Third seed Ohio State outlasted second seed Connecticut to advance to the eighth round, taking the game early and unofficially ending UConn’s long streak of reaching the final weekend of the NCAA Women’s Tournament.
Ohio State won 73-61, stopping the Huskies from reaching the last eight for the first time since 2005 and the Final Four for the first time since 2007, a streak that has six national championships, including four straight from 2013 to 2016.
The Buckeyes took control in the second quarter with a crucial run that started when they were trailing by 8 points at halftime.
They found their flow with a pressing defense crowd that forced a flurry of turnovers and racked up 17 points. Perhaps more surprising than Ohio State scoring this stretch was their ability to hold the Huskies without even a field goal. attempt For nearly five minutes to start the second quarter.
“We lost our balance and we lost our balance a little bit, and I don’t think we ever got it back,” said longtime UConn coach Gino Auriemma after the game.
UConn turned the ball over on eight straight possessions early in the second quarter, and watched one of their most important players get hurt.
Lou Lopez Senechal, a transfer from Fairfield who took over a leadership role when Paige Bueckers lost for the season with a knee injury, left the court limping after collapsing to the floor with pain in her right knee while trying to set up a play. Sénéchal said she knew this might be one of her last collegiate matches and was adamant she got back on the court for the second half. “I just tried to push back and not really think about it,” she said. She led the Huskies with 25 points.
UConn forward Alia Edwards, the team’s leading scorer this season, was also benched on key stretches due to a bad tackle. She was hung on just 4 points – on just four shots.
Ohio State, led by Coty McMahon’s 23 points, held off several pushes from UConn, mostly by maintaining an aggressive defense.
“I said, ‘The key is going to be our ability to disrupt them,’” Ohio State coach Kevin McGough said. “We were definitely effective.”
Concern over the UConn bench built in the fourth quarter as Ohio State players tried to keep their cool. The Buckeyes played with the confidence of a team that knew its strengths, and with the hunger of an underdog facing a program that was a dynasty.
“UConn is a great program and they’ve had a great team this year, but we went into this game expecting to win,” said Jesse Sheldon, who scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Ohio State. “I think obviously that alone builds our confidence a lot.”
With 90 seconds left, Ohio State slowed the pace as some players off the UConn bench struggled to see their season end below expectations.
Ohio State has appeared in the Round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament twice in a row. This was UConn’s 29th consecutive appearance. “It’s impossible to do what we’re already doing,” said Orima.
The streak was going to break at some point. But this was of little comfort to the burly individuals.
“We knew they weren’t going to give up and they weren’t going to just put up their hand and see we’re UConn and kind of be ashamed of it,” said UConn’s Dorka Johasz.
The last time Ohio State advanced to the eighth round was in 1993, when it reached the championship game and lost to Texas Tech.
Last season, UConn lost the championship game to South Carolina. The Huskies have not won the title since 2016.
Ohio State will face Virginia Tech in the eighth round on Monday. Talia Mensburg
No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic heads into the Final Four.
Prior to this season, Florida Atlantic University had not won a single game in the NCAA Men’s Tournament.
Now the Owls have won four in a row and are heading to the Final Four in Houston.
Backed by a group of passionate fans, many of whom made the trip from Boca Raton, Florida, the ninth-ranked Owls showed no fear on the biggest stages and won their eleventh straight game, 79-76, over No. 3 seed Kansas State in the East Regional Final. At Madison Square Garden.
Second guard Alija Martin had 17 points, while second guard Jonelle Davis had 13 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
7-foot-1 Nalchik sophomore Vladislav Goldin was dominant in the paint with 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Michael Forest hit four foul shots in the final seconds.
FAU’s final loss came on February 16, against Middle Tennessee, before they finished the season by winning the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles. Its only previous appearance in the NCAA Tournament came in 2002, when it lost as a No. 15 seed to Alabama in the first round.
FAU now beat No. 8 seed Memphis, No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson, No. 4 seed Tennessee and No. 3 seed Kansas State. The Owls will face the winner of the Creighton-San Diego State game on Sunday in the National Semifinals on April 1 in Houston.
“It’s our dream to be here,” Martin said before the game. He delivered an emphatic highlight reel in the first half.
Trailing 63-57, FAU scored 10 straight points as Kansas State was held cold for about five minutes on a 3-pointer bank shot by Markquis Nowell, the stylish Wildcats guard who once again put on a show in his hometown.
After Noel hit Nae’Qwan Tomlin for a layup to cut it to 77-76 with 8.6 seconds left, Forrest hit two killer shots to put it up by 3 points.
Kansas State’s Ismail Masood couldn’t get a chance as time expired, and the Owls and their fans celebrated.
The Owls outscored the Wildcats, 44-22, thanks in large part to Goldin.
Since 2018, FAU has been coached by Dusty May, a 46-year-old Indiana alumnus who served as student director under Bob Knight from 1996 to 2000.
May has never had a losing season at FAU, and in January, the Owls entered the Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time in program history.
