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NCAA Women’s Tournament Sweet 16 Picks: Iowa and LSU Lead Saturday Slate of Games

West Virginia v Iowa

(Photo : (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)) IOWA CITY, IOWA- MARCH 25: Guard Caitlin Clark #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes celebrates after drawing a foul late in the second half against the West Virginia Mountaineers during their second round match-up in the 2024 NCAA Division 1 Womens Basketball Championship at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on March 25, 2024 in Iowa City, Iowa.

The Sweet 16 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament matchups are finally here.

Saturday’s slate of games are headlined by stars like Caitlin Clark along with some of the brightest NCAA Women’s players in JuJu Watkins and Paige Bueckers in action. 

With a chance to advance to the Elite 8, here are some picks and predictions for Saturday’s NCAA Women’s Tournament Sweet 16 slate.  

Related Article: NCAA Tournament Player Profile: Donovan Clingan Is Leading the Charge for the UConn Huskies

(2) UCLA vs. (3) LSU

(Regional 2, Albany)

Time: 1:00 PM

Network: ABC

The first game of the Saturday slate will pit Angel Reese and the LSU Tigers against the No.2 UCLA Bruins.

The Bruins entered the NCAA Tournament after falling in the PAC-12 Tournament to USC, but they then picked up some wins in the first two rounds, beating Creighton and California Baptist.

While LSU managed to take care of business, defeating Middle Tennessee.

Both clubs have the size up front with UCLA center Lauren Betts and forward Angela Dugalic, while LSU has Angel Reese and ANeesah Morrow. Whoever wins the rebounding battle should have the advantage in this NCAA Women’s Tournament matchup. 

The difference maker here is LSU’s Flau’jae Johnson. If she has another tremendous scoring performance, then it could be very easy to see LSU coming away with the victory.

LSU over UCLA 75-71

Read More: NCAA Tournament Player Profile: Caleb Love and the Arizona Wildcats in a Frenzy

(1) Iowa vs. (5) Colorado 

(Regional 2, Albany)

Time: 3:30 PM

Network: ABC

The Caitlin Clark show continues as the Iowa Hawkeyes look to take No.4 Colorado Buffaloes.

Colorado comes into Saturday’s matchup after having defeated Drake and Kansas State. 

While Iowa comes off a win against West Virginia, who tested Caitlin Clark throughout their matchup.

The key for the Buffaloes is to of course slow down Clark. Caitlin Clark is the nation’s leading scorer, averaging 31.8 points and 9.2 assists per game throughout the regular season.

The Buffaloes need a big game from Quay Miller and center Aaronette Vonleh, who is the Buffaloes leading scorer.

Colorado will have to set the tone defensively, forcing someone else in Iowa not named Clark to take over. 

Still, keeping such a talented offensive player in Caitlin Clark at bay may be too challenging for the Colorado Buffaloes.

Iowa over Colorado 88-71

Read More: WNBA Draft Player Profile: Kamilla Cardoso Could Pave the Way for the New LA Sparks

(5) Baylor vs. (1) USC

(Regional 4, Portland)

Time: 5:30 PM

Channel: ESPN

The No.1 Seed USC Trojans will look to keep dancing when they take on the No.3 Seed Baylor Bears. 

Head coach Lindsay Gottlieb has had her Trohans playing some good basketball behind superstar JuJu Watkins. 

The Baylor Bears have ripped off some significant victories in the NCAA Tournament so far, beating Virginia Tech and Vanderbilt.

The key for the Bears to continue their success would be in slowing Watkins down.

Watkins’ tremendous first year leaked into the NCAA Women’s Tournament. In the first weekend of tournament play, she averaged 25.5 points, eight rebounds, and 4.5 assists. 

As great as JuJu Watkins is, the Bears will try to force the Trojans to rely on someone else to step up. Other USC players such as Mckenzie Forbes and Kaya Padilla will have to show what they can do on the national stage. 

USC over Baylor 88-77

Read More: South Region Sweet 16 Picks: Houston Faces Duke, NC State Looks to Continue Run Against Marquette

(3) UConn vs. (7) Duke 

(Regional 4, Portland)

Time: 7:00 PM 

Network: ESPN

If Geno Auriemma wants to take his UConn Huskies back to the Elite 8, they’ll need to get past an outstanding Duke team first. 

Paige Bueckers has averaged 30 points in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, and Aaliyah Edwards and Nika Muhl have also shined in UConn’s first two tournament wins. 

Duke’s defense is elite and can give UConn’s Bueckers and Edwards some problems down the stretch late in the game. 

The Blue Devils do have Reigan Richardson, who is playing some great basketball in the NCAA Women’s Tournament. Still, UConn’s star power may be too much for Duke to handle in the end.

UConn over Duke 66-61

Read More: NCAA Tournament Player Profile: Trey Alexander Soars With Creighton Bluejays

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