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Monday, October 20, 2014

Lisa Leslie Stands by Stanford over UConn Pick for NCAA Women’s Final Four

Former three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie says she’s standing by her pick of Stanford to beat UConn in the NCAA women’s basketball Final Four this weekend. Leslie spoke to Larry Brown Sports on behalf of the Capital One Cup which will award $200,000 to fund graduate-level scholarships for college athletes. The current leaders are Cal and Auburn for women’s and men’s athletics respectively, and the winning women’s basketball program will receive 60 Capital One Cup points. Leslie told LBS she thinks it will be Stanford.

“I definitely think Stanford and UConn will get to the finals and face off,” Leslie said during our conversation Friday. “It will be just a great game because Stanford was the team that ended UConn’s winning streak. UConn has Maya Moore — the best player in the country, and both teams have great coaching staffs. It just couldn’t be a better story if those teams met and had a chance to fight it out on a neutral court. I’m going to stick with my pick because I’m not go change at this point. I like Stanford, I love the fact that they have the Ogwumike sisters who did a nice job guarding Maya Moore. They do a nice job on the boards, they really are a well-oiled machine, and defensively they are really smart and play players to their weaknesses.”

LBS asked Leslie about Maya Moore, whom she called “the best player in the country.” Many people have already put Moore in the class of elite players such as Sheryl Swoopes and Leslie, so I asked if Leslie thought that was fair.

“I think it’s fair in the sense of when you look at what she’s doing in college and what we did in college, Maya Moore definitely deserves to be up with the names of best college players to play the game.” She continued “Then you go to the next level and it starts over. The top players rise above everyone else and then it just comes down to longevity — who can stay and win as much as the other ones have done. Records and history are made to be broken and the cycle is supposed to continue and get better.”

Leslie was extremely supportive and the future stars of the game which was no surprise given her seemingly non-existent ego. She even mentioned Baylor star 6’8″ center Brittney Griner as a player she’d love to help.

“I understand what it’s like to be so much taller than your competition. It’s difficult, so there’s certain moves that you should know to use when you’re playing smaller people. There’s certain ways that you need to get the ball, and when, and how — not that she doesn’t know that or her coaches don’t — I just think that I could definitely help her. And not just her — I would love to help post players across the country.”

When asked, Leslie mentioned Skylar Diggins and Courtney Vandersloot as other college players who have impressed her. We also talked about whether or not Lisa knew about recruiting violations while she was in school and whether or not she thinks collegiate players should be paid. Make sure to return to LBS after the weekend to find out her answer, and check out Lisa Leslie on twitter and the Capital One Cup on twitter. Oh yeah, don’t forget to check Larry Brown Sports out on twitter while you’re at it.



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