“It’s great to have real college sports, that didn’t exist before,” said Brian Schmeier, an FAU fan who lives in Boca Raton and attended the game with several family members.
FAU’s win ended the streak for Noel, who grew up in Harlem, and his Wildcat teammates. Kansas State beat Montana, Kentucky, and Michigan to reach the last eight.
Noel scored 30 points and 12 assists in the game after compiling an NCAA Tournament high of 20 points and 19 assists in Thursday’s win over Michigan State. Adam Zagoria
South Carolina beat UCLA to keep their undefeated streak alive.
GREENVILLE, South Carolina — The University of California, Los Angeles, Women’s Regional Semifinal against South Carolina kicked off the defensive strategy nearly every team has tried this season against the undefeated Gamecocks. Sitting in zone defense, the Bruins dropped their guards below the free throw line to help defend against the towering South Carolina forwards.
South Carolina struggled, shooting just 38 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range, but UCLA couldn’t turn the reigning champion’s mistakes into points, falling 59-43 to send the Gamecocks to the eighth round.
South Carolina took advantage of the chances of the second opportunity and beat the Bruins offense, and its star forward Alia Boston took the lead, with 8 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks.
The Gamecocks’ size difference was evident throughout, as South Carolina bullied the smaller Bruins into the paint, often bringing them down. One of the most notable plays in the game came when Camila Cardoso made a 6-foot-7 chase and hit An attempted punt by UCLA guard Londynn Jones, which knocked Jones to the ground.
“We always talk about we don’t want to get involved, like don’t go out on the floor and let any team beat us,” said Boston. “So I don’t think we view ourselves as bullies, I think we’re just playing our game and that’s just being dominant.”
South Carolina guard Zia Cooke added that the team had too many nice players to be considered bullies.
“We have a lot of cheat codes on our team,” she said. After listing each player’s specialties, she added, “Everyone has super strength. It’s a blessing to have it.”
During the first three games from this common area at Bon Secours Wellness Arena, on Friday and Saturday, a few fans filled only the sections near the middle area, with most of the arena remaining empty. That changed on Saturday afternoon. Just as the Maryland-Notre Dame game was about to end and the South Carolina game was set to begin, fans in garnet jerseys swarmed the arena. They screamed with their team’s every score and booed anything for fourth-ranked UCLA.
The arena is considered a neutral regional site by the NCAA, but it effectively serves as the home game for South Carolina, the tournament’s No. 1 seed. UCLA head coach Corey Close acknowledged the damage done before the game but said the regional spots were “important to continue growing our sport.”
“Look how many upsets we had on the local courts in the first two rounds,” she said. “The bottom line is you have to play your best basketball, you have to be a strong team, you have to team together, you have to find ways to win.”
Cook said she does not believe the regional format is unfair and that South Carolina deserves to play in front of the fan base that coach Don Staley has built.
UCLA looked poised to threaten South Carolina’s quest for a second straight title. When the teams played in November, the Gamecocks overcame a 10-point halftime deficit and ended up winning by 9 points. After the game, South Carolina coach Don Staley told Close that they would see each other again.
Staley’s words were prescient, but this match has never been so close. South Carolina proved why they were the best team in Division I all season, with the height and fitness to overwhelm UCLA
South Carolina plays Maryland on Monday. – Chris Rimm
Diamond Miller leads Maryland to the eighth round.
GREENVILLE, South Carolina – When Notre Dame and Maryland matched up in December, the game quickly turned into a Diamond Miller show. Miller, a 6-foot-3 guard, scored her 31st point on an A.J Winner of the deceptive one-legged bird. She ran around the Notre Dame home court with her index finger to her lips to silence the crowd.
On Saturday, in the NCAA Women’s Round of 16, Notre Dame seemed intent on shutting down Miller’s bid. The Fighting Irish—sometimes a trio—teamed Miller when she got the ball in position.
But Notre Dame’s strategy to stop Miller at all costs left room for other players, who took advantage of the open look and kept the game close while Miller struggled. In the second half, Miller finally got into a groove, and second seed Maryland upset third seed Notre Dame, 76-59. Maryland will advance to its first quarterfinal game since 2015. Miller and guard Sean Sellers led all scorers with 18 points each.
“I felt like they were daring me to shoot,” said Maryland guard Lavender Briggs, who scored 12 points.
Notre Dame threw the first token hit of the game. Down by 5, the Fighting Irish scored 13 straight points in the second quarter, neutralizing Miller and leading Maryland’s half-court offense to forced shots and fumbled passes that resulted in turnovers.
But in the second half, Miller got away. And Maryland responded with a big third quarter, courtesy of Miller and Sellers. Maryland cruised at four.
Despite the eight-year drought, the eighth round is familiar to Maryland and its coach, Brenda Friese. Since it began in 2002, Maryland has been among the top teams in college basketball. The Terrapins have reached the eighth round six times and won the program’s only national title in 2006. – Chris Rimm
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