No. 11 seed Gonzaga will take on sixth-seeded Rutgers on Saturday at McCarthey Athletic Center, followed by the matchup of No. 3 Miami vs. No. 14 Idaho State.
Here’s a look at the four teams:
No. 3 Miami
Coach: Katie Meier
Strength: The Hurricanes enjoyed a successful season, featuring three All-Atlantic Coast Conference performers. Four players average double-digit scoring.
Season highlight: Prior to a 10-point loss at Duke, the Hurricanes won 13 consecutive games and earned the highest ranking (No. 5) in school history.
Style of play: The Hurricanes have some offensive weapons – specifically Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams – who can carry a game by themselves. They’ve won despite battling injuries throughout the season.
No. 6 Rutgers
Coach: C. Vivian Stringer
Strength: The legendary Stringer is in her 17th season at Rutgers and has led the Scarlet Knights to 10 straight NCAA tournament appearances. They finished the season ranked 32nd in the nation in scoring defense, yielding 54.4 points per game.
Season highlight: After a 15-2 start and No. 7 ranking, Rutgers lost five straight but finished strong down the stretch with five straight wins before losing to Connecticut in the Big East tournament quarterfinals. The Scarlet Knights were ranked No. 23 in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Style of play: Rutgers will have to start scoring from the perimeter and improve its recent efforts on defense if it hopes to advance. The Scarlet Knights are ranked 191st (out of 336 schools) in scoring, averaging 60.5 ppg.
No. 11 Gonzaga
Coach: Kelly Graves
Strength: Making their fourth straight tournament appearance, the Bulldogs rarely lose at McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs’ bench is deep, and if they are allowed to get the ball inside their opponents often suffer on the scoreboard.
Season highlight: Following a 70-40 blowout loss on the road to WCC-newcomer Brigham Young, the Bulldogs defeated the Cougars 77-60 at home in the regular-season finale to capture their eighth consecutive WCC title.
Style of play: The Zags like to play a fast, offense-heavy game and boast the eighth-best scoring offense in the country (75.5 points per game) while holding opponents to 61.9 ppg.
No. 14 Idaho State
Coach: Seton Sobolewski
Strength: The Bengals have four players – Chelsea Pickering, Kaela Oakes, Ashleigh Vella and Lindsey Reed – who average double-digit scoring.
Season highlight: The Bengals earned their third trip to the NCAA tournament by capturing the Big Sky Conference title with a 49-46 win over Northern Colorado.
Style of play: The Bengals have a balanced attack on offense and have won close games this season with stingy defense.
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