NEW ORLEANS — Ten days before the women’s Final Four hits town, here are 16 thoughts about the Sweet 16:
1. No matter how things go in Spokane, LSU’s performance against Penn State on Tuesday night ranks up there with the Lady Tigers’ run of five straight Final Fours between 2004-08. And don’t forget the late-season seven-game winning streak that got the team in the tournament to begin with.
2. Look for more talk about Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne than Baylor’s Brittney Griner this weekend. She’s already the most famous Blue Hen since Joe Flacco.
3. One reason for the Delle Donne Buzz: She signed with Connecticut in 2008 but left after two days there, returning to her home in Delaware because she didn’t want to be away from her severely handicapped older sister.
4. With a maximum of four games left, Griner needs to average 30.1 points to become the Division I career scoring leader, surpassing Jackie Stiles of Missouri State. That’s 8.9 points per game higher than Griner’s career average.
5. Griner tweeted at halftime that she was going for two more dunks in the second half to go with the one she had in the first. Guess when you’re Brittney Griner, even Kim Mulkey lets you use your phone during a game.
6. The SEC hasn’t had a team in the Final Four since LSU and Tennessee made it in 2008. But even with four teams in the Sweet 16, don’t count on the streak being broken.
7. Traditionally, you don’t want to be the woman who follows the woman. But long-time Pat Summitt assistant Holly Warwick has Tennessee back in the Sweet 16, and she’s signed Mercedes Russell, the National Gatorade Player of the Year.
8. There’s no Florida Gulf Coast in this bunch. No. 12 Kansas is the only double-digit seed left.
9. Even lower seeds have no chance. Since the tournament started seeding every team in 1994, 14, 15 and 16 seeds are a combined 1-228.
10. Of the 15 early round host teams, nine advanced, the most since the tournament reverted to 16 early round home sites in 2009.
12. Cal made late mistakes Monday with two 3-shot fouls in the last minute against South Florida that let the Bulls take the game to overtime. If the Lady Bears don’t smarten up between now and Saturday, LSU has a real shot.
12. Since it’s 2,493 miles from Athens, Ga., to Spokane, Wash., Georgia remained in the Great Northwest for Saturday’s game against Stanford.
13. For that matter, it’s 2,354 miles from Baton Rouge to Spokane.
14. While nobody was watching, Stanford routed Michigan 73-40. The Cardinal is easily the best team in the Spokane Regional, and the only one to beat Baylor this year. Beware the Tree!
15. Norfolk Region top seed Notre Dame has won 28 straight and gets the tourney’s lowest remaining seed, Kansas, in the regional semifinals.
16. Predicting the Elite Eight: Baylor vs. Tennessee; Stanford vs. Cal; Notre Dame vs. Duke. Connecticut vs. Delaware.