Since there are only two games scheduled in the Stanford region today, we'll have the full preview tomorrow. But one game that really stands out happens to feature two WNBA prospects that we've been watching throughout the season: Iowa State's Hallie Christofferson and Florida State's Natasha Howard.
Upset watch: #10 Florida State vs. #7 Iowa State
If you were to pick a style of play that could upend Iowa State at home, Florida State's profile might be it.
With Natasha Howard in the paint for Florida State, their biggest strength this season has been a significant offensive rebounding advantage; with Hallie Christofferson forced to spend more time than ever in the paint because Iowa State simply doesn't have much height, the Cyclones have only been a mediocre rebounding team. And if they are matched up directly, Howard could really showcase the range of her post skills: Christofferson has been foul prone when forced to guard athletic post players and if she has to miss significant time in foul trouble, Howard could be the big star of the day even on Iowa State's home floor.
Working in Iowa State's favor, especially at home, is that they can spread the court with three point shooters and get hot, which could certainly win the game for them. But they've struggled all year to play consistently, home or road, and Howard is exactly the type of player that could give them fits and lead an upset.
Other prospects we've discussed previously:
#3 Penn State
#8 Middle Tennessee
Prospects we haven't previously discussed
What immediately stands out about Butler is that she can really score. What might not stand out quite as clearly is that despite having the ball in her hands so much, she doesn't turn the ball over much at all: her 6.5% turnover rate is outstanding.
However, pure scorers haven't fared well in the league so what might end up being more significant for her as a pro prospect is that ability to handle the ball efficiently; if she is to make it in the league at 5-foot-5, it will almost certainly be as a point guard and her numbers fit within the range of successful point guards in the past although her MVP rating of 12.61 is below the threshold for successful mid-major prospects of the past.
Newsome might be the better prospect of the two UT-Martin stars and not only because she has an inch on her teammate: Newsome has put up elite numbers for a WNBA point guard prospect.
Despite a high usage rate of 25.59%, Newsome still manages to be an efficient playmaker with a 3.19 pure point rating while also being an efficient scorer with a 58.94% true shooting percentage. With a free throw percentage of 45.5%, she's not a player afraid to drive into traffic at 5-foot-6. Her 4.1% steal percentage shows that she has the type of athleticism to compete against top competition at the next level - she has all the tools you'd want to see from a mid-major point guard prospect.
@SwishAppeal mid majors must be able to score! and hav at least these 3 things to make WNBA IMO... Skill set... Foot speed... Toughness— Lin Dunn (@coachlindunn) March 16, 2014
Obviously, the problem in reading too much into the stats of either of these players is the Skyhawks' strength of schedule: it ranked just 238th in the nation. That Newsome has a MVP rating of 14.26 bodes well for her having a shot at the league, but hardly makes her a lock relative to past mid-major prospects.
For more on WNBA prospects, check out our 2014 WNBA Draft prospect watch storystream.