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Day 3 of the 2019 women’s NCAA tournament is underway, and we’re compiling some of the top results, sights and sounds of the day.
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Mississippi State, Oregon, Connecticut, Iowa, Louisville, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Arizona State advanced to the Sweet 16.
And be sure to check out our additional coverage from Sunday:
+ A triple-double for Ionescu, a Sweet 16 for Oregon
+ UConn tested, but survives Buffalo
+ Megan Gustafson double-double delivers Iowa to Sweet 16
+ Senior trio helps send Louisville to Sweet 16
No. 1 seed Mississippi State 85, No. 9 Clemson 61
Sunday started with Louisville’s victorious home-court farewell to its most successful senior class, and it ended with Mississippi State doing the same. The Bulldogs, led by senior center Teaira McCowan, definitely got some resistance from Clemson, which was appearing in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002. But in the end, Mississippi State was just too strong.
McCowan was unstoppable, finishing with 30 points, 11 rebounds and 6 blocked shots, while going 14-of-17 from the field. The other senior who spent her whole career at Mississippi State, Jazzmun Holmes, had team highs with seven assists and four steals.
The two seniors who are transfers were also celebrated by the home crowd in Starkville. Jordan Danberry, who started her career at Arkansas, had 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting. And Anriel Howard, a graduate transfer from Texas A&M, has made the most of her lone season at Mississippi State. She had 21 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Now the Bulldogs head to the Portland Regional, where they will attempt to advance to the Women’s Final Four for the third year in a row. — Mechelle Voepel
Robbi Ryan steals the inbounds pass and hits both free throws to give Arizona State the 57-55 victory vs. Miami.
No. 5 Arizona State 57, No. 4 Miami 55
The Sun Devils had by far the longest trip to this early-round site at Miami; they were the only non-Florida team there along with the host Hurricanes, UCF and Florida Gulf Coast. But guess who is leaving with the Sweet 16 berth?
UConn’s Huskies stormed out of the gate, scoring the game’s first 15 points, but had to hold on for their closest second-round win since 1999.
Iowa senior center Megan Gustafson had never won an NCAA tournament game before this weekend. Now she and the Hawkeyes are headed to the Sweet 16.
In their final game on their home court, Asia Durr, Sam Fuehring and Arica Carter led Louisville past Michigan and into the Albany Regional semis.
Arizona State’s Robbi Ryan got a key steal with 8 seconds left and the score tied 55-55 with Miami inbounding at its end of the court. Ryan was fouled and hit both free throws. Miami still had a chance to win, but Emese Hof’s shot rolled off the rim. Hof and fellow post Beatrice Mompremier struggled all night, combining for just 12 points on 5-of-17 shooting.
The Sun Devils are making their first regional semifinal appearance since 2015; they have never advanced beyond the Elite Eight. They know how Miami feels in losing a second-round game at home, as the same thing happened to Arizona State against Tennessee in 2016. Then in 2017, the Sun Devils nearly upset South Carolina on the Gamecocks’ home court in the second round, losing 71-68. South Carolina went on to win the NCAA title that year.
Last season, Arizona State fell in the second round at Texas. And having to travel so far this year, the Sun Devils weren’t the favorites to move on. But they’re doing exactly that, while Miami ends its season in disappointment again. The Hurricanes lost in the NCAA early rounds for the fifth year in a row. — Mechelle Voepel
Sabrina Ionescu continues to increase her career-leading triple-double total with 29 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in Oregon’s win.
No. 2 Oregon 91, No. 10 Indiana 68
When Oregon is at its best, Sabrina Ionescu is controlling the game. Ionescu is at her best when she’s recording a triple-double. She did it for the 18th time in her career on Sunday, as Oregon moved on to the Sweet 16.
