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Women's Hoops

The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

March 23, 2009 at 8:50 AM

Morning links from Seattle NCAA subregional

HappyZags.jpgPitt coach Agnus Berenato said she likes the NCAA tournament because you play teams from completely different conferences in a different setting and she’ll get more of that tonight when her No. 4 seed Panthers face No. 12 seed Gonzaga at Hec Ed.
There’s just not much to fallback on with this matchup. The only time the programs met was in 1994 when the Zags lost to Pitt 89-77 in the Women’s NIT. Yet, neither team even has the same coaching staff or trainer from that season.
And there are barely common opponents from this season to help gauge the game. Both schools played Marquette in non-conference play, Pitt winning 86-54 while Gonzaga lost 80-77. The opponents also faced Montana this year, the Zags defeating the rival 69-63. Pitt crushed the Big Sky champs 64-35 to advance in the NCAA tournament on Saturday, holding the Griz to a tourney-tying low 10 points in the second half.
The lone nugget to hold on to is that Pitt says Gonzaga plays like DePaul. And the Panthers split with the Blue Demons in regular-season play.
Both Pitt and the Zags were impressed with each other on Saturday. The guards were particularly complementary to one another, with Zags PG Courtney Vandersloot calling G Shavonte Zellous “phenomenal.”
While G Sophronia Sallard didn’t know Vandersloot’s name, she knew her game.
“She’s a really good point guard,” Sallard said. “Her ability to see the floor is really outstanding. I’ve been doing a really good job with the point guard and I’m just going to bring what I can with the skills that I have and we’ll see from there.”
Sallard is a unique point guard, converted from the wing after Pitt’s original PG suffered an injury to open the season. Sallard shares the offensive responsibility with senior Xenia Stewart and Zellous.
“It’s different than I’ve been brought up — playing basketball on the wing,” Sallard said. “Last year I played the four. The third game in the season I right away felt comfortable with it. Z has been playing a lot of point guard and I watch her, she does everything by example. The confidence from my coaches and my teammates help a whole lot.”
Here are other takes about the game:
— The Pittsburgh Post-Gazett writes about both teams liking an up-tempo game.
— The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes that Gonzaga is upset-minded while also noticing that both school’s men’s and women’s programs are still alive in the tournament — mirroring each other.
— The Spokesman-Review writes about how the Zags will have to play solid on the perimeter unlike Saturday’s solid interior play.
— We featurized Zags F Vivian Frieson, a Seattleite and offered a matchup box. You can also get more updates from both sides by following me at www.Twitter.com/jaydaevans.

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