The balance that Stanford talks about having will certainly be important, but a plan to free up Ogwumike might be even more advantageous and more of a necessity. The two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year is a 59 percent shooter in her four-year career. Yet in four games against the Huskies, Ogwumike has made just 17 of 57 attempts. As much as anything, Stanford needs its All-American to reverse that trend. UConn's calling card is defense and no superstar has felt that more intensely than Ogwumike.
Maryland: Lexie Brown. Just a freshman, she's the Terrapin most likely to break out offensively, which is vital if Maryland is going to score with Notre Dame. Like most of her teammates, Brown was great from the free throw line against Louisville. It was no coincidence that the Terps pulled the upset with Brown getting 20 points.
Notre Dame: Taya Reimer and Markisha Wright. The Irish can expect Loyd and McBride to score. Reimer and Wright can't and won't replace Achonwa, but Notre Dame needs them to take some control of the paint, be a presence and not allow Maryland to get easy second-chance baskets.
Stanford: Amber Orrange. The lefty combo guard is the most capable offensive producer to assist Ogwumike. The consistency hasn't been there. If it arrives this weekend and Orrange doesn't get too tired chasing Hartley around, Stanford will have a fighting chance.
Connecticut: Breanna Stewart. UConn's best player was not its best player at the Lincoln Regional. Stewart struggled making shots and making plays and the Huskies still won two games comfortably. Her breakout at the Final Four a year ago is what made the Huskies a national champion. If Stewart bounces back for another two-game performance like she did in New Orleans, Auriemma will have his ninth title.
Notre Dame over Maryland
Connecticut over Stanford
Connecticut over Notre Dame
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