Oregon and Louisville, who have faced each other in both the NCAA Tournament and regular season several times over the last few years, meet again Sunday in the Sweet 16.
The Ducks beat South Dakota and Georgia in the first two rounds, while the Cardinals took down Marist and Northwestern.
Nyara Sabally – the sister of Oregon great Satou Sabally, leads Oregon, averaging 12.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Sabally does most of her work in the paint, and also in the mid-range area. Erin Boley is another vital piece to the team’s success.
Dana Evans, a candidate for numerous player of the year awards, is Louisville’s top scorer, averaging 19.6 points and 4 assists per game. She can do it all scoring-wise: drive to the basket, shoot the mid-range, and knockdown three-point shots; she is currently shooting 34 percent from three-point land. Evans has also become known for making clutch plays down the stretch, and has saved the team from several losses.
The Cardinals’ other valid scoring options include Kiana Smith, who averages 11.5 points and shoots 37 percent from the outside, and a resurging Hailey Van Lith,who adds scoring, outside shooting and the ability to rebound, and averages 5.2 rebounds per game.
The X-factor in this volatile matchup will be Duck forward Sedona Prince. The Texas transfer overcame an ankle injury earlier this season after finally getting healthy after an injury she sustained prior to her college freshman season. Against Georgia, she played her best game of the year, scoring 22 points on 9-14 shooting from the field.
If Oregon is to win against Louisville, Prince will have to duplicate her performance against Georgia, and she and Sabally will have to control the paint against the shorter Cardinals.
Louisville needs to slow down Prince and Sabally and closeout on the Ducks’ three-point shooters. Evans must also play her game and get her other teammates involved. It will take a team effort to beat Oregon.