Haynie does one thing really well: win
Editor's note: Before the games tip off, ESPN's Beth Mowins takes a look at one player to watch from each of the No. 1 seeds. Here, she focuses on Michigan State's Kristin Haynie.
As the senior was dribbling the ball up court during a heated moment, she passed by the Spartans' bench and said to Joanne P. McCallie, "Coach, sit down and relax, I've got this under control."
Haynie certainly did have things under control that day, scoring 11 points, grabbing seven rebounds and turning the ball over just once against the Huskies.
Her leadership is a big reason MSU has risen to unprecedented heights this year. Haynie just wins. The UConn victory is just one of 10 wins over ranked opponents this season, the most in the nation. Her numbers won't impress you because she doesn't have to score. She prefers to run the team and distribute the ball. She can create a shot for herself or for her teammates.
Haynie's success coincides with the ascension of the Spartans to a national championship contender. She is a member of the winningest class in Michigan State history and the Spartans' current 12-game win streak -- part of a 28-win season -- and the program's highest ranking ever are all part of Haynie's handiwork.
Haynie's legend was crystallized in East Lansing on Feb. 20 when her late free throws sealed a victory over Ohio State before a record crowd of more than 14,000 people.
She is MSU's all-time leader in steals and assists and is responsible for helping three of her teammates join her in the 1,000-point club. Her legacy includes 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 300 steals. Only three other players in Big Ten history have posted those numbers (Ohio State's Yvette Angel, Purdue's Katie Douglas and Wisconsin's Tamara Moore).
Haynie credits some of her success to a soccer background, claiming it helped her develop better vision and anticipation, skills that she can also use on the basketball court. Now she wants to get her kicks in the NCAA Tournament.
And it certainly appears Haynie has got it all under control.
Beth Mowins is a regular contributor to ESPN.com's women's basketball coverage.