Women's NCAA Tournament 2013: Players Who Need to Step Up in Tuesday Matchups

Morgan ChalfantContributor IIIDecember 17, 2016

CHARLESTON, SC - NOVEMBER 09:  Skylar Diggins #4 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Walmart Carrier Classic on the deck of the USS Yorktown on November 9, 2012 in Charleston, South Carolina.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Tuesday will prove to be the battle of the guards as four women’s basketball teams play for spots in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament.

Second-seeded Duke will face No. 1 Notre Dame first on Tuesday. The game will be a tough one for the Blue Devils, seeing as Duke fell to Connecticut by 30 points in January, while the Irish have topped the Huskies three times this season.

There will be an interesting matchup at the point guard position as freshman Duke guard Alexis Jones will attempt to handle Notre Dame’s star senior point guard Skylar Diggins. Alexis Jones has certainly stepped up to the plate in her first season of college basketball, averaging 9.5 points, 4.0 assists and 4.4 rebounds per 29.2 minutes of game play. She also has season highs of 24 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. Jones finished with a solid 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists in Duke’s 53-45 win over Nebraska on Sunday.

Nevertheless, Jones will have her hands full with Irish point guard Skylar Diggins. Diggins is a finalist for the State Farm Wade Trophy, the Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy. Moreover, Diggins became Notre Dame’s career leading scorer when she led the Irish to a 93-63 win over Kansas on Sunday. The point guard averaged 17.1 points, 5.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals in 31.8 minutes per game this season.

Following the Duke-Notre Dame game, No. 5 Louisville and No. 2 Tennessee will face off for the last spot in the NCAA Final Four. After Louisville’s shocking 82-81 win over Baylor on Sunday, all eyes will be on the Cardinals and their junior point guard Shoni Schimmel.

Despite the fact she fouled out with 4:21 left in the game, Schimmel played well against Baylor on Sunday, totaling 22 points. She has a career high of 38 points and averaged 14.2 points and 3.1 rebounds per 30.6 minutes of game play this season. The Cardinals will need their point guard on her top game Tuesday if they want to take down second-seeded Tennessee and guard Kamiko Williams.

Williams helped her team to a 74-59 victory over Oklahoma on Sunday with 15 points. She scored 13 points and grabbed two steals just in the first half. For the 2012-13 season, the senior guard averaged 7.2 points and 4.18 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per game.

Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick said of Williams, “She’s just taken this team, she’s wrapped her arms around this team and said, ‘Let’s go.’” Warlick later added, “When she puts it all together and she gets a great mindset, she can do just about anything.”

The winners of the Duke-Notre Dame and Louisville-Tennessee matchups will join UConn and California in the Final Four of the NCAA women’s tournament.