NCAA Women’s Tournament: Best Canadian Sweet 16 Performances
In every NCAA Tournament, the second weekend of games is always the most important. Starting in the third round, the real contenders start to distance themselves from the rest of the pack, and fortunately for Canadian fans, there is no shortage of Canadian content on this year’s top squads. Let’s look back on the best Canadian performances from the Sweet 16 that was.
Laeticia Amihere – #1 South Carolina
South Carolina has been a complete juggernaut all season, and they continued their blistering pace with an impressive win over Georgia Tech on Sunday. Mississauga native Laeticia Amihere has been a staple off of the bench for the Gamecocks this season, and she saved one of her best performances of the year for the biggest stage. In 24 minutes of action, Amihere scored 15 points on 6/8 shooting to go along with an impressive 7 rebounds. On top of those numbers, the sophomore tallied on an assist and shot a perfect 3/3 from the line. Amihere was a difference maker for every one of those 24 minutes, and with her prominent bench role completely solidified, it will be interesting to see if she can carry the momentum going into the rest of the games that the Gamecocks play in the tournament.
Aaliyah Edwards – #1 UConn
Perhaps the biggest name in women’s Canadian collegiate hoops this year has been Aaliyah Edwards, and for good reason. The star freshman has had an incredible first season with the dynasty that is UConn, and her level of play has risen even higher in their last 2 games. Despite mainly featuring as a player off of the bench for most of the season, Edwards has been given the start in the team’s last 2 games, and that decision has worked wonders for both the Canadian and the Huskies as a whole. Edwards followed up a great performance against Syracuse with another top-level effort in the Sweet 16 against Iowa, scoring 18 points to go along with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Edwards shot an incredible 9/11 from the field, once again proving her worth on a team with no shortage of talent.
Shaina Pellington – #3 Arizona
Arizona continued their march towards the final four with an impressive victory over #2 seed Texas A&M on the weekend, and have set themselves up for an Elite 8 matchup against Indiana on Monday night. Canadian redshirt junior Shania Pellington has been an important bench piece for the Wildcats all season, and she made the most of her 20 minutes on Saturday. Pellington scored 6 points on 2/4 shooting with 3 assists and a rebound; playing smart basketball that helped her team across the line. Pellington’s numbers aren’t necessarily flashy, but she has been a model of consistency for Arizona all season, and her contributions on both sides of the ball mean that she will surely get a chance to make an impact in every game from here on out for this streaking Wildcat team.
Hailey Brown – #6 Michigan
Although they were listed as a #6 seed, the Michigan Wolverines have impressed for the entirety of the season, and came up against a title contender in Baylor in the Sweet 16. The Wolverines battled to the end before coming up short in overtime, officially ending their season. Canadian senior Hailey Brown’s collegiate career has unfortunately come to an end, but she had a great year for the Wolverines, and had a solid performance on Saturday despite her point total being down. Brown scored 6 points on 2/8 shooting, but contributed with 4 assists and 4 rebounds in an exhausting 35-minute night. Brown has been a staple and leader for Michigan all season, and so it’s unfortunate that her and the Wolverines year ended the way it has, but the entire team should be proud for the way they fought, taking a team many picked to contend for the title to overtime in a game that really could have gone either way.
Written by Kyle Oliveira