Stanford freshman Bessie Noll took an unusual path to Division I softball. After years of playing little league baseball in Japan, she came to America seeking greater opportunity and the camaraderie that sprouts from playing with 18 other women.
Alyssa Thomas scored 22 points, Katie Rutan hit clutch 3-pointers and freshman Lexie Brown kept the Terps composure as No. 4 seed Maryland overcame a four-point halftime deficit to beat No. 3 seed Louisville 76-73.
Tuesday's regional final came down to a spectacular showdown between Alyssa Thomas and Shoni Schimmel. Maryland emerged the winner, preventing Thomas from joining a long list of great players who never reached a Final Four.
It's not that Alyssa Thomas and Shoni Schimmel can't do it all on their own. But on Sunday, with the help of teammates such as Maryland's Lauren Mincy and Louisville's Tia Gibbs and Asia Taylor, the senior stars didn't have to.
Once again, Shoni Schimmel fell short on the court against UConn, but Monday was about more than one game. It was a chance to celebrate someone who has become a part of the Louisville community and united the Native American nation.
After multiple injuries and transferring to Louisville, Tia Gibbs will play her final college game in 2014 -- six years after she played her first one. The circuitous journey and all the additional miles have taken a visible toll on the guard.
Chiney Ogwumike's skills and athleticism make her one of the faces of the college game this season. The curiosity and adventurousness that took her to Nigeria make her an ambassador for the game wherever she travels.
Who doesn't remember Shoni Schimmel driving against Brittney Griner last March? The play was equal parts brave, foolish, impetuous and daring -- just like Schimmel, the most fascinating character in women's college basketball.