Dishin & Swishin 3/28/12 Podcast: Six looking to impact the Sweet Sixteen – Elena Delle Donne, Chiney Ogwumike, Alyssa Thomas, DeNesha Stallworth, Kayla McBride and Elizabeth Williams
“March Madness” is captivating the women’s basketball world with the NCAA Sweet Sixteen games this weekend.
This week we bring you one of our favorite Dishin & Swishin podcasts, a tradition we began last season. We chat with some of the impact players of the tournament, players that will need to play well for their team to survive and advance to the Elite Eight and beyond.
In order of appearance, here is the lineup for this week’s podcast:
Elena Delle Donne, Forward, Delaware
One of ESPN’s “Three to See” promotion, Delle Donne has received national attention all season, but it has not been until the first two rounds that many actually saw this silky-smooth player in action. In knocking off West Virginia and then upsetting third-seeded North Carolina, Delle Donne has averaged 33 points, 7.5 rebounds, two assists and three blocks. Next for Delaware is Kentucky, on Saturday at noon in Bridgeport.
DeNesha Stallworth, Center/Forward, Kentucky
Kentucky brings their “40 minutes of dread” defense into Bridgeport against Delle Donne and Delaware on Saturday. A’dia Mathies dropped 34 points on Dayton in round two of the tournament, but the inside presence and steady performance of Cal transfer Stallworth has been crucial to Kentucky’s success. Kentucky defeated Navy and Cal in this tournament, with Stallworth averaging 16 points, eight rebounds, and two steals per game.
Alyssa Thomas, Forward, Maryland
Thomas may be having the best overall tournament of any player, including Delle Donne and Brittney Griner. In Maryland’s victories over Quinnipiac and Michigan State, Thomas averaged 28.5 points, eight rebounds, and four assists, while shooting 58.5 percent from the floor for the Terps. Maryland’s injury depleted roster has been a great story all season, and Thomas is a force, playing almost every role possible for the team. A rematch against a Connecticut team that defeated them earlier this season, in Bridgeport, will be quite a challenge.
Chiney Ogwumike, Forward, Stanford
Nerd City is in the house! If Griner, Delle Donne, and Diggins are the “Three to see” then Ogwumike is number four they ignore. The first person to win Most Valuable Player and Best Defensive Player in the Pac-12, Ogwumike has top-seeded Stanford rolling into Spokane and a Saturday matchup with fourth-seeded Georgia. She is averaging 20.5 points per game, along with 11.5 rebounds, and two assists in the tournament.
Kayla McBride, Guard/Forward, Notre Dame
Top-seeded Notre Dame is much more than just Skylar Diggins and role players. The Norfolk regional is seeing the continued growth of McBride, a tenacious, attacking wing, who was already Most Outstanding Player in the Big East tournament. In comfortable wins over Tennessee-Martin and Iowa (on Iowa’s home court), McBride has been amazing, averaging 25 points per game, plus six rebounds, three assists and three steals per game. The Irish will have to be ready for 12th-seeded and tournament surprise Kansas in their next game, before facing either Nebraska or Duke.
Elizabeth Williams, Center, Duke
People say that guard play wins championships, but centers like Griner, Connecticut’s Stefanie Dolson, Notre Dame’s Natalie Achonwa, and Duke’s Williams are having a great impact on things as well. Only a sophomore, Williams is the youngest of our podcast participants, but her spot is well earned. In Duke victories over Hampton and Oklahoma State, Williams has averaged 17 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks per game. Her interior defense has keyed important stops, and her outlet passes trigger the Duke offense. She will need to keep it up against upstart Nebraska, in order for Duke to advance.
Six great performers, who love the spotlight and shine brightest on the big stage. Of course, these are only a few of the fantastic talent that will be on display this weekend in the Sweet Sixteen. Each of the teams involved have their own stars, their own special players that need to succeed for them to move on. Who else will step up and have the attention of Twitter and the message boards?
Enjoy the podcast, and good luck to everyone playing in the tournament!