Yahoo Sports women’s college basketball analyst Cassandra Negley looks at the players who could find innovative ways to lead their teams to victory during the opening weekend of the women’s NCAA tournament.
CASSANDRA NEGLEY: This is Cassandra Negley with Yahoo Sports, and it is time to highlight the players who are finding innovative ways to lead their teams to victory during this year's NCAA Women's Tournament. Let's take a look at our Agents of Innovation, presented by Invesco QQQ. This week, we're looking at those higher-seeded teams that could pull the upset and the player stats that could lead them to a win.
So let's look at the Seattle 4 region where number 5 seed Louisville could be on upset alert against number 12 seeded Drake and sophomore Katie Dinnebier. Drake ranks first in assisted shot rate, assisting on about 73% of their made baskets. And they rank third with 21 assists per game.
It's Dinnebier who is leading the way with 5.7 assists per game, ranking top 20 in the nation. The Missouri Valley Conference winners know that seeds do not matter. They won their conference title as the number four seed.
Let's stay in Seattle 4 region to talk about 10-seed Georgia and its matchup with number 7 Florida State. The Bulldogs rank 11th in total steals and 15th in steal rate. They average 10 per game, and those are spread around the roster.
But let's look at transfer and fifth-year senior Diamond Battles. Battles averages a team-best 1.7 steals and a team-best 2.9 assists, creating more opportunities for Georgia and finding her teammates to capitalize on them.
In Greenville 2, we've already talked about the potential for number 10 seed Princeton to upend number 7 NC State, so let's take a look at why. Junior forward Ellie Mitchell is dominating the boards for the Ivy League champs. She has about 11 per game, ranking 11th in the nation.
Her work on the offensive end ranks 13th with 4 a game, opening up opportunities for second-chance points. Because of her work on the boards, Princeton holds an advantage in this matchup in offensive rebounding by about 5 percentage points.
We'll see if Drake's Katie Dinnebier, Georgia's Diamond Battles, and Princeton's Ellie Mitchell can continue to lead their team to the title. For more women's tournament coverage, keep it here on Yahoo Sports, brought to you by Invesco QQQ, the official ETF of the NCAA.