The 2014 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament begins this weekend, and for the first time in the history of men's or women's college basketball, this tournament could conclude with a showdown between two teams with perfect records. The ACC-winning Fighting Irish from Notre Dame and the UConn Huskies, a school that has won the tournament as an undefeated four times before, could square off on April 8 in Nashville, but not if the four teams they are set to face before then have anything to say about it.
Last year, while both still members of the storied Big East Conference, Notre Dame defeated UConn in 3 of their 3 meetings. Unfortunately for the Irish, UConn's victory came during the tournament semi-final (UConn would go on to win the 2013 National Championship).
Still, the tournament, as always, promises to be an exciting one, with a few notable players to look out for:
If you like swag, look no further than Tennessee's Meighan Simmons. The Lady Vols senior guard's energy will have to stay up to help lead her team through the highly competitive Louisville region.
Chiney Ogwumike. Not only is her name really fun to say, it's also the first we may be hearing at the 2014 WNBA draft. While the Cardinal may not be a final four caliber this year, Chiney is one player we've got our eyes on.
Breanna Stewart. This 6'4" guard is a pioneer in versatility. With an unguardable three-point shot, Stewart is also a beast under the boards, making her one of the toughest to go toe to toe with in the tournament.
My pick: The Irish. Notre Dame has faced heartbreak after heartbreak in recent tournament history, and it's time Muffet McGraw hoisted another trophy. Their biggest challenge will undoubtedly be their final game, which would pit them against either the UConn Huskies, or any time strong enough to take down that Goliath.
Tournament play starts this Saturday on ESPN2.