On Tuesday night, Skylar Diggins and the top-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish will play for a spot in the 2012 NCAA Women's Final Four when they take on the No. 2 Maryland Terrapins in Raleigh, North Carolina at 8 p.m. on ESPN. Half of the Final Four is already decided, as Baylor defeated Tennessee, 77-58, and Stanford knocked off Duke, 81-69 in Elite Eight action on Monday. Now Notre Dame and Maryland are fighting for the right to take on the winner of the other Tuesday matchup between No. 2 Kentucky and No. 1 UConn.
Over at SB Nation's Notre Dame athletics blog, One Foot Down, the game is being dissected from every angle. Here is a bit of that analysis to get you ready for the game:
Expect this game to be tough for the Irish from the getgo as the Lady Terps' greatest strength is the size, strength and skill of their frontcourt as the trio of Alyssa Thomas,Tianna Hawkins and Lynetta Kizer combine for 40 points and 22 rebounds every game. They're flanked in the perimeter by sharpshooting sophomore guard Lauren Mincy who chips in 13 points, 5 rebounds and nearly 2 three pointers a game. The squad is led by senior captain and point guard Anjale Barrett who is a solid passer in the backcourt.
The Irish generally play a 1 in 4 out set in the half-court with forward Devereaux Peters inside surrounded by four guards Skylar Diggins (whom we ALL have a crush on - but I called dibs like 2 years ago), Natalie Novosel, Kayla McBride and Brittany Mallory. Notre Dame's greatest strength is its playmaking backcourt of Diggins and Novosel who combine for 32 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists each game. However, considering the matchup, expect to see a lot of sophomore forward Natalie Achonwa (also, a Canuck!) together with Peters in the paint for long stretches.
Women's 2012 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Matchup (Raleigh Regional)
No. 2 Maryland vs. No. 1 Notre Dame
Game Time and Date: 8:00 p.m. CT, Tuesday, March 27, 2012.
Location: PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC
Online Stream: ESPN3