March S[imulation]adness: Oregon-Baylor face off in highly coveted Final Four matchup

A battle of “unfinished business” vs defending national champions.

[Please enjoy our March S[imulation]adness content. For more about this project, check out our explainer post.]

With eyes set on the ultimate prize, Sabrina Ionescu and the Oregon Ducks face their greatest test yet as they take on Lauren Cox and defending national champions Baylor Lady Bears in the Final Four.

In the Elite Eight, the Ducks shattered the UConn Huskies 12-game Final Four appearance streak in a 79-58 rout.

The shining star for the Ducks was none other then Sabrina Ionescu who finished the game with another triple-double to her name, 21 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

For the Lady Bears, Lauren Cox shined as she led her team to a 78-64 win over Northwestern Wildcats, ending their cinderella story of a tournament. Cox recorded a double-double, dominating inside the paint with 22 points and 13 rebounds.

We all know what Ionescu and Te’a Cooper, and every backcourt player for both the Ducks and Lady Bears, are capable of doing.

Both teams will have their hands full with each other’s guards which leads to the post players being the main focuses for both squads.

The battle down low

Both Baylor and Oregon have players who manage the paint so well that opponents fear.

Cox, a projected top-three draft pick in this upcoming WNBA draft, continues to dominate the paint in the tournament. Her regular season averages of 12.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game on a 46.3% shooting clip from the field has defenders on their toes whenever she gets the ball inside.

Defensively, Cox recorded 59 blocks on the season. Opponents know that they have to face Cox defensively and they know the risks of matching up against one of the best post-defenders.

On the other side, Ruthy Hebard, a projected 1st-round draft pick in this upcoming WNBA draft, is an offensive beast. She averaged 17.3 points 9.6 rebounds per game during the regular season, a near double-double. What’s more impressive is her shooting clip.

She shot a NCAA leading 68.5% from the field, practically unheard of. She is more of a traditional big in that she doesn’t take outside shots but she has no need to when the ball comes to her in the paint.

Defensively, she is  a strong player, recording 35 blocks and 42 steals on the season. She is a well-balanced and physical big that just might cause the Lady Bears to alter their game-plan in order to accommodate the Ducks front-court depth.

Will Lauren Cox and the Lady Bears knock off the Ducks and make a return to the national championships game or will Sabrina Ionescu and Oregon knock off Baylor and become one step closer to completing their “unfinished business.”

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