Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Connecticut to be well represented in NCAA women's tourney

It's nothing new for UConn to be in a position to make a run at another national title but there's plenty of other story angles involving the Nutmeg State.

Quinnipiac had an impressive run through the MAAC, beating perennial power Marist to win the title in the Bobcats' second season in the conference.

Today it was time for former state high school stars Sarah Benedetti and Lauren "Lady" Okafor to take center stage.

Benedetti, a former Canton High star, scored a career-high 29 points as St. Francis (N.Y.) won the Northeast Conference title by beating host Robert Morris to secure the program's first NCAA tournament bid. With a 15-18 record and RPI in the 260-280 range, it would be a stunning turn of events for the Terriers not to be sent to Storrs to play No. 1 UConn in the first round. Former Lauralton Hall star Olivia Levey is also on the St. Francis roster although she hasn't played in a game this season.

While St. Francis' run to the league title was a bit of a surprise, the same can't be said for Okafor's James Madison team.

JMU only lost one game in the Colonial Athletic Association and Okafor played a major role in the dominant season. In today's title game, Okafor had eight points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in a 62-56 win over Hofstra. Manchester's Ashley Perez added one point, two rebounds, two assists and two steals in the win.

In ESPN's most recent bracketology (posted before today's games) James Madison was listed as a No. 9 seed. If that proved to be the case, perhaps both Benedetti and Okafor could be playing in the NCAA tournament in their home state.

Albany, featuring senior guard Sarah Royals from Torrington, will also be in the tournament after winning the America East tournament.

West Virginia, led by former Hillhouse star Bria Holmes, is not in the field of 64 according to ESPN which is understandable based on the Mountaineers' RPI and strength of schedule.

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