Last season, Mike Carey's team won its first-round game in the NCAA Tournament and was rewarded with a game against the number one seed, Baylor. This season, the Mountaineers got past Texas in the first round and will now have a matchup against Stanford, the region's number one seed.
Stanford (32-1) has one of the best women's basketball programs in the country. The team is good year after year, and it will be looking to reach the Final Four for the fifth consecutive season. The Cardinal simply doesn't lose early in this tournament.
It's not as though West Virginia (24-9) isn't battle-tested, though. The Mountaineers have already played ten ranked teams this season, including a stretch in which they played five consecutive games against ranked opponents. In fact, this will be their fourth game against one of the four top seeds this season alone.
The height of WVU's season came in one of those games. On February 12th, the Mountaineers went into South Bend and upset Notre Dame, which was ranked third in the country at that point. Beating a team of that caliber in the tournament would be a new high for Carey and his team. If nothing else, they've proven that they have that ability.
To have any chance at pulling the upset, West Virginia will need a big game from Asya Bussie, the team's leading scorer. Bussie averages 12.8 points per game and she gets almost all of those either in the paint or from the free throw line. Ayana Dunning is another player that provides experience for WVU, and she leads the team with 8.0 rebounds.
For Stanford, it's all about the Ogwumike sisters. Nnemkadi leads the team with 22 points per game, and Chiney is second with 15.6. They are the only two players on Stanford's team that average double digits, and each averages at least ten rebounds. The sisters both shoot over 50 percent from the field, as well.
Stopping the Ogwumike's is almost not an option, but slowing them down will be key for West Virginia if it wants to move on to the Sweet Sixteen. Yet, it's not like the rest of the Cardinal players are incapable. There's a reason Tara VanDerveer has taken this team to four consecutive Final Fours, a streak that began before either sister ever put on a Stanford uniform.
This will mark just the second time that these two schools have met in a women's game. The first ended with a West Virginia win, but that was in Morgantown back in 1986. A win Monday night would be a much bigger deal for the WVU program, but it likely won't come as easy.
The winner of the game will go on to face the winner of the South Carolina/Purdue game, which will also be played Monday night.
West Virginia's matchup with Stanford will be played in Norfolk, Va., and will tip at 7:15 p.m. You can tune in to ESPN2 to watch the action.