Instant Reaction: NCAA Women’s Selection Special Presented by Capital One on ESPN

College Basketball - Women's

Instant Reaction: NCAA Women’s Selection Special Presented by Capital One on ESPN

Tonight, on ESPN and ESPN2, host Elle Duncan, analysts Rebecca Lobo, Carolyn Peck and Nikki Fargas, bracketologist Charlie Creme and reporter Holly Rowe revealed the bracket for the 2022 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament. Quotes and reactions from the NCAA Women’s Selection Special Presented by Capital One are below.

ESPN’s coverage of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship begins Wednesday, March 16 across ESPN networks, with the full schedule unveiled Monday morning.

Rebecca  Lobo, ESPN Women’s College Basketball Analyst

On the Greensboro Region:
“What stands out to me most is the potential matchup between one and two (seeds) because you have the matchup between the two favorites for national player of the year in Aliyah Boston for South Carolina and Caitlin Clark of Iowa. Very different players – one is a post and one is a guard and how they play, but that potential matchup is very exciting for women’s basketball.”

On the Bridgeport Region:
“A potential second round matchup between NC State and Kansas State is intriguing to me. You will have two centers going against each other in Elissa Cunane, who is such a terrific inside presence for NC State, and Ayoka Lee, who had the 61-point performance earlier this year against Oklahoma. So, if seeds hold, and they match up in the second round, that’s one I’ll be watching.”

On the Spokane Region:
“What stands out to me is Stanford’s 2 seed and that’s Texas. Stanford lost a total of three games this season and one of those losses was to Texas, the No. 2 seed in this region. Texas beat them early in the year in Palo Alto. That’s an interesting potential matchup.”

On the Wichita Region:
“One of the teams that is always difficult to play against is Villanova. They are not afraid of the moment. We saw that a couple of weeks ago when they beat UConn in Hartford. And, they also have Maddi Siegrist who is second in the nation in scoring. They play a very difficult style to defend. That is a team to keep an eye on.”

Carolyn Peck, ESPN Women’s College Basketball Analyst

On the Greensboro Region:
“What does Lee Corso say, ‘not so fast.’ Iowa still, if they should advance, could have to meet up with potentially Iowa State … That’s an in-state rival and a seven-point game earlier this season. That’s not going to be an easy task to make it on to the next level.”

On the Bridgeport Region:
“I think the Oklahoma Sooners [stand out the most]. Shooting the basketball, Taylor Robertson really has lit it up. Madi Williams really got going in the Big 12 Tournament, and so I think they’re going to be a dangerous team in this bracket.”

On the Spokane Region:
“You mentioned one of those opponents that beat Stanford is Texas and they just beat Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament. This is a team that’s on a roll, but remember what they did last season in the Sweet 16 against Maryland that was all gas and no brakes? The defense that Vic Schaefer has brought to Austin, Texas, makes the Longhorns a very dangerous team.”

On how Baylor looks heading into the tournament:
“Baylor was playing unbelievable basketball all the way until the finals when NaLyssa Smith went out. This is a team that has a potential No. 1 WNBA draft pick and they also have three-point shooters around her. They’re going to be a tough matchup. They get out in transition and Nicki Collen has brought a pro-style, a lot of ball-screen action inside and out and they defend. That’s going to be a tough team to face.”

Nikki Fargas, ESPN Women’s College Basketball Analyst

On the Greensboro Region:
Iowa is a hot team right now. They’re a team that previously was a 14 seed, now they moved to an 8 seed. As we talked about Caitlin Clark, we talk about some of the best players in the game and so you have to mention Iowa in the conversation.”

On the Bridgeport Region
“When you look at the region of Bridgeport, and that Connecticut is there, that is a tough road for anyone. So with NC State being the overall No. 1 seed there, to me that is a ‘home court’ if UConn would advance. … If Connecticut takes care of business, provided NC State does as well, that is going to be a very tough matchup to get to the Final Four.”

On Kentucky as the 6 seed:
“The fact that they’re on a 10-game winning streak lets me know that this team is on a mission. They have righted the ship. They started the season a little rocky, but Coach Elzy & her staff have got this ship going in the right direction.”

On the Spokane Region:
If I’m filling out the bracket, I would lean in heavily on Florida Gulf Coast. When we talk about let it rain – 367 3-pointers made this season, No. 1 in Division I Basketball, so keep a close eye on Florida Gulf Coast.”

 Charlie Creme, ESPN Bracketology Expert

On Louisville beating out Baylor for top seeding:
“It didn’t happen because Louisville had one more Top 25 win than Baylor and had played a slightly tougher schedule than Baylor, I think that was the difference. I think if Baylor wins that Big 12 Championship Game, Baylor is the No. 1 seed in Wichita and Louisville is the No. 2. They’re still in the same region. It really comes down to what color uniforms they’re going to be wearing if they face each other in the Elite Eight.”

On the importance of conference tournaments in selecting and seeding teams:
“It is an interesting subject because Baylor had a No. 1 seed right there today and let it slip away in the Big 12 Championship Game. It shows how important conference tournaments were in this selection process. You look at Kentucky, Gonzaga and Iowa. All were seeded higher than I thought they’d be. What do they have in common? They all won their conference tournaments.”

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