Normally when the Connecticut Lady Huskies are on the national stage, they are the headline stealers and the marquee owners of women's basketball. However, on a night when the darling of women's hoops (Skylar Diggans) faces off versus the league's greatest program (UConn), the spotlight will be on the league's best player (Brittney Griner) and best duo (Ogwumike sisters) in the game today.
The Stanford Cardinal and the Baylor Lady Bears could've been the national championship, but we'll get this treat in the national semifinal on Sunday. This should be must watch television.
Sports Illustrated's Ann Killion did a tremendous job in putting together three big keys for the Final Four matchup, check out here entire post to catch up on Notre Dame versus Connecticut as well.
1. That big kid at Baylor. Griner burst on the scene three years ago as a novelty -- a 6-foot-8 girl, with a 9-foot-2 reach. She's evolved from curiosity to crusher: she's strong, athletic and skilled. How do you stop her? Better question might be how do you score on her? That will be Stanford's biggest challenge. "They understand if your 5-7 guard goes in against Brittney Griner," VanDerveer said, "she's going to need a toothpick to pick the leather out of her teeth." Griner has blocked 199 shots this season.
2. Sisterhood of the traveling shorts. Sisters Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike -- the most lethal post duo in the country -- may be playing their last game together Sunday. Senior Nneka has led Stanford to the Final Four every season, and has gone from devastated to annoyed by her team's inability to win a national championship. Chiney was the Pac-12s defensive player of the year; she fouled out in last year's semifinal against Texas A&M and Stanford can't afford for that to happen Sunday. The sisters play with what Griner calls " that sister instinct," bringing an intuitive DNA-level connection to their court sense.
3. Pointers. Baylor is not just Griner and the four nobodies. Baylor's team is run by sophomore All-American Odyssey Sims, who is averaging 14.8 points, three steals and 4.4 assists per game. Stanford has true freshman Amber Orrange at the point. That could be the difference maker.
Baylor and Stanford face off against one another on Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. Central Time.