Women's Tournament Preview: Can Anyone Stop UConn?

Michael ShibleySenior Analyst IMarch 18, 2009

While much of the focus will be on the men's tournament, basketball fans should make sure to watch the ESPN family of networks as the women's tournament gets underway this Saturday, as 64 teams fight to see who will make it to the Final Four in St. Louis.

Here is a quick history and preview of this year's women's NCAA basketball tournament.


Last Year's Final Four

Connecticut, Louisiana State, Stanford, Tennessee


Defending Champion


The Lady Vols, behind Candace Parker and a load of senior talent, defeated Stanford 64-48 in Tampa to win their second consecutive championship and eighth overall for head coach Pat Summitt.


Tournament Favorite


The Huskies, coached by Geno Auriemma, have dominated all comers this season. The Huskies stand undefeated at 33-0 and have defeated all their opponents by more than 10 points.

They are led by sophomore Maya Moore, who will win almost every player of the year award, and do-everything senior Renee Montgomery.

To make things even easier, the Huskies do not even have to leave the Northeast until the Final Four. The first two rounds are in Storrs, Connecticut, and the regional finals take place in Trenton, New Jersey.


Most Entertaining Region

Oklahoma City

The top three seeds in this region—Oklahoma, Auburn, and North Carolina—are all very talented teams and have experienced coaches, so if all three teams reach the Sweet 16 (which they should), it should be a very interesting and competitive weekend with those teams involved.


Sleeper Team


Wait, what? While the Lady Vols are two-time defending champions, they lost all of their starters from last year's team, and they are the youngest team ever coached by Pat Summitt.

This season, the young Lady Vols struggled as they went through growing pains and a traditionally tough schedule. They finished the season 22-10 and are a five seed in their year's tournament, the lowest seed under Pat Summitt.

However, the rigors of a difficult schedule will have the Lady Vols ready, and Summitt can coach this team into making a run. They may not win the tournament, but they will not be an easy out.


Most Interesting Storyline

Oklahoma's Courtney Paris' Guarantee 

I could have picked UConn's pursuit of perfection, but this one is more fun. Sooners center Courtney Paris said that if they did not win the National Championship, she would return all of her scholarship money, valued at $64,000.

Just to let everyone know, UConn routed Oklahoma by 28 points back in November.


Final Four Picks

UConn, Maryland, Stanford, Oklahoma

Close to chalk, but Stanford has the benefit of having their regional final in Berkeley, California, so they will get the win over top-seeded Duke.

It will be a very star-studded Final Four, as the three other teams have the best chance at knocking off UConn.




However, that will not be the case. The Huskies have been too good all year, and Auriemma will not let them fall short this season.

The Huskies will cut down the nets in St. Louis and give Auriemma his sixth title.