Ionescu’s 29 points were the most in a triple-double in NCAA tournament history. She also had 12 assists and 10 rebounds for her eighth triple-double of the season. Both her career and season triple-double totals are an NCAA record for both men and women. She also joined Stanford’s Nicole Powell as the only players in tournament history with multiple triple-doubles. Ionescu recorded one in the first round last year against Seattle.
Ionescu also made 5 of 9 attempts from 3-point range, and the Ducks, the nation’s leader in 3-point accuracy at 42 percent, made 13 of 29 as a team. Erin Boley had four of those and finished with 14 points, and Satou Sabally had 19 points and eight rebounds for Oregon, which will be in the Sweet 16 for the third straight year. The Ducks made the Elite Eight the past two seasons.
UConn’s Katie Lou Samuelson gets the offensive rebound then absorbs the contact to finish the tough jumper.
No. 2 UConn 84, No. 10 Buffalo 72
In her final game in Storrs, Connecticut, Napheesa Collier had 27 points, 16 rebounds and 8 assists, her fifth straight 20-10 game, as UConn survived its closest game in the second round in 20 years.
After jumping out to a 15-0 lead, the Huskies were pushed the rest of the game by the Bulls, the MAC tournament champions. Buffalo collected 25 offensive rebounds and forced 14 UConn turnovers, five in the final quarter when the Bulls got as close as eight.
Collier, who was brilliant the entire game, made 12 of her 15 field goal attempts. The rest of the Huskies combined to shoot just 35.4 percent for the game. Katie Lou Samuelson, playing in her second game back after missing four with back spasms, had 17 points and nine rebounds. Christyn Williams also had 17 points.
Cierra Dillard, the second-leading scorer in the country, had 29 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists for the Bulls, who were playing in their third straight NCAA tournament. They reached the Sweet 16 a year ago.
The last time the Huskies had a game this close in the second round was 1999, when they beat Xavier 86-84. — Charlie Creme
Chennedy Carter drives and kicks to Shambria Washington, who nails the go-ahead 3 in Texas A&M’s win over Marquette.
No. 4 Texas A&M 78, No. 5 Marquette 76
Chennedy Carter is known as a scorer, but it was her passing and defense that delivered two key plays in Texas A&M’s win.
In a game that neither team led by more than three points in the final 8:44, Carter’s cross-court pass that set up Shambria Washington’s 3-pointer was the difference. With Marquette leading 76-74, Carter drove to the right side of the lane. As the defense collapsed on her, Carter fired a right-handed pass to a wide-open Washington in the left corner. The junior college transfer’s third 3-pointer of the game gave the Aggies a one-point lead. On the Golden Eagles’ ensuing possession Carter stepped in front of an inbounds pass for a steal with eight seconds left that eliminated Marquette’s final chance to win.
Carter scored a game-high 30 points and Washington had 13. They combined to shoot 7-of-12 from beyond the arc. Carter also had nine rebounds and five assists.
Marquette, which now says goodbye to six seniors who represented the winningest group in program history, was led by Natisha Hiedeman’s 18 points. Two other seniors, Danielle King and Allazia Blockton, each had 15. Hiedeman and Blockton are the past two Big East Player of the Year award winners. — Charlie Creme
Tyasha Harris drives the land and flips up a shot for the and-1, extending South Carolina’s lead as the Gamecocks reach the Sweet 16.
No. 4 South Carolina 72, No. 5 Florida State 64
South Carolina’s post players did most of the damage to beat Florida State, but guard Tyasha Harris made the game’s biggest play. Her three-point play on a drive to the basket with 27 seconds left gave the Gamecocks a four-point cushion and propelled them to the Sweet 16 for the sixth year in a row.
Forward KiKi Herbert Harrigan, who played only 10 minutes in Friday’s first-round win over Belmont, came off the bench to lead South Carolina with 20 points. Senior center Alexis Jennings had 16 points.
