Tonight's games

April 03, 2005|By Milton Kent

No. 2 seed Baylor (31-3) vs. No. 1 seed Louisiana State (33-2)

Site: RCA Dome, Indianapolis

Time, TV: 7, ESPN

Key matchup: LSU's Seimone Augustus vs. Baylor's Abiola Wabara. Augustus, a 6-foot-1 junior, is a heavy favorite to capture national Player of the Year honors and is shooting 55 percent from the field and averaging 20 points. Her ability to face the basket, as well as score from the perimeter, make her the most dangerous player in the women's college game. Wabara, a 6-1 sophomore from Italy, is Baylor's designated perimeter stopper and will spend most of the night shadowing Augustus. Wabara won't be able to stop Augustus, but she has to limit her touches and keep her from matching the 33 points Augustus had in LSU's 71-70 win over Baylor in the State Farm Tipoff in November in Austin, Texas.

Outlook: With Baylor possessing the best frontcourt duo in the nation, forwards Steffanie Blackmon and Sophia Young, and LSU's perimeter combo of Augustus and point guard Temeka Johnson being just as strong, the battle may be won among the role players. If Baylor's Emily Niemann can hit a few threes off the bench, the Lady Bears can get the Lady Tigers on their heels. More likely, though, LSU's experience and Augustus' skill should get them to Tuesday's final.

No. 1 seed Michigan State (32-3) vs. No. 1 seed Tennessee (30-4)

Site: RCA Dome, Indianapolis

Time, TV: 9:30 approximately, ESPN

Key matchup: Tennessee's Shyra Ely vs. Michigan State's matchup zone. Ely, a 6-2 senior forward, was having a disappointing season but came to life when coach Pat Summitt moved her back down on the low block, allowing her to use her quickness. Spartans frontcourt players Liz Shimek, a junior, and Kelli Roehrig, a senior, will likely spend some time each on Ely in the matchup zone Michigan State coach Joanne McCallie likes to use, but they'll likely need to keep Ely from going to the hole on offense and to the glass on defense.

Outlook: The Spartans have faced every challenge this season and are a fun, balanced squad to watch with only Shimek averaging as many as 15 points. But the Lady Vols appear to be the one foe they can't get past, because of their balance and depth. Summitt has done one of the best coaching jobs in her storied career in getting a banged-up Tennessee team to its 16th Final Four. A 12th championship game is probably in the offing for the Lady Vols.

- Milton Kent

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