Alright, Sam Purcell. We see you.
The Mississippi State freshman coach took issue with everyone who overlooked the Bulldogs, even checking them out after his team won their first-four game. Candace Parker, A’ja Wilson, the current President of the United States AND one of her predecessors in the Oval Office…
“You know what was the best part? Those young women in that locker room, they believed in each other. That’s all you can ask for,” Purcell said before the game. “We have fun with people who don’t believe in us, but again, it comes down to those young women in this locker room who believe in each other.”
Well, a lot more people will believe after 11th-seeded Mississippi State gave Creighton, an early-round favorite dark horse, on the first day of the women’s tournament Friday. The Bulldogs made a 3-pointer 18 seconds into the game and never gave up the lead. They had five double-digit players, led by JerKaila Jordan’s 20 points, and made a season-high 11 3-pointers.
It was rare drama on the first day of the women’s tournament, with most of the other matches going down by seed. Defending national champion South Carolina cruised, as did teammate No. 1 Virginia Tech and No. 2 seeds Iowa and Maryland.
Follow the madness: Latest NCAA College Basketball Women’s Tournament Scores and Schedules
Here’s a look at the winners and losers of Friday’s first fixture list:
Princeton is now a basketball school.
The women’s team joined the men in the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 64-63 upset against seventh seed NC State. The Tigers also became the first Ivy League school to make the second round in consecutive years.
It took a crazy ending to get there, though.
Down two with 12 seconds left, Grace Stone landed an incoming pass and immediately called a time out. When play resumed, Stone flew out just behind the 3-point line and made the basket to give Princeton a one-point lead.
NC State got the ball back with four seconds left but couldn’t get a play-off.
Princeton closed the game with a 9-0 run in the final 3:09, with all of their points coming from behind the arc. Stone made two threes during the race and Kaitlyn Chen added another. The two led the Tigers with 22 points apiece.
How to mark? Then you’ll love the Utes, who lead one of the best offenses in women’s basketball. Utah shot 59% from the field en route to hooking 103 points on Gardner-Webb. They were led by Pac-12 Player of the Year Alyssa Pili, a bottom force who scored 33 points (on 12-of-17 shooting), grabbed eight rebounds and provided eight assists. Utah outshot Gardner-Webb 60-26 in the paint. Yes, you read correctly.
The Wildcats had a rough end to the regular season, losing two of their last three before being knocked out of their conference tournament in their opener. Afterwards, coach Adia Barnes, just two years away from appearing in a national title match, said bluntly that she could not play her team with strength or pride.
Obviously, the message got through. Cate Reese scored 25 points, Shaina Pellington scored 18 and Esmery Martinez recorded a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds as Arizona never trailed en route to a 75-62 win.
Irish people don’t need to wallow.
A day after Notre Dame announced Oliva Miles would join Dara Mabrey on the bench for the NCAA Tournament due to a knee injury, the Irish third seed crushed Southern Utah 82-56 . They opened the game with a 16-0 run, and went 13 of 16 in the first quarter, as if to let the rest of the field know, “Yeah, we lost two of our top four scorers. What about?
Maddy Westbeld scored 20 points to lead four in double figures while Lauren Ebo and Cassandre Prosper had 10 rebounds apiece. The Irish also had 24 assists – a not insignificant number considering Miles is Notre Dame’s host. She has 192 assists this year, more than the next three Notre Dame players combined.
“The resilience of this group, the tenacity they’ve shown over the past month, several weeks with our injuries, I’m super proud,” coach Niele Ivey said.
Caitlin Clark and Monica Czinano
The Hawkeyes’ formidable one-two punch — perhaps the best guard post combo in the nation — combined for 48 of their team’s 95 points in the 95-43 rout of Iowa in Southeast Florida. Louisiana. In typical Caitlin Clark fashion, the junior guard also dished out 12 assists and grabbed 7 rebounds, while Czinano herself carried 8 boards.
The duo, who were both named AP All-Americans earlier this week, are singularly focused and determined to get Iowa to the Final Four. Good luck stopping them.
Caroline from the south
A rout of a 16-seeded No. 1 overall and defending national champion would normally be unremarkable. But with its 72-40 win over Norfolk State, South Carolina has now gone a full calendar year undefeated.
The Gamecocks haven’t lost since last year’s SEC Tournament Final. Given their performance against the Spartans, it seems unlikely that their 39-game winning streak will end anytime soon. Although Zia Cooke and Laeticia Amihere were South Carolina’s only two players in double digits, both finishing with 11, the Gamecocks got points from all but two of the 14 players who saw action against the state. of Norfolk.
Seven of those players had six or more points. South Carolina also got 41 points from its bench.
A year ago, Creighton was the darling of the tournament, the plucky underdog toppling Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena en route to the school’s first-ever appearance in the Elite Eight. This year, the Bluejays finished before the end of Day 1, upset by 11th-seeded Mississippi State.
Creighton was never even in this one either. The Bulldogs earned the first tip and knocked down a 3-pointer, a lead they would never relinquish.
Talk about a collapse. After leading South Florida for 38 minutes, the Golden Eagles crumbled at the end of regulation and needed a pair of free throws from Mackenzie Hare with three seconds remaining to force overtime. There were six lead changes in the extra period, and Hare had a decent look at a 3 that would have won it, but he came off the edge and eighth seed South Florida survived, 67 -65.
What a tough end to the season for the Zags, a top-25 team all year. Gonzaga got upset in the WCC Tournament Championship by Portland and was seeded 9. The 8-9 game is supposed to be the most competitive first round game in each region, but instead Gonzaga was kicked out of the gym by Ole Miss, losing 71-48. The Rebels finished the first half on a 17-5 run and didn’t slow down in the second, holding the Zags 29% from the field and 6% (6!)