It's National Championship Tuesday! March Madness is finally about to end, and I can finally get some sleep!
And if you recall, Swish Appeal had a chance to interview Leslie last Thursday to preview the national semifinals. We also had a chance to interview WNBA legend and now-Naismith and Women's Basketball Hall of Fame player Lisa Leslie on Monday. We already have one part of Monday's interview -- namely her thoughts on being a Hall of Famer -- up on the site. Click here to read it.
On this part, Leslie will preview the national championship game between UConn and Notre Dame. For more reading, Brian McCormick has another preview which includes interviews with Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma and Irish head coach Muffet McGraw.
1. Notre Dame can't afford to have a long scoring drought against UConn
In their 66-65 win vs. the South Carolina Gamecocks (quick recap here and in-depth recap here), the Irish went scoreless from 6:51 to 18 seconds left in the second half. This turned what was once a comfortable Notre Dame lead into what probably should have been a South Carolina upset in my opinion.
Leslie agreed that Notre Dame couldn't afford to do the same again on Tuesday given how well they defended the Maryland Terrapins in their semifinal match (quick recap here and in-depth recap here). "I believe, that the Terps didn't even get a shot off three times against UConn yesterday," Leslie said. "They almost look like they always get exactly what they want, from an offensive perspective. Notre Dame, yes, they're going to have to be a lot more fluid with their offensive schemes and where their baskets are going to come from."
"They should not go on five to six-minute scoring drought against UConn. [If they do], it's lights out, game over."
2. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis could be a Top-3 pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft, but she still has work to do
The UConn senior is best known for her long range shooting and is the NCAA's all-time leading three-point shooter. However, Mosqueda-Lewis was limited to just four points on Sunday against Maryland. That said, she still dished seven assists to lead all players in that game.
Leslie acknowledged that WNBA teams don't need to be worried about an off-game from her. But she was concerned about her conditioning. "I think the biggest thing's going to be for her just being in tip-top shape and ... losing the weight," she said.
"She's going to have to show an improvement because the game will get faster. It will move faster. They will be able to block her shots. They're a lot of adjustments that she may have to make professionally. [Still], she definitely would be in my top three."
In the interview, Leslie believed that she could be a player that the Storm could use the first overall pick in the 2015 Draft on. If not, she believed that the Tulsa Shock could draft her second overall. The interview was held before news reports came out stating that Minnesota center Amanda Zahui B. would forego her last two seasons of college eligibility in order to declare for the 2015 WNBA Draft.
3. UConn is in position to be in third place for the Capital One Cup in women's sports, but it will be a stretch for them to win it
The UConn Huskies currently have 20 points in the Capital One Cup standings for women's sports, thanks to their 2014-15 field hockey national championship. If they win the women's basketball national championship tonight, the Huskies will get 60 more points and be third place in the standings. Penn State is currently first place with 87 points. Stanford is close behind with 85.5 points.
Even if the Huskies win the women's basketball national championship, they still have spring sports to play like every other Division I school. They don't have a strong women's lacrosse program like Maryland for example, nor a strong outdoor track team like Stanford or Texas A&M. Consequently, Leslie didn't believe that the Huskies would be favored.
"If I had to make my pick, only because I'm closer to the West Coast and I get a chance to see Stanford, they're my pick," Leslie said. "They are built stronger [across multiple sports throughout the season]."
Thanks again to Lisa Leslie for checking in with us for the second time in just a few days. You can follow her on Twitter @LisaLeslie and on Instagram @LisaLeslie. To learn more about the Capital One Cup, click here to get to their site. You can also follow Capital One on Twitter @CapitalOne and Instagram @capitalone.