NCAA Kansas City Region Breakdown
Kansas City Region Breakdown by ESPN Analyst (Peck, Lawson, Lobo & Burke)
By Graham Hays
Which player’s star might get a chance to shine in the first two rounds?
The No. 10 Blue Raiders nearly knocked off Michigan State in East Lansing in the first round last season and get a far more geographically neutral assignment this time against No. 7 Mississippi State in Pittsburgh. The Bulldogs aren’t without size to throw against Clark, an undersized post — Chanel Mokango can change a lot of shots. But Clark has faced big bodies before without missing a beat. If you haven’t had a chance to see her play, expect to see the quickest post moves you’ve seen and a touch around the basket and off the glass that a lot of All-American bigs would pay good money for.
Pilypaitis is just as likely to leave a lasting impression in leading No. 10 Vermont against No. 7 Wisconsin in South Bend, Ind., although it’ll be as much for her passing and rebounding as her scoring. A 6-foot point guard in a small forward’s body, she’s fearless on the court. That cuts both ways — she’s going to commit her share of turnovers. But more often than not, she’s also going to make even more plays for the Catamounts. Wisconsin defends well, but the Badgers don’t force a lot of turnovers, and as Iowa’s Kachine Alexander and Kamille Wahlin proved most recently, they can give big numbers to opposing backcourts.
And you can’t take Pilypaitis without Kotsopoulos, her fellow senior and Canadian. An all-conference defender all four seasons, she emerged this season as a go-to scorer, both from the 3-point line and getting into the lane to finish or get to the line.