Lincoln Regional breakdown

Aaryn Ellenberg, Oklahoma: No matter what happens in the first round against DePaul, Ellenberg will finish her college career with more points than any Oklahoma player not named Courtney Paris. That's no small accomplishment for a 5-foot-7 guard whom coach Sherri Coale rarely calls anything other than "Vegas," the nickname recognition of the player's hometown. As it has been for the team around her, this has been a tough season for Ellenberg, whose shooting efficiency is down and who dealt with a concussion in February. But even at a site that also includes Duke's Tricia Liston and DePaul's Megan Rogowski, Ellenberg always has the potential to be the most prolific shooter in the arena.
  -- Graham Hays

Best first-round game

(7) DePaul vs. (10) Oklahoma (ESPN2, 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday): This is a great coaching matchup between two of the country's best in Doug Bruno and Sherri Coale. But it's also a prove-something game between the Blue Demons (26-7), who won their first Big East title with Connecticut, Louisville and Notre Dame out of the way, and the Sooners, who were a bubble team before heading into the bracket for the 15th consecutive season.

Senior forward Jasmine Penny (15.3 points per game) leads DePaul, which is making a 12th straight NCAA appearance. The Blue Demons have won 16 of their past 17 games and set school records for points scored (2,763), 3-pointers (285) and assists (654).

In the preseason, Oklahoma was picked to win the Big 12, but the Sooners (18-14) came up well short -- they are 4-11 against teams in the tournament field this season. The Sooners, who have advanced to the Sweet 16 10 times in program history, need to find some postseason momentum. They've won just four of their past 10 games coming in.
-- Michelle Smith

Upset alert

Seventh-seeded DePaul won't necessarily have an easy time in the first round with Oklahoma, but if the Blue Demons advance to meet Duke in the second round, the Blue Devils, despite playing at home, could have their hands full. DePaul enters the tournament having won seven straight games, a Big East regular-season title and the conference tournament crown. More importantly, DePaul plays the kind of up-tempo, offense-first style with which the Blue Devils might struggle to keep up with. The Blue Demons are the fifth highest-scoring team in the tournament. Brittany Hrynko runs that offense, and the junior from Philadelphia is one of the best point guards in the country. Duke, meanwhile, has had to turn to shooter Tricia Liston to start the offense because of the season-ending injuries to Chelsea Gray and Alexis Jones. If the game gets to the speed of DePaul's liking, it will take Liston and the Blue Devils out of their comfort zone. -- Charlie Creme

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...