NCAA Women's Basketball Championship 2013: UConn vs. Louisville Breakdown
One night after the Louisville men's basketball team cut down the nets in Atlanta, the No. 5 seed Louisville women will be looking to do the same in New Orleans. But unlike the men, the Lady Cardinals will be huge underdogs when they take the court against top-seeded UConn in Tuesday's championship game.
Geno Auriemma's Huskies have lost four games all season, and like Louisville enter this April's national championship game on fire, having won five straight tournament games by an average of 35 points per game.
Here we'll get you set with everything you need to know for Tuesday's title showdown in the Big Easy.
Where: New Orleans Arena in New Orleans
When: Tuesday, April 9 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Live Streaming: ESPN3.com
Betting Line: UConn (-14), according to Sportsbook.com.
Player to Watch: Breanna Stewart, UConn
UConn freshman Breanna Stewart was highly touted coming out of the high school ranks for good reason—the 6'4" forward can flat out ball.
Stewart scored a game-high 29 points in Sunday's win over Notre Dame in the Final Four and added five rebounds and four blocked shots for good measure. Her 29 points came in a variety of ways, though, as she displayed her ability to knock down outside shots as well as score down low in the paint and on the break.
Stewart is averaging over 20 points per game on better than 55 percent shooting from the field in the 2013 NCAA Tournament this spring. But she's actually improving in each round in terms of offensive production, which doesn't bode well for Jeff Walz's squad.
Key Matchup: Louisville's Outside Shooting vs. UConn's Perimeter Defense
Tuesday's key matchup will be on perimeter, where Louisville's outside shooters will need to have tremendous success against UConn's talented defenders.
The Cardinals poured in 16 three-pointers in their incredible upset of defending champion Baylor in the Sweet 16 and are averaging slightly over eight made three-pointers per game in tournament play. If Antonita Slaughter and her teammates can hit eight or more threes against UConn, then they'll likely give themselves a great shot to pull off the upset and win it all.
Otherwise, UConn could run away with this game. Keep in mind that the Huskies held Louisville to 4-of-19 shooting from beyond the arc in their 14-point win over the Cardinals in January.
Louisville star player Shoni Schimmel will be key in this area as well. She's a fantastic shooter from long range and will need to spark the Cardinals on the offensive end early on if they are to keep pace with Breanna Stewart and UConn.
Which side will come out on top on Tuesday?
Just as they have all tournament long, Louisville will be game on Tuesday night, surely giving UConn all it can handle from the opening tip. But in the end, can you really pick against Geno Auriemma and the Huskies?
After all, Auriemma has never lost a championship game, having won seven titles since 1995.
Plus, Stewart is playing her best basketball of the tournament right now, and unless the Cardinals can knock down a record-tying amount of three-pointers again on Tuesday, it's safe to say the Huskies, who beat the Cardinals by 14 points in their one meeting this season, will have the edge in New Orleans.
UConn 82, Louisville 72
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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