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Women's NCAA Tournament: Lexington Region

From left, Hannah Huffman, Michaela Mabrey and Kathryn Westbeld cheer the Irish’s No. 1 seed.

Associated Press

From left, Hannah Huffman, Michaela Mabrey and Kathryn Westbeld cheer the Irish’s No. 1 seed.

Team to watch

Notre Dame (31-1), the No. 1 seed in the region, dominated the ACC this season, winning the conference tournament in commanding fashion and finishing 16-0. Its chances of similar success in the NCAA Tournament could be just as high.

Four Notre Dame starters average double digits in points, and the Fighting Irish are led by F Brianna Turner, who shoots nearly 60 percent from the floor. Twenty-four of Notre Dame's 31 wins were by 10 points or more, and the Fighting Irish beat Duke in the ACC championship game by 29.

Adding to Notre Dame's near inevitability of reaching the Final Four is the fact that the Fighting Irish have been almost unstoppable in the past few years — against teams not named Connecticut.

The Fighting Irish, who have reached the Final Four each of the past five seasons, are 104-1 against all NCAA opponents that aren't the Huskies. The good news for Notre Dame? It won't have to face Connecticut until the NCAA championship game.

Did you know?

No. 15 seed Iona, which will take on No. 2 Maryland in the first round, is making its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. The Gaels have won six of their past seven games, beating Quinnipiac in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship 57-41.

Quotable

"She changes the game defensively. She's a great shot blocker. She gives a presence in the lane that we just don't have when she's not on the floor. She can run the floor, and she can score in a lot of different ways. (She's) really improved facing up to the basket. She can drive the ball, just doing a great job in every way."

— Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw on Brianna Turner

Kelly Parsons, Times staff writer

Players to watch

• An injury kept Notre Dame F Brianna Turner off the court for six games this season, but when she's on the court, she's a tough player to stop. Turner averages 14.3 points and is sixth in the nation in field-goal percentage (59.6).

• Maryland F Brionna Jones leads the nation with a 67.2 field-goal percentage, and she averages 15.7 points for the No. 2-seeded Terrapins.

• No. 4-seeded Stanford, a two-time NCAA champion, has a balanced attack led by the dynamic duo of G Lili Thompson and F Erica McCall, who average 14.4 and 14.3 points, respectively.

Women's NCAA Tournament: Lexington Region 03/14/16 [Last modified: Monday, March 14, 2016 10:21pm]
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