Women ready for Ole Miss

Anne Boyd

On Sunday the news came that the women’s basketball team received the seventh seed in the West Bracket of the NCAA Tournament. The ‘Cats will be facing off against the 10th-seeded Mississippi on Sunday at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

This year makes the fourth straight trip to the NCAA tournament and the eighth overall appearance for the ‘Cats. ‘Nova finished this season at 22-6, with a 12-4 record in the Big East. The women also finished with the fewest turnovers per game in the country at 9.2 and second in scoring defense at 52.3 per game.

After a momentous performance in the tournament last year, all eyes will be on ‘Nova to see if the women can do it again. This year the team enough smart players to take the team through the bracket.

Senior Courtney Mix is one of those players and is regarded this way around the country. Mix is a versatile player whose good performance will be essential if the ‘Cats want to move on. Mix averages eight points, seven rebounds, and five assists per game. Her assist-to-turnover-ratio is the top in the nation at 5.4 to one.

She leads the team in rebounding, steals and assists and is second in scoring and blocks.

Liad Suez will be another key to victory for the ‘Cats. Suez, a sophomore, averages about 15 points a game and knows how to handle bigger post-players.

Freshman, Armintie Price will lead the Lady Rebels in Sunday’s game. She had 14 double-doubles this season and leads the team in scoring with 15 points per game and rebounding with nine.

Senior Genice Terry averages 12 points per game and is the teams lead guard. The defense will be led by 6-foot-3-inch center Amber Watts.

Mississippi’s main advantage is their speed; they play an up-tempo game and are extremely athletic and aggressive.

Another advantage is the leadership of the team’s new coach, Carol Ross, who turned the program around.

Last year the team had only one victory during the entire regular season. This year Ross led the Lady Rebels to a .1-13 final record and a trip to the NCAA Tournament – the team’s first since 1996.

The winner of Sunday’s game moves on to play the winner of second-seeded Purdue and St. Francis (15th seed).

The Boilermakers finished the season at 27-3 and led the Big Ten. What Purdue lacks in size it make up for with its defense.

The Boilermakers have the ability to successfully switch quickly and smoothly from man-to-man to a zone; something which often catches the opponent off-guard, giving Purdue the chance to capitalize.

St. Francis, Purdue’s opponent in the first round game, finished its season at 25-5. With five juniors and four seniors, the Red Flash has the experience advantage.

Beth Swink will lead St. Francis with her consistent double-doubles, 80 percent shooting from the foul line and 60 percent shooting from the field.

‘Nova will be a tough match for Mississippi. ‘Nova’s defense is strong and has continuously improved this season.

The women hold their opponents to an average of just 52 points per game.

Ole Miss is fast and strong though. The ‘Cats just need to take on a mindset that will, hopefully, cause Mississippi to second-guess during the course of the game, something which ‘Nova knows how to capitalize on.

The top four seeds in the West Region of the bracket are Texas, Purdue, Georgia and Louisiana State.