Sports Strength

8 NCAA Women’s Players To Watch in The 2022 March Madness Tournament

We’re finally here everyone. What an exciting season this has been! The first-round matchups are set, and now it’s time for the stars to shine their brightest. As you all know, March Madness is when lives are changed and careers are made.

The ante is upped, and the competition is intensified in a scenario where it is win or go home. While nobody knows for sure what will happen, we do know a few players who have made splashes this season. Sticking with our bracket theme, here’s our “Elite 8.”

1. Aliyah Boston

Let’s start with the obvious. Aliyah Boston has been nothing short of sensational, putting together a near-perfect season offensively and defensively that has her to be the widely projected National Player of The Year. One thing’s for certain, the South Carolina Gamecocks are going to need Boston’s efforts if they want to take home the trophy this year.

2. Nalyssa Smith

We’ve heard a lot about the talent that is Nalyssa Smith over the past couple of years, and boy has she continued to deliver. Averaging 22.5 points, Smith is currently expected to be picked first at next month’s WNBA Draft in New York City.

3. Paige Bueckers

Paige Bueckers had a dominant freshman campaign and probably would have pulled similar numbers this year if not for a knee injury that caused her to miss nineteen games this season. That said, let’s not forget who Paige Bueckers is, and what she is capable of. If health isn’t an issue, we could easily Bueckers in peak form. If she’s scoring 20 plus a night…look out.

4. Caitlin Clark

Ladies and gentlemen, the Caitlin Clark. To say Clark has been incredible this year, would be one of the biggest understatements of the 21-22 campaign. Clark has also presented a case for National Player of the Year honors with many memorable games such as her 43 point showing against Ohio State, and her 46 point barrage against the 5th ranked Michigan. Let’s see what Clark does in the tournament.

5. Ayoka Lee

Let’s take a look at Kansas St. center Ayoka Lee. There’s often a debate if “true centers” exist in the game of basketball anymore, and Lee proves on a nightly basis that it very much still exists amongst certain teams and players. Lee is wildly dominant on both offense and defense and is hard to stop once she gets going. In fact, it’s best not to get her going if you want to beat Kansas St.

6. Rhyne Howard

The recently announced Cheryl Miller award finalist has been on a tear ladies and gentlemen, and there are a couple of games we could highlight as an example. Let’s take it back to Howard’s season-high 32 point effort on Senior Day two weeks ago where she put on a show one final time for the Kentucky crowd. Or we could take it back a little further to the game where she officially became No. 2 on the UK scoring list with a 19 point showing against Missouri. Howard will be another player to watch for at the draft.

7. Cameron Brink

You could call her Cameron Brink. Or you could also call her the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Defensive Player of the Year. She’ll answer to both. While defense got her that honor, we can’t ignore her offensive contributions either. Brink is averaging 13.6 points per game, roughly four points more than last year, and can easily give you eight to ten rebounds each night. Brink is a tenacious player who we’re excited to see have an impact on this year’s tourney.

8. Haley Jones

Haley Jones. Let’s break it down for a second. First of all, Jones is already a national champion as the Cardinal took home the trophy last season in a tournament run that led to the standout athlete being named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Now Jones is back, averaging a nearly identical stat line as her 20-21 season. Perhaps the Cardinal will have an identical outcome and repeat as champions? It will be tough, but anything is possible when it’s March Madness.

So who you got? The women’s tournament officially kicks off tomorrow. In the meantime, let’s stock up on our popcorn.

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