The N.C.A.A. ladies’s basketball event started on Friday with a romp by a crew not used to being a mere No. 2 seed, and a scare for a No. 2 seed that just about yielded the first-ever victory for a No. 15 seed.
Napheesa Collier scored 23 factors and Connecticut, which was final decrease than a No. 1 seed in 2006, rolled to a 110-61 rout of 15th-seeded Towson in Storrs.
The freshman Christyn Williams scored 21 factors and Crystal Dangerfield added 20 for the Huskies (32-2), which had 5 gamers in double figures and scored greater than 100 factors for the fourth time this season.
“The difference in this year is that we know, even if we play our best game, we can lose,” UConn Coach Geno Auriemma mentioned. “We just don’t have enough pieces, which is O.K. Because then the goal becomes, let’s see how close we can come to playing a great game and then take our chances, because the other team still has to play great, and there is no guarantee of that.”
UConn has received 26 straight first-round video games by a mean of virtually 50 factors since a loss to Louisville in 1993. The Cardinals and the Huskies have a likelihood of assembly this season within the Albany Region remaining.
Kionna Jeter had 20 factors for Towson (20-13), which was making its first event look.
Iowa, the second seed within the Greensboro Region, had a a lot harder time, holding on for a 66-61 victory towards Mercer in Iowa City.
“We personally liked our seed; we didn’t love our opponent,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder mentioned of Mercer (25-Eight), which had received 17 in a row. “We played against somebody that was much more difficult than a 15 seed. Everybody can recognize and understand that.”
Marquette, a fifth seed, was pushed towards 12th-seeded Rice, however prevailed in extra time, 58-54, within the Chicago Region in College Station, Tex.
The Golden Eagles (27-7), who’re within the event for the third straight season, overcame a 9-point deficit within the fourth quarter to drive extra time towards the Owls (28-Four), who had received 21 in a row.
“No matter what the score is, how much time is left, we’re going to give it our all,” mentioned Natisha Hiedeman, who made two free throws with 1.Three seconds remaining to safe the victory.
Missouri, a No. 7 seed, was additionally taken to extra time. The Tigers received previous 10th-seeded Drake, 77-76 in a Greensboro Region sport in Iowa City, the place they are going to face Iowa.
Fifth-seeded Florida State (24-Eight) averted extra time, overcoming a Four-point deficit within the fourth quarter after which holding on for a 70-67 victory towards 12th-seeded Bucknell (28-6) in a Greensboro Region matchup in Charlotte, N.C. Bucknell virtually tied it, however Kaitlyn Slagus and Kyi English missed Three-pointers on a frantic remaining possession.
Things weren’t practically as tense for different higher-seeded winners. Louisville, the highest seed within the Albany Region, had been short-handed however not challenged in a 69-34 rout of No. 16 Robert Morris. South Carolina, the No. Four seed within the Greensboro Region, took care of No. 13 Belmont, 74-52 after a sluggish begin. Texas A&M, the No. Four seed within the Chicago Region, received by 84-61 towards Wright State behind 27 factors from Chennedy Carter. Fifth-seeded Arizona State beat No. 12 Central Florida, 60-45, within the Portland Region. And eighth-seeded Michigan rolled over No. 9 Kansas State, 84-54, within the Albany Region.
Another No. Eight seed, South Dakota, misplaced to No. 9 Clemson, 79-66, within the Portland Region behind 27 factors from Simone Westbrook.
Falling Short of a First
With 51 seconds left and Mercer trailing, 66-61, KeKe Calloway had an open have a look at the basket from about 18 ft. The ball bounced off the rim and hung within the air earlier than it fell into the fingers of Megan Gustafson, who had 30 factors and 16 rebounds for Iowa (27-6).
Calloway scored 21 factors and Amanda Thompson had 18 for Mercer. But in the long run, the Bears ended up being the 101st No. 15 seed to lose within the event.
“It’s disappointing with the outcome,” Mercer Coach Susie Gardner mentioned. “Our guys kept bouncing back. We had opportunities. We never went away.”
No Coach, No Problem
Louisville didn’t want its coach or its place to begin guard to roll at house. And with Robert Morris lacking pictures for a lot of the primary half, the Cardinals didn’t really want that many baskets, both.
Asia Durr and Sam Fuehring every had 19 factors, and Louisville (30-Three) scored 27 straight factors within the first half to overwhelm the Colonials (22-11).
The Cardinals rolled regardless of the absences of Coach Jeff Walz — who sat out a one-game suspension for a profane sideline tirade throughout final 12 months’s Final Four — and the injured level guard Arica Carter. They led, 32-Four, early within the second quarter by holding Robert Morris scoreless for practically 15 minutes.
“There was no pressure at all,” mentioned Durr, who was 6 of 12 from the sphere with three Three-pointers. “We have to coach ourselves. We did a great job of playing as a team.”
Worst Time for a Foul
Jordan Roundtree received it for Missouri (24-10) with a free throw after being fouled with 1.1 seconds left in extra time whereas placing up a desperation Three-point shot.
The Tigers discovered Amber Smith open beneath for a 76-74 lead on a jumper with 20.Eight seconds left. Maddy Dean pulled Drake (27-7) even on the line, however the Bulldogs star Becca Hittner hit Roundtree’s taking pictures hand on the following possession. She missed the primary free throw, hit the second and missed the third.
Drake received the rebound and after two timeouts, miraculously received Hittner — a 40 % shooter from past the arc — a wide-open have a look at a Three. But the shot bounced off the again of the iron.
Two different No. 7 seeds weren’t as lucky as Missouri. Rutgers (22-10) was crushed, 82-71, by Buffalo (24-9) in Storrs, and Texas (20-13) fell by 69-65 towards Indiana (21-12) in a Portland Region opener in Eugene, Ore.
New house for a Two-Time Champ
Courtney Ekmark has two N.C.A.A. championship rings from her time at Connecticut. Clearly, she is aware of the best way to win at the moment of 12 months.
Ekmark scored 15 of her game-high 20 factors within the second half to steer Arizona State (21-10) previous Central Florida (26-7) in Coral Gables, Fla.
“She has probably been the most closely guarded player that I’ve ever coached in 30 years of coaching,” Sun Devils Coach Charli Turner Thorne mentioned of Ekmark, who left UConn after two seasons to return to her house state. He added, “When she heard we were facing a zone, she went, ‘Yes!’ ”
Food for Thought
On the eve of her crew’s first N.C.A.A. event sport ever, Bethune-Cookman Coach Vanessa Blair-Lewis summed up the duty the Lady Wildcats face on Saturday towards top-seeded Notre Dame, the defending nationwide champion, in South Bend, Ind.
“Notre Dame has about eight McDonald’s All-Americans,” Blair-Lewis mentioned she informed her crew earlier than it left Florida. “We have about eight players who like to eat at McDonald’s.”
The Lady Wildcats (21-10), who earned the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference computerized berth by profitable 10 of their final 11, face Muffet McGraw’s Fighting Irish (30-Three), who’ve averaged 96 factors in profitable its final 9.
“We know we have a daunting task ahead of us, but we’ve been the underdogs all year,” Blair-Lewis mentioned of getting six gamers miss time for numerous accidents, together with 5 knee operations.
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