By: Keller Sherman
Featured Image Courtesy of Southern Utah Athletics
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Fourteenth-seeded Southern Utah is now six wins away from a national championship. After sweeping the WAC regular season and tournament titles, does this Thunderbirds team have a big upset in them? They certainly landed a more favorable draw than what many bracketologists expected. That said, Notre Dame is far from an easy out. The Fighting Irish won the ACC regular season title, but could not win a tournament title. In the Irish’s last outing, they fell 38-64 to Louisville in the ACC Tournament semifinals. The Thunderbirds defeated California Baptist 82-73 to win the WAC crown and automatic berth to the Big Dance.
Keys to the Upset
14 seeds are 0-112 against 3 seeds in the women’s NCAA Tournament since expansion. That opens the door for the Thunderbirds to make history in their NCAA Tournament debut. The Thunderbirds will need to capitalize on their shooting accuracy which is exceptional most nights. In addition, a great defensive effort will also be needed. Lizzy Willamson always comes through on that side of the ball when it’s needed most. She will likely need to have the game of her life if the Thunderbirds are to put a 1 in the win column for 14 seeds all time. Cherita Daugherty, the WAC Tournament MVP, will also need to have an amazing game.
How About the Irish?
Offensive rebounding and scoring are where the Irish thrive. Sonia Citron leads the Irish in scoring averaging 14.7 points and makes 43.9% of three-point shots. Olivia Miles averages 14.3 points per game and is great on defense, but will miss this game due to an injury. Without her, the Irish lost to Louisville 64-38 in the ACC Tournament semifinals. Can the Thunderbirds take advantage of her absence and pull off the upset? It has already been a historic season for SUU and the Thunderbirds are not ready for it to end on Friday. They will look to get some luck of the Irish on St Patrick’s Day.