March 30, 2024 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: Who are this year’s March Madness breakout stars?

'Aziaha James is just getting to the free-throw line at will'

In the latest episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball, Hunter Cruse and Lincoln Shafer discuss the breakout stars and top players in the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

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Cruse and Shafer start with North Carolina State junior guard Aziaha James, whose 29 points helped the Wolfpack beat Stanford in the Sweet 16 on Friday. Here’s what stood out to Shafer about James’ performance in that game:

Saniya Rivers, Aziaha James and Zoe Brooks are all so athletic. They’re so quick off the bounce. And it’s unsurprising to see that, in games where the other team doesn’t have anybody who can hang with her quickness, Aziaha James is just getting to the free-throw line at will. [Stanford star forward] Cam Brink obviously fouled out of that game pretty early, and a big reason for that is Aziaha James getting to the rack.”

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Still, Shafer is looking for James to develop in certain areas to improve her WNBA prospects for 2025:

“The quickness, the rim [shot] attempts [are] great. The defense is fine. She’s got a really solid defensive infrastructure around her with someone like Saniya Rivers, who’s one of my favorite defenders in all of college basketball. But yeah, with a player like Aziaha James, you’re really looking for catch-and-shoot 3-pointers to come along for some utility to show up off the ball. She can get downhill, she can score at the rim, she can get into that midrange pull-up, but I just need some [more] off-ball utility … than she’s shown to this point.”

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Listen to the rest of the episode to hear what Shafer and Cruse have to say about players including Duke’s Reigan Richardson, Syracuse’s Dyaisha Fair, Tennessee’s Rickea Jackson, West Virginia’s JJ Quinerly, Oregon State’s Timea Gardiner and Notre Dame’s Sonia Citron!

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