Ohio State's roster.

On Sunday, the Cardinal head to the Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus (the site of the 2018 Final Four) to kick off the Countdown to Columbus event with a game vs Connecticut at 10:30 am PT (1:30 pm ET).

Media coverage:

Video: WatchESPN
Audio: Sidearm Sports

Maturity ... youth ... the Huskies, who have been deemed better than ever this year, have both and are picked to win it all again.

All the key contributors are back: Senior guard Kia Nurse (12.7 ppg, 3.9 apg), senior forward Gabby Williams (14.3 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 5.1 apg), junior guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (20.2 ppg, 3.2 apg) and junior forward Napheesa Collier (20.4 ppg, 9.1 rpg).

And redshirt junior forward Azurá Stevens, a 6-foot-6 Duke transfer, could be the best of the bunch.

Depth, the one area that could be seen as a UConn vulnerability the past few seasons, is now just another strength when you add in sophomore guard Crystal Dangerfield, the No. 1 recruit in 2016 who has reportedly improved in the offseason and a stellar freshman class: Guard/forward Megan Walker, this year's top high schooler, and two more top-20 recruits.

I'm sure they would all like nothing better than starting a new winning streak with a victory over their nemesis.

Here is the Connecticut roster .

No comments: