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Lady Bears Sweet 16 Preview and Tourney Recap So Far

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Lady Bears cruise in first and second round action, set to face 3 seed Iowa in the Sweet 16 on Friday at 6:30 pm CST on ESPN 2

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
vs.
Baylor vs.Iowa
March 27, 2015 | 6:30 p.m. CT
Oklahoma City, Okla.| Chesapeake Energy Arena (8,935)

TV: ESPN2
Live Stats| Game Notes Notes

For the seventh consecutive season, your Baylor Lady Bears hoops team is in the Sweet 16 and and is set to face off against the third-seeded Iowa Lady Hawkeyes on ESPN2, this Friday March 27th at 6:30 pm CST.

After two dominating wins in Waco in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament in which the Lady Bears won by an average of 35 points over (15) Northwestern State and (10) Arkansas, the red-hot Lady Bears head to Oklahoma City to face the balanced scoring Lady Hawkeyes of Iowa, a team with four starters scoring in double figures.  The Lady Hawkeyes are coming off of wins over (14) American and (11) Miami in their first two round games, both home games in Iowa City, Iowa.

The Lady Bears are led by all-everything Sophomore Post Nina Davis, the 5-11 rebounding and scoring machine. along with the nation's leader in assists of Junior Guard Niya Johnson.  Johnson, who is currently tied with former Lady Bear great Odyssey Sims in career assists with 641, a feat that took Sims four years to accomplish. Johnson has achieved this in just under three seasons.

If you havent watched Nina Davis this year yet, make it a point to do so this Friday.  She is as tenacious and fiercely competitive of a player as any current or former Lady Bear, and will awe you with hustle, determination and skill that made her the Big 12 Player of the Year.  This team as a whole is scrappy and plays defense with amazing ability consistent with most Coach Mulkey teams.

In what should be a hotly contested game, this one will likely come down to rebounding and points in the paint - two stats in which Baylor dominated Arkansas in its second round game.  For comparisons sake, the Lady Hawkeyes lost to Arkansas early in the season in a neutral court game 77-67. The match up in the lane will be intriguing:  Baylor's Davis and Iowa's Bethany Doolittle - a 6'4"  center who could challenge Davis for both Offensive Rebounds and points down low.

Iowa will likely look to push the tempo and make the game a track meet, but given Baylor's sure-handed Niya Johnson  with her pin point passing, a fast-paced game should actually favor the Bears.

Tune in on Friday for what should be an entertaining game, one that will likely be more competitive than the Lady Bears' first two games in  Waco.

PROJECTED STARTERS:

BAYLOR LADY BEARS

22 Sune Agbuke P 6-4 SR 3L San Antonio, Texas/Cornerstone Christian
13 Nina Davis F 5-11 SO 1L Memphis, Tenn./Memphis Central HS
2 Niya Johnson G 5-8 JR 2L Gainesville, Fla./P.K. Yonge Development Research School
12 Alexis Prince G 6-1 RS SO 1L Orlando, Fla./Edgewater HS
4 Kristy Wallace G 5-11 FR HS Loganholme, Queensland, Aust./John Paul College

IOWA LADY HAWKEYES

2 Ally DisterhoftClick here to hear it G 6-0 SO Iowa City, Iowa (West)

21 Melissa Dixon G 5-8 SR Johnsburg, Ill. (Johnsburg)

51 Bethany Doolittle C 6-4 SR Oakdale, Minn. (Hill-Murray)
22 Samantha Logic G 5-9 SR Racine, Wis. (Racine J.I. Case)
15 Whitney Jennings G 5-5 FR Logansport, Ind. (Logansport)


OTHER TOURNEY HAPPENINGS:

For the most part, chalk held true throughout the first two rounds, with only 3 of the 8 Sweet 16 games featuring seeds remaining not a one versus a four seed, or a two versus a three seed.  (1) Notre Dame takes on (4) Stanford in the other OKC Semi Final, with the winner taking on the Baylor - Iowa victor.  (1) South Carolina takes on (4) North Carolina and (3) Arizona State plays (2) Florida State.

The other side of the 64 team bracket saw some upsets resulting in 11-seed Gonzaga facing (2) Tennessee and (7) Dayton versus (2) Louisville.   (1) UCONN takes on (5) Texas in what should be a great game with Texas' size against the Fighting Geno Auriemma's and finally (1) Maryland plays (4) Duke in the another Sweet 16 match up.

If history in the Women's NCAA tourney has taught us anything, teams seeded one or two statistically advance to Elite 8's and beyond, and all the usual suspects are left:  Baylor, UCONN, Tennesee, Duke, Notre Dame and Stanford.

By this time Saturday night, there will only be eight left - an elite group that will hopefully include Coach Mulkey and the tenacious Baylor Lady Bears.

Links contributing to this article:

http://www.baylorbears.com/sports/w-baskbl/mtt/bay-w-baskbl-mtt.html

http://www.hawkeyesports.com/sports/w-baskbl/mtt/iowa-w-baskbl-mtt.html

http://espn.go.com/womens-college-basketball/tournament/bracket

http://www.baylorbears.com/sports/w-baskbl/recaps/032215aab.html