Stanford. Yes, the Cardinal got stunned by having the bracket's No. 1 seed go to upstart South Carolina. And yes, Stanford will start the tourney in Ames, Iowa. But if the Cardinal makes it to regionals, it will play on its home court. And that's where the huge advantage comes in.
South Carolina. The Gamecocks earned their first No. 1 seed, but with that comes a trip across the country to open in Seattle. But after winning the SEC regular-season championship, South Carolina is battle-tested and led by a coach, Dawn Staley, who knows how to win. North Carolina has one of the best freshmen in the country in ACC rookie of the year Diamond DeShields, and the Tar Heels ended the season by winning three of four.
Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike. The senior averages 26.8 points and 12.3 rebounds. She can dominate in the paint and score, and as she goes, Stanford goes.
South Carolina-Stanford. South Carolina is new to the upper echelon, Stanford is the old guard. It would be a tremendous challenge to defeat Stanford at home, but with Elam Ibiam and Alaina Coates inside, the Gamecocks might have the chance to survive and advance.
Antonya English, Times staff writer