Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)
While the upsets and overall madness are a great allure, one of the best parts of the NCAA Tournament each March is seeing local products have their moments in the national spotlight. Here’s a list of the CoBL-Area women’s alumni to keep an eye on during your tournament viewing; CLICK HERE to view the men’s list:
Maddie Burke (above) has knocked down 68 3-pointers this season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Maddie Burke, Jr., Villanova (Central Bucks West)
Burke wasn’t around for the Wildcats’ tournament appearance in 2022, but In her first season after transferring from Penn State, the 6-foot guard has found a role as a sharpshooter. Burke is averaging 7.5 ppg (third on the Wildcats) with 84 percent of her field goals coming from behind the arc. She’ll make her tournament debut when No. 4 seed Villanova hosts No. 13 Cleveland State on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Denae Carter, Soph., Mississippi State (St. Basil Academy)
The St. Basil Academy product has seen her minutes dip after a strong freshman campaign, but she’s still a key piece in the rotation. Carter has seen action in 26 games this season for the Bulldogs, including one start. The 6-foot forward is averaging 4.6 ppg and 5.1 rpg in 16.3 minutes per contest for Mississippi State, which plays Illinois in a play-in game Wednesday in South Bend, Ind.
Kaitlyn Flanagan, Fr., Holy Cross (Plymouth Whitemarsh)
Coming off an undefeated state title run with PW last season, Flanagan has continued her winning ways with the Crusaders, helping them to a Patriot League title to earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. The 5-8 freshman guard has started all 32 games, averaging 6.7 ppg and leading her team in assists (3.0 apg) and steals (1.4 spg) to earn a spot on the All-Patriot League Rookie team. No. 15 seed Holy Cross faces No. 2 Maryland in College Park on Friday at 2:30 p.m.
Diamond Johnson, Jr., North Carolina St. (Neumann-Goretti)
Johnson, a 5-5 guard, was the ACC Sixth Player of the Year last season as a sophomore. She stepped into the starting lineup this season and earned second team All-ACC honors after leading her team in scoring (12.3 ppg) and assists (3.5 apg), to go along with 4.2 rpg. Coming off an Elite Eight appearance last season, the Wolfpack are a No. 6 seed this season, facing No. 11 Princeton on Friday at 10 p.m. in Salt Lake City.
Alisha Lewis, Sr., Georgia (Strath Haven)
A Wallingford, Pa. native, Lewis played at Ursuline Academy (Del.) and Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.) before finishing out her high school career at Strath Haven. First at Syracuse and then UCF, Lewis is in her first season in Athens, carving out a role as the first player off the bench. Lewis is averaging 6.8 ppg and 4.5 apg and is 13th in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio. The Bulldogs are a No. 10 seed, facing No. 7 Florida State on Friday at 1:30 p.m. in Iowa City.
Brooke Mullin, Sr., Villanova (Neshaminy)
Mullin is a three-year starter for the Wildcats, averaging 3.4 ppg and 3.4 apg in her senior campaign. She’s second in assists on Villanova and the Neshaminy product ranks 11th in Division I in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5:1).
Taylor O’Brien, Gr., Florida State (Plymouth Whitemarsh)
This is O’Brien’s second time in the NCAA Tournament, as she made it there as a freshman at Bucknell, when the 12th-seeded Bison lost in the first round…to Florida State. O’Brien only played three minutes that game, but she should see a much bigger role this time around, as she’s averaging 20 mpg off the bench for FSU, contributing 6.3 ppg as their top reserve. This year’s FSU squad is seeded seventh in its region, facing 10th-seed Georgia in the first round.
Lucy Olsen, Soph., Villanova (Spring-Ford)
Olsen took a major leap this season, earning All-Big East second team honors as her averages of 7.0 ppg, 2.7 apg and 2.7 rpg as a freshman jumped to 12.3 ppg, 4.4 apg and 4.0 rpg as sophomore. The Spring-Ford product turned in the Wildcats’ second option behind Maddy Siegrist, the nation’s scoring leader. The 5-9 guard is another player who takes care of the ball, ranking fifth in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.85:1).
Kaitlyn Orihel, Soph., Villanova (Archbishop Wood)
Orihel’s playing a similar role for the Wildcats as she did last season as a spot up shooter off the bench. The Wood product saw action in all 34 games, averaging 3.0 ppg in 13.3 mpg. The Wildcats could use a few big long balls from the 5-10 guard as they try to make a deep tournament run.
Other Local Products in the Tournament
Maggie Grant (Fr. | Villanova | Archbishop Carroll), Marissa McDonald (R-So. | Vermont | West Chester East), Ava Sciolla (Fr. | Maryland | Pennsbury), Alana Swift (R-Jr. | Norfolk St | Imhotep Charter), Annie Welde (Fr. | Villanova | Cardinal O’Hara)
Tag(s): Home College Division I Women's Archbishop Wood Neumann-Goretti Strath Haven Spring-Ford Central Bucks West Plymouth Whitemarsh Neshaminy