The NCAA Tournament provides a final chance to see some of the top WNBA prospects in action before next month’s draft. This is a prime opportunity for players to make a great final impression and improve their draft stock. Whether they are bounced after just one game or make it all the way to the Final Four, here are some of the key seniors to keep an eye on as the tournament tips off this weekend. (photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics)
3 Maryland vs. 14 Bucknell
– Brionna Jones, C, Maryland
– Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, G, Maryland
The fourth-ranked Terrapins got a tough draw as the No. 3 seed in the Bridgeport Region featuring UConn and its 107-game winning streak. Maryland opens the tournament with a matchup with Bucknell and the senior duo of center Brionna Jones (19.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg) and guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (18.6 ppg, 3.7 apg) make them an overwhelming favorite to advance deep into the tournament.
5 Texas A&M vs. 12 Penn
– Curtyce Knox, G, Texas A&M
Curtyce Knox leads the NCAA in assists at 9.2 per game for the Aggies, who will open the NCAA Tournament with a 5-12 matchup with Penn. The pass-first point guard averages 10.9 points per game and shoots the three at 38.4% on the season. After playing limited minutes her junior season after the birth of her daughter, Knox has started every game for the Aggies and leads them not only in assists and steals (2.1) but minutes (37.3) as well.
6 West Virginia vs. 11 Elon
– Lanay Montgomery, C, West Virginia
After recovering from multiple knee injuries prior to her college career even began, Montgomery quickly established herself as a defensive presence at West Virginia. The 6-5 center ranks 11th in the nation in blocks at 2.9 per game and has developed her offensive game more and more each season, with her 10.7 points per game this season a career-best, along with her 8.9 rebounds in just 24.8 minutes per game.
7 Temple vs. 10 Oregon
– Feyonda Fitzgerald, G, Temple
Fitzgerald leads the Owls in both scoring (17.3 ppg) and assists (7.3) with the latter ranking seventh in the NCAA. While she is an outstanding playmaker (3.0 assist-turnover ratio) and scorer, she has never shot 40 percent from the field in any of her four seasons at Temple.
8 Syracuse vs. 9 Iowa State
– Alexis Peterson, G, Syracuse
– Brittney Sykes, G, Syracuse
– Briana Day, C, Syracuse
While much of the attention – including that of the Senior Watch – for the Orange has been focused on the dynamic backcourt of Alexis Peterson (23.3 ppg, 7.1 apg, ACC Player of the Year) and Brittney Sykes (19.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg), there is a third senior that should be on everyone’s radar: Briana Day. The 6-4 center nearly averages a double-double at 13.2 points and 9.7 rebounds per game for the 21st-ranked Orange, who open the tournament against Iowa State.
16 Albany vs. No. 1 UConn
– Imani Tate, G, Albany
If the Great Danes of Albany are able to pull off one of the biggest upsets in the history of college basketball and knock off top-ranked UConn to snap the 107-game winning streak, Imani Tate is going to have to have the game of her life. The senior guard is Albany’s leading scorer (19.2 ppg) and ranks second on the team in both assists (3.9) and rebounds (4.9).