Why the Final Four matchup between LSU and Baylor will be Special

Discussion in 'The Tiger's Den' started by tirk, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. tirk

    tirk im the lyrical jessie james

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    Inside and out, semifinal will be special by Nancy Lieberman,
    Special to ESPN.com


    LSU is the No. 1 overall seed in the women's NCAA Tournament and has the best mid-range game and top backcourt duo of any team going to the Final Four. But Baylor can make the same boast about its frontcourt. And when the two clash Sunday in the national semifinals, we'll see a very even matchup, with athleticism at every position and two teams that love to get up and down the floor.

    A look at how the two match up:

    Matchup to watch

    Abiola Wabara

    Seimone Augustus

    Abiola Wabara has been Baylor's big defensive stopper, and she'll be assigned to guard LSU superstar Seimone Augustus. Wabara is long and athletic and has caused problems for opponents' stars throughout the season and especially in the tournament. But Wabara will have her hands full as Augustus clearly is more experienced and the proven All-American.

    No matter how you play her, Augustus will get off her shots. She's too quick, her off-the-ball movement is too good and she comes off screens very well. Wabara will stick to Augustus and contest every shot, but the key is being able to apply consistent pressure without fouling. Wabara must defend and contest, but not bail Augustus out by putting her on the foul line for easy points. She has missed just 16 free throws all season (making 111 of 127 for 87 percent).

    Backcourt

    Chelsea Whitaker

    Temeka Johnson

    There is no negative to LSU's backcourt. The 5-foot-3 Temeka Johnson is the shortest player on the court but plays with the biggest heart, and is one of the nation's top point guards. Augustus (20.1 ppg) is not only the nation's best slasher, but the country's best player, period. These two (who combine for 32 points) play together very well, instinctively knowing where the other is or will be and help give LSU the Final Four's best mid-range shooting offense. Johnson committed an uncharacteristic seven turnovers in the Elite Eight.

    Chelsea Whitaker lacks Johnson's experience, but Baylor's point guard has had a tremendous season and really came into her own this year. Whitaker, who also had an uncharacteristic eight turnovers Monday, averages only 4.8 points, but dishes 5.2 assists on average and boasts a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio.

    The biggest key for Baylor's backcourt – and its potential for success against LSU – is whether Chameka Scott can play like she did against North Carolina on Monday. After going 0-for-9 from 3-point range in her previous two games, Scott went 4-of-8 from downtown against UNC for 18 points. She also had nine rebounds and four steals.

    Baylor's 3-point shooting could be a factor. The Lady Bears hit 4.6 treys per game and shoot 40.9 percent from downtown. LSU, the worst 3-point shooting team in the SEC this season, averages 3.8 treys and hits less than 35 percent of its attempts from beyond the arc. Scholanda Hoston, who so far in the tournament has been most effective with her defensive efforts, is the top 3-point threat, sinking 44 on 34.6 percent accuracy.

    LSU rarely looks for the 3. Rather, the Lady Tigers only take it if it's wide open. They prefer to slash to the basket, penetrate and suck in the defense to get open 17-footers or blow past the defense on the dribble. That's what separates LSU from other teams. The Lady Tigers always look to penetrate, taking that crucial second dribble to split the defense.

    >>>>in depth breakdown here<<<<


    last of 3 pages:

    Who wins?

    This one's close. They match up too well at every position. The key is how well Augustus plays or how well Baylor shuts down the all-everything superstar. LSU's the easy pick, but I'll take Baylor.
     
  2. Berge

    Berge Founding Member

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    I believe LSU will take this one with another 10 point win... I have been watching and following Baylor for about the past two months and they just don't seem to handle themselves as well as the Tigers. I predicted them to get as far as they did, but no further. They don't have nearly as much composure with their shots, or plays. The Lady Tigers are excellent at making plays on the spot (that's really not the best way of putting it... they read the defense and go from there). Our girls have beaten them once with an unexperienced Fowles, and we expect much more out of her now. I say its a close game for 30-33 minutes, then the Tigers will pull away to a comfortable lead for the rest of the game with a last minute surge from the Bears. :champs: :geauxtige :champs: LSU! :champs:
     
  3. cajdav1

    cajdav1 Soldiers are real hero's

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    I agree that Fowles should be a big part of LSU's victory. The Baylor forwards are their best scorers and they also are slashers who like to take shots within 10-12 feet. They do not shoot from the outside much. Fowles should be able to effect their shots. Willis, Williams and White will be asked to stop these Baylor forwards with Fowles backing them up. I have a feeling that Fowles will be in the game early to help with this.

    Semoine and Meka will have their normal effect on the game. Lsu by 10.
     
  4. kcal

    kcal Founding Member

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    Perhaps the X factor in this evenly matched game is motivation. Baylor is motivated by their loss in the tournament last year, but I'm counting on the Tigers to pull away in the 2nd half based on their motivation to correct the "wrong" of last year. I think the Lady Tigers, not Baylor will "finish the job". Here's hoping Temeka gets retribution. :geauxtige
     
  5. cajdav1

    cajdav1 Soldiers are real hero's

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    I don't think motivation will be a key as the shot at a championship will have all 4 teams evenly motivated. The experiences will be valuable and I think help.
     
  6. islstl

    islstl Playoff committee is a group of great football men Staff Member

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    Baylor has gotten to the final four for the very first time. LSU did that last year and knows what the final four atmosphere is like. Advantage LSU there.

    With the smothering defense of Hoston and with Fowles down low, I predict LSU to win 64-56, with LSU scoring the final 8 points of the game in what was otherwise an extremely tight game.
     
  7. kcal

    kcal Founding Member

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    Certainly motivation will be a key.The way LSU lost last year has to be burning deep in their gut and provides that extra little spark to achieve. IMO seeking redemption after that type of loss is far different than looking to "win". I know, it's an intangible, but to me it makes sense, kinda like Georgia "circling the calendar" against the Tigers. :geauxtige
     

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