About the Lady Buckeyes :
The Lady Buckeyes are a well-balanced team that dominated their conference play, only losing three games. Their dominance lead to a top-10 ranking during the regular season and a two seed in the NCAA tournament. The Lady Buckeyes dominated in their first round match-up against St.Francis, winning 93-59. They are led by Jantel Lavender who is averaging a double-double on the season, 21.5 points and 10.4 rebounds. The Lady Buckeyes are poised to make a strong run in the tournament after falling short last season.
Projected Starting Line-Up:
About the Lady Bulldogs:
The Lady Bulldogs are coming off a great comeback victory against Middle Tennessee State where they went on a 14-0 run to end the game. They accomplished the feat behind the great second half performance of Alexis Rack who scored 18 of her 21 points in the second half to spur the comeback where the Lady Bulldogs only led the game for the last 37 seconds. The Lady Bulldogs will now try to build off the first round game and try to upset number two seed Ohio State.
Projected Starting Line-Up :
Mississippi State - Senior Center Chanel Mokango is the player to watch for the Lady Bulldogs. Mokango was a force in the 1st round game versus Middle Tennessee State with 20 points, 14 boards, and two blocks. The Lady Bulldogs will need a repeat performance if they hope to win this game. She will also be charged with stopping Lady Buckeye star Jantel Lavender.
Ohio State - Junior Center Jantel Lavender is the player to watch for the Lady Buckeyes averaging 20.5 points and 10.4 rebounds. Lavender dominated in the Lady Buckeyes first round game with 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Lavender should give the Lady Bulldogs fits all night.
Keys to Victory
The Lady Bulldogs and Lady Buckeyes meet for the second straight year in the NCAA tournament second round. The Lady Buckeyes prevailed last year after the Lady Bulldogs failed to score in the last two minutes. Both teams return basically the same teams with the exception of a few rotation players. They match-up is very similar physically but the Lady Buckeyes are far more balanced and efficient. The Lady Bulldogs are high-scoring and like to push the tempo but they do are less efficient than the Lady Buckeyes, living and dying by the three. The match-up to watch will be between Chanel Mokango and Jantel Lavender who both had strong opening-round performances. This game could also come down to who does the best job of controlling the ball as both teams like to pressure the ball. The X Factor could be Alexis Rack who can take over games if she gets hot. I think Ohio State will ultimately be too much in this match-up but do not be shocked if the Lady Bulldogs are having their Sweet Sixteen party MTV-style.
Jeremiah Short is a columnist who covers various Mississippi State sports for GenesPage.com. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org