of basketball. Tonight’s crew is going to have to pull out the stop to match’em. Mechelle sizes up the games.
Every team except Green Bay that will be playing in the second round of the women’s NCAA tournament Tuesday night has previously been to the Sweet 16. Even though for some of them, it has been a long time.
That includes No. 3 seed Miami, which faces sixth-seeded Oklahoma on Tuesday for a trip to the Dayton Regional semifinals.
About last night:
#1 Stanford was pushed in the first, but pulled away in the second behind their sister act to take down the #9 Red Storm, 75-49. Writes Michelle Smith:
Connecticut. Tennessee. Duke. Texas. DePaul. Gonzaga. UCLA. Xavier. Rutgers.
All have been to Maples Pavilion in the last four years. None of them have won.
Now add St. John’s to that list.
The Stanford seniors bade farewell to their beloved home court Monday night in impressive style, as the top-seeded Cardinal overcame an early eight-point deficit to blow past ninth-seeded Red Storm, 75-49.
So it’s time for the final tally: 63-0. Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen walked off the floor for the last time in their careers never having experienced the disappointment of a home-court loss.
#2 Notre Dame took a lead into the half and maintained it through the second half to defeat the #10 Owls, 77-64.
Notre Dame had the impressive NCAA tourney resume.With a dominating inside game Monday night, the Fighting Irish just padded it some more.Their 77-64 victory over Temple advanced the Irish to the regional semifinals for the ninth time, and second in a row.It wasn’t exactly easy as Temple refused to quit, pulling within five points early in the second half and within nine late thanks to a defense that forced 19 turnovers. But when they needed a play, the Irish got it.
Almost a stumble:
It’s not as if #1 Tennessee was totally out of sorts as much as it was that #8 Marquette simply would not stop. Writes Mechelle:
…for a while, it looked like the Golden Eagles just might be able to pull what would have been one of the bigger upsets ever in the women’s NCAA tournament. Not because Marquette isn’t a strong team; the Golden Eagles proved they were. But because Tennessee has been impossible to beat at home in Thompson-Boling Arena in NCAA tournament games.
That record remained intact, but not until after the Orange Nation probably needed to munch on a Tums or two.
It was a tale of halves: the first one went to #6 Penn State, the second to #3 DePaul, as the Blue Demons survived, 75-73. PA native Keisha Hampton’s free throws were the difference. Writes Graham:
The NCAA tournament isn’t sentimental. It’s thrilling precisely because it’s ruthless, an unfeeling entity that exists not to reward the valiant or the deserving but simply the team that scores more points.
If you want a happy ending, you have to go out and write it yourself. And DePaul junior Keisha Hampton wrote one for her seniors Monday night.
#2 Duke was down, then up, then survived as Marist gave’em all they could handle, even after losing their best player to an ankle injury. From DWHoops.com:
Incredibly, Marist’s resolve hardened even further when their star guard Erica Allenspach when down with an injury and did not return. The Red Foxes pushed the lead to 11 on a couple of occasions and still led by 6 late in the game, but Chelsea “The Closer” Gray led the late charge, along with key baskets from Jasmine & Krystal Thomas. The mantra from the players after the game was simply “Survive and advance”. Duke played poorly for much of the game but their experience, toughness and resolve allowed them to ultimately prevail.
#5 Georgia Tech had a slim halftime lead over #4 Ohio State, but Lavender said, “Nope.” (Um, AP editor? How do you let someone get away with a sentence like this: “MaChelle Joseph said when Lavender got untracked, the game shifted.”
“She is the best post player in the country, and one of the top three players,” Joseph said. “She was aggressive in the second half. In the first half, she was a little passive, setting picks outside away from the basket. But then they started getting the ball to her on the block.”
The Trip Ups
#5 North Carolina was up on #4 Kentucky by 10 at the half and won by 12. I don’t know that I’m surprise the Wildcats fell, but I’m slightly surprised it was the Tar Heels who took’em down.
“We just haven’t had a game like that that our team just wouldn’t go to the boards,” Mitchell said. “We just got caught standing in the middle. So we wouldn’t go rebound, jogging back, it was a real uncharacteristic game for us. That’s why I’m so disappointed I could not get the team motivated to play North Carolina.”I thought it was a very pathetic performance in transition. When you let North Carolina get out and go 3-on-1 and you’re just jogging back; lights out, you’re done. It was one of the most disappointing performances I’ve ever seen from our team here at Kentucky.”
The Bruins were up by three over the Bulldogs, but Standish and Vandersloot put down the hammer and pushed #11 Gonzaga to a 89-75 win over #3 UCLA. (Vandersloot became the first player in Division I history — men or women — to record 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in her career.) Write Mechelle:
…no one can argue that Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves has built a terrific program in Spokane, and Vandersloot has been the centerpiece. The senior guard was sensational Monday: 29 points, 17 assists, 7 rebounds, 5 steals. During the game, she scored the 2,000th point of her career. Are you watching, WNBA scouts?
And it’s not too often that a player could score 30 points and be overshadowed by her teammate, but Gonzaga’s Kayla Standish was. Not that she minded.
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