NCAA Women’s Sweet 16 Matchups

The NCAA Women's March Madness is in full swing. There are 16 teams left and we take a look at each matchup in the Sweet 16.
Basketball court

The Women’s NCAA Tournament has been filled with excitement and now the remaining 16 teams will move to their regional sites. The National Championship will be held on Sunday, April 7 in Cleveland, Ohio. 

There are some very good matchups to watch in this round and we take a look at each one below. 

Friday, March 29 

No. 3 Oregon State vs. No. 2 Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m. ET

Notre Dame has been playing their best basketball at the right time. They’ve been in incredible form despite having quite a few injuries including losing starting forward Kylee Watson to an ACL tear during the ACC Tournament. They’ve won 10 straight which includes winning the ACC Tournament by knocking off the one and two seed in back-to-back games. As the tournament advances we could see the depth issues start to play a part for Notre Dame. 

In the Second Round, they defeated No. 7 Ole Miss 71-56. Maddy Westbeld led the Irish in scoring in that one with 20 points while both Hannah Hidalgo and Sonia Citron were also in double figures. Hidalgo has been the leader for Notre Dame this season posting insane numbers for a freshman. She’s averaging 22.9 points per game, 5.6 assists per game, and 6.2 rebounds per game. 

Oregon State has had a good season and is currently sitting at 26-7. To advance to the Sweet 16 they defeated Nebraska 61-51. They were led by Talia von Oelhoffen who had 19 points in the matchup. Oregon State has a decent defense which is holding opponents to 59.3 points per game but they’ll be going against a very good Notre Dame team that has multiple scorers. For the Beavers, they’ll have to keep Hidalgo in check but they can’t overlook Westbeld or Citron. 

Prediction: Oregon State

No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 1 South Carolina, 5 p.m. ET

South Carolina has had a perfect season; they’re 34-0 and have easily won their first two games of the NCAA Tournament. In the second round, they defeated North Carolina 88-41. South Carolina has the second-ranked scoring offense in the country averaging 86.3 points per game. They have three players averaging double digits Kamilla Cardoso, MiLaysia Fulwiley, and Te-Hina Paopao. This is a team that has all the tools to win the National Championship and they’re going to be hard for anyone to beat. 

If Indiana wants to hand South Carolina their first loss they’ll have to play flawlessly on Friday. To make it to the Sweet 16 they knocked off Oklahoma 75-68. The Hoosiers are led by Mackenzie Holmes who’s averaging 20 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game. 

Prediction: South Carolina 

No. 3 NC State vs. No. 2 Stanford, 7:30 p.m. ET

Perhaps one of the most intriguing matchups of the Sweet 16 is NC State and Stanford. 

Stanford just barely survived Iowa State in overtime to advance to the Sweet 16. Cameron Brink struggled in that matchup with just eight points and she fouled out in the fourth quarter. If Stanford wants to win this game they’ll have to figure out a way to keep Brink productive. The other star for Stanford has been Kiki Iriafen who’s averaging 19.2 points per game. Both Brink and Iriafen will have to come up big against a very good NC State team. 

NC State has had an up-and-down season but they’ve found themselves just one win away from the Elite Eight. Last game they defeated Tennessee 79-72 to set up a matchup with Stanford. They have five players averaging 10+ points per game and are led offensively by Aziaha James who’s averaging 16 points per game. 

Prediction: NC State

No. 4 Gonzaga vs. No. 1 Texas, 10 p.m. ET

Texas has had a terrific season and is currently 32-4. They won the Big 12 Tournament and are currently riding a six-game win streak. Last round they took down Alabama 65-54 to advance to the Sweet 16. They’re led by Madison Booker who leads the Longhorns in scoring averaging 16.8 points per game. 

Gonzaga enters the game 32-3 and was able to knock off Utah 77-66 to advance to the Sweet 16. They’re a good team offensively averaging 80.2 points per game but they’ll have a tough task against Texas. The Bulldogs have five players averaging double figures in points with Yvonne Ejim leading the way averaging 19.9 points per game. 

Prediction: Texas

Saturday, March 30 

No. 3 LSU vs. No. 2 UCLA, 1 p.m. ET

LSU has survived two games that looked like fairly close calls. In the first round they edged Rice 70-60 and in the second round Middle Tennessee played the Tigers tough for three quarters before LSU pulled away in the fourth for a 83-56 victory. If LSU gets off to another slow start they could have trouble in a close match against UCLA. Angel Reese and Aneesa Morrow are leading the way for the Tigers with both averaging a double-double. Reese averages 18.7 points and 13.2 rebounds per game while Morrow averages 16.5 points and 10 rebounds per game. 

UCLA survived a scare by Creighton in the second round to advance to the Sweet 16 with a 67-63 win. The key for UCLA in this one is going to be staying out of foul trouble. LSU is very good at drawing foul calls and if they get into early foul trouble it could be difficult for the Bruins to come out on top. They’ll need a big game from Lauren Betts who’s averaging 14.9 points and nine rebounds per game. 

Prediction: UCLA 

No. 5 Colorado vs. No. 1 Iowa, 3:30 p.m. ET

Colorado is going to have a tough task going up against this Iowa offense. They come into the game 24-9 but they’re used to pulling off the upset. In the first game of the season, they knocked off the then top-ranked LSU. In the second round of the NCAA Tournament, they were able to come away with a 63-50 win over Kansas State. The Buffaloes were led in that game by Quay Miller who had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. 

Iowa has the best offense in the country averaging 92 points per game. They’re led by the nation’s leading scorer Caitlin Clark who’s averaging an impressive 31.8 points per game. The Hawkeyes survived a bit of a scare in the second round against West Virginia 64-54. They’re currently on an eight-game win streak as they look to make a trip back to the National Championship game. 

Prediction: Iowa  

No. 5 Baylor vs. No. 1 USC, 5:30 p.m. ET

Baylor pulled off the upset of Virginia Tech in the second round to set up a meeting with USC. In that game against Virginia Tech, Jada Walker had a career day scoring 28 points to lead Baylor to the Sweet 16. They’ll need Walker and everyone else to step up again against USC if they hope to pull off yet another upset. 

USC has had a very good season, they come into the game with a 28-5 record and are the Pac 12 Tournament Champions. In the second round, they defeated Kansas by a score of 73-55. They’re led by freshman Juju Watkins who’s second in the nation in points per game averaging 26.9. 

Prediction: USC 

No. 7 Duke vs. No. 3 UConn, 8 p.m. ET

Duke is coming off a 75-63 upset win over Ohio State in the second round. The Blue Devils are very good defensively and they could give UConn some fits to keep themselves in this game. If they’re able to frustrate Bueckers they could have a chance at yet another upset. In that game against Ohio State, they were led by Reigan Richardson who had 28 points, seven rebounds, and three steals. 

UConn has won 11 straight games and they knocked off Syracuse in the second round to advance to the Sweet 16. They’re led by Paige Bueckers who’s having a great season. Against Syracuse, she had 32 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Huskies. On the season she’s averaging 21.8 points per game. The Duke defense will make it difficult on Bueckers but if she can score around 20 points the Huskies will be a good spot. 

Prediction: UConn

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