Dallas: Pre-Game Thoughts

By Jean Neuberger - March 27, 2007

We are hours away from what should be a classic matchup in Big D. There might have been upsets across the country, but not in this regional, as it's #1 North Carolina and #2 Purdue facing off for a ticket to Cleveland and the 2007 NCAA Women's Final Four.

Walk into Reunion Arena, and you won't be impressed with any fancy video screens or luxury skyboxes. Why? There aren't any. It's an old school arena that tonight features old school basketball at its finest. The Tar Heels and Boilermakers are two physical, aggressive teams that work hard at controlling the paint, crashing the boards, and playing intense defense. Each team features a talented guard (UNC's Ivory Latta and Purdue's Katie Gearlds) that will be playing in the WNBA in short time. Both teams have tradition, and neither will be intimidated by the other.

Tonight, three factors will determine the regional champion....

1) Interior Presence - The team who wins the paint should win this game. It'll be interesting to watch who not only wins the war of the boards, but who also scores more points in the paint. Both teams rely on the inside game to assume control of the game, so naturally, this is the top factor on the list.

2) Perimeter Shooting - Purdue was able to come back on Georgia, thanks in part to red-hot perimeter shooting, and Gearlds and the Boilers must shoot well from behind the arc if they want any chance of winning this game. North Carolina shot poorly from 3-point range Sunday in beating George Washington, but if they shoot bad tonight, they won't beat Purdue. Ivory Latta must improve from her 2-12 shooting performance (1-9 from 3-point range) for UNC to win.

3) Turnovers - When Purdue handles the ball well, they win. When they don't, they get into a LOT of trouble. Latta and the quick UNC guards could make it easy for the Tar Heels if they get a lot of transition buckets from their defense. Purdue's got to limit their turnovers (less than 12) in order to make it to Cleveland.

It should be a great one here in Dallas tonight! Stay tuned for live slog coverage of the Dallas Regional final, beginning at 8:00 CST.

Posted by Jean Neuberger at 06:31 PM on March 27, 2007

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