Yearly, the NCAA Match is nice for greater than its justifiable share of storylines. Whether or not it’s an under-seeded underdog knocking off a hands-down favourite or a participant who has flown underneath the nationwide basketball radar making a key play in entrance of numerous followers, there are all the time a handful of favorites that emerge and etch their names into basketball historical past.
To this point, the 2022 NCAA Match actually hasn’t disenchanted. By two rounds, we’ve seen loads of upsets; with everybody’s bracket already busted, let’s take a second to understand a few of the event’s particular person standouts previous to the Candy Sixteen.
Alexus Dye (Tennessee)
Match statistics: 19 factors, 11 rebounds and a couple of assists per sport
Dye’s collegiate profession started at Troy, the place she shortly grew to become a standout participant — Dye averaged 10.1 factors and 9.6 rebounds in simply 19.1 minutes per sport as a freshman and 16.6 factors and 13.1 rebounds per sport as a sophomore — so to say that she’s placing on a breakout efficiency within the 2022 NCAA Match wouldn’t be solely right.
Nonetheless, throughout the context of her group’s success, Dye has confirmed to be invaluable. Her preliminary position as a Woman Vol wasn’t as giant because it was when she was at Troy, however Tennessee has referred to as her quantity an increasing number of usually in latest video games, and she or he’s responded by taking part in her finest basketball of the season. Dye has recorded wholesome double-doubles of 18 factors and 11 rebounds and 20 factors and 11 rebounds in two NCAA Match victories, and with Tennessee’s depth struggling as a result of accidents to a few of its different big-name gamers (Jordan Horston, specifically), you possibly can wager she’ll as soon as once more be a significant component within the Candy 16.
Lauren Jensen (Creighton)
Match statistics: 17.5 factors and 5 rebounds per sport
Generally it takes a change of surroundings for a participant to really flourish, and it simply so occurs that Jensen is doing so on the nation’s largest stage.
In one of the dramatic moments of the event so far, Jensen hit a go-ahead 3-pointer to place Creighton, a No. 10 seed, forward of the Iowa Hawkeyes with simply 15 seconds remaining within the sport. Jensen, who transferred to Creighton from Iowa final summer time, has been quietly constant for the Bluejays all season, averaging 12.6 factors per sport and pulling down 43.6 p.c of her makes an attempt from lengthy vary. There was nothing quiet about her play towards the Hawkeyes, although, and she or he and her group now have numerous followers rooting for what may very well be this 12 months’s Cinderella.
Match statistics: 10.5 factors, 9 rebounds and 11.5 assists per sport
OK, so Miles most likely isn’t catching anybody without warning. The Preventing Irish’s prized freshman level guard was named an Honorable Point out All-American by the Related Press and obtained All-ACC First Group honors, rating second in Division I in assists per sport with 7.4.
That is Miles’ first look within the NCAA Match, although, and she or he’s electrified viewers along with her play so far. In her first-ever NCAA Match sport, Miles grew to become the first freshman within the historical past of the event to file a triple-double, racking up 12 factors, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. She adopted that efficiency with 12 extra assists in a second-round blowout of Oklahoma. Miles’ future is clearly a vibrant one, and these video games will possible be thought of a basis of her profession as she reveals out for years to come back.
Hannah Sjerven (South Dakota)
Match statistics: 18 factors, 5.5 rebounds and three.5 steals per sport
The anchor of South Dakota’s Summit League-winning protection, Sjerven had one of the demanding weekends of any participant within the event, matching up towards Ole Miss’ Shakira Austin within the first spherical and Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith and Queen Egbo after that.
It’s a problem Sjerven handed with flying colours. She’s soundly outplayed her WNBA-bound competitors so far, notably Austin: Sjerven scored a team-high 20 factors within the victory over Ole Miss, capturing an ideal 7-for-7 from the sector whereas additionally recording a trio of steals. Sjerven’s play towards elite particular person competitors ought to assist her personal probabilities of making a WNBA group, however for now, she’s main a Coyotes group that can play in its first Candy 16 in program historical past.
Aaliyah Moore (Texas)
Match statistics: 19.5 factors and seven.5 rebounds per sport
Moore was a member of a 2021 Texas recruiting class that featured 4 top-40 gamers (ESPN HoopGurlz), so expectations of her coming into the 2021-22 season have been understandably excessive.
Moore hasn’t fairly met these expectations but; her minutes fluctuated wildly through the common season, and she or he incessantly discovered herself behind a number of different frontcourt gamers on the Longhorns’ depth chart. She’s performed a key position through the NCAA Match, although, main Texas in scoring off the bench and doing so effectively. In an opening-round Longhorns victory over Fairfield, Moore scored 18 factors and related on 10-of-10 free throws; one sport later, she scored 21 factors on 9-of-10 capturing from the sector. It’s exhausting to think about a greater means for a highly-recruited freshman to come back into her personal.