The Gamecocks couldn’t put the game away despite outshooting Florida State, committing fewer turnovers and getting to the free throw line more than twice as much. The Seminoles were relentless on the glass, a staple of the program under coach Sue Semrau. Florida State worked its way to 27 offensive rebounds and 76 field goal attempts. But the Seminoles couldn’t convert. Florida State, which shot just 41.1 percent from the field on the season and ranked 305th in the country in 3-point percentage, made 35.5 percent of its field goals Sunday and connected on 3 of 14 attempts from 3-point range.
Jennings and Herbert Harrigan got good looks most of the game and combined to shoot 13-of-23 from the field. They also helped put Florida State, playing with just eight players and no seniors, in minor foul trouble. South Carolina made 20 of 24 free throws to the Seminoles’ 7-for-11. Point guard Nicki Ekhomu led Florida State with 19 points. — Charlie Creme
Asia Durr threads the needle between three Michigan defenders with a beautiful no-look, over-the-shoulder pass to Jazmine Jones, who scores two.
No. 1 Louisville 71, No. 8 Michigan 50
With a 38-26 lead at halftime, Louisville didn’t look back. Louisville was even better defensively in the third quarter, holding Michigan to just six points. The Wolverines dominated their NCAA tournament opener, 84-54 against Kansas State. But Michigan, which will return young stars like Naz Hillmon next season, looked like a different team against Louisville. The Cardinals have that effect on teams, especially when they are clicking on both ends of the court.
Asia Durr, the two-time ACC Player of the Year and an espnW first-team All-American, led the Cardinals with 24 points. Sam Fuehring, who injured her ankle in the ACC final, went 4-of-5 from the field for 10 points after going 9-of-9 for 19 in the opener. Arica Carter struggled with her shot after being out two weeks, going 1-of-8 for two points, but she had seven rebounds and helped bring the energy that Louisville relies on.
Louisville has just one goal left to attain: win a national championship. The Cardinals took one more step toward that Sunday. — Mechelle Voepel
Megan Gustafson spins to create space and scores a turnaround jumper against an Iowa triple team.
No. 2 Iowa 68, No. 7 Missouri 52
The Hawkeyes don’t have much of a bench, but it didn’t matter Sunday. They had more than enough from their starting five, who scored all their points. And that wasn’t just star Megan Gustafson, who had 24 points. Guards Makenzie Meyer and Kathleen Doyle combined for 33 points. And senior point guard Tania Davis, who had her sophomore and junior seasons cut short by ACL injuries, had seven points and six assists.
Meanwhile, Missouri says goodbye to seniors Sophie Cunningham, Cierra Porter and Lauren Aldridge. The Tigers will bring back junior guard Amber Smith, who led them in scoring (21) and rebounding (nine) Sunday. And their incoming recruiting class has three players who — like Cunningham, Porter and Aldridge — are all from the state of Missouri. That includes 6-foot guard Aijha Blackwell, who is ranked No. 8 overall in the Class of 2019 by espnW HoopGurlz. — Mechelle Voepel
Seniors say farewell after final home games
Thank you Card Nation for these 4 amazing years in the Yum Center. Y’all are unbelievable 🙏🏽❤️ pic.twitter.com/tzYXHCVIP8
— Asia Durr (@A_Hooper25) March 24, 2019
Carver was ELECTRIC today. Huge S/Oto all the fans that were loud the entire 4th quarter. You guys are greatly appreciated. I’ve never been apart of an environment like that and to be able to leave carver the way that this senior class did is nothing short of amazing. THANK YOU!
— Tania Davis (@_1LilT) March 24, 2019
From the ESPN studio
Maria Taylor, Rebecca Lobo and Andy Landers react to Tennessee player Evina Westbrook’s comments suggesting the need for a coaching change.
What you missed Saturday
+ Roundtable: What’s next for Tennessee and predictions for Sunday
+ Tennessee’s disappointing season ends in another first-round exit
+ Missouri State upsets No. 6 seed DePaul
+ Notre Dame’s dominating debut