“We became tougher [throughout the season].” Foster said. “We did not start this game well, and we did not play well for a long time, and [Mercer] played very well. But when we made a basket or two and changed defenses, it energized us. You could see it, and you feel it. The baskets started to come after that.”
Again, nope: Dayton let the Dukes have their fun in the first, but came on strong in the last three quarters to seal their spot in the NCAAs, 70-56. Again, can’t state enough how impressive this season has been for the program – both the players and coaching staff (Graham? Where’s your pen at?).
Dayton junior Jenna Burdette stood near midcourt and raised her arms, and the Flyers bench went crazy as Kelley Austria hit a 3-pointer with 3:18 left to give her team a 66-52 lead.
The top-seeded Flyers, who trailed by nine points in the first quarter, toughened up their defense after that and defeated No. 7 seed Duquesne 70-56 on Sunday before 3,166 fans at the Richmond Coliseum to clinch a berth in the NCAA tournament.
“I felt like that was the dagger. I’m really glad it was Kelley,” said Burdette, named the tournament Most Valuable Player.
Again, nope, that’s not yours (yet). Maine (9-7) stunned New Hampshire (15-1) 61-52, denying the Wildcats an opportunity to go to the Dance. Shout out to the Black Bears, who’ve had some coaching absences this season. The America East Finals is a case of deja vu all over again, as the Albany Great Danes earned that right by escaping Hartford, 67-65.
More noping (and hoping coach Carey brought enough clean shirts. Shout out to the Old Big East!) as West Virginia clawed back to take down the #12 Longhorns, 62-59. Fair warning to Baylor: Mountaineer band plans for distractions ahead of championship game. And good news for WVa and the brackets.
Been there. Done that. And now they’ve done it again.
But unlike last season, when they upset IUPUI in their Summit League tournament debut, the UNO women were all business after knocking off South Dakota 64-58 in Sunday’s conference quarterfinals.
Maverick coach Brittany Lange said she could tell immediately that her team was here for more.
“There was one person in the locker room celebration that acted like they hadn’t been there before, and it was me because I was so excited,” she said. “I saw the girls. They were so happy, but they were ready for the next. … They’re not selling themselves short. They’re ready to be focused for tomorrow.”
Rider unleashed the hounds in the fourth, outscoring Fairfield 24-8 in the fourth quarter (let’s not talk about the first three, shall we?) The MAAC finals will feature the two top teams in the league as Broncs will face off against Quinnipiac, who shook off Iona, 64-59.
Yes, both these winners and losers are going to the NCAA, but some of the games sure lacked for (offensive) style points.
With senior center Alaina Coates sidelined with an ankle injury, and junior forward A’ja Wilson battling the Bulldogs’ 6-foot-7 post Teaira McCowan, South Carolina needed someone else — along with Wilson — to have a huge performance. They got it from Davis.
“With Alaina out, we have to compensate and fill that hole,” said Davis, who had 23 points, five rebounds and three assists in a 59-49 victory over the Bulldogs.
(And no, Nell, you shouldn’t done a South Carolina/SEC champs on television. Love ya, but give at least the illusion of net-neutrality.)
Up by 10 after the first quarter, Oregon State couldn’t hold back the stubborn Cardinal. Stanford wins, 48-43, denying the Beavers a second straight Pac12 title. Got a great couple of quotes out of the game:
“It’s super satisfying,” Erica McCall said. “It’s like tasting your favorite candy.”
And from Tara:
“It wasn’t pretty, but it was gritty.”
“It’s the kind of thing you don’t really appreciate in the moment, but dang four straight years, we’ve done pretty well,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said.
Slow and steady won the race: #4 Maryland inched their way to victory over a persistent Purdue team, 74-64. Brionna Jones was spectacular (27 points/12 rebounds), but it’s interesting to note the shooting percentages: Terps 51%, Boilermakers 38%. How was this only a 10pt win? Maryland wins their third straight Big 10 title:
“They’re all indescribable,” coach Brenda Frese said 45 minutes after claiming the Big Ten’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. “What it means is we continue to take championships back home. I know they make it look easy, but it’s not.
Milwaukee v. Horizon, 1pm EST, ESPN3
San Francisco v. Gonzaga, 3pm EST
St. Mary’s v.BYU, 5pm EST
South Dakota State v. IUPUI, 3:30
Omaha v. Western Illinois, 1pmEST
Green Bay v. Milwaukee, 1PM ESPNU
Detroit Mercy v. Wright State, 3:30, ESPN3
Rider v. Quinnipiac, 5:00, ESPNU
Big East Semi-Finals:
Marquette v #23 Creighton, 4:00, FS1
St. John’s v. #17 DePaul, 6:30, FS1
FSU v. #1 UConn, 7:00, ESPN2
Big 12 Final:
West Virginia v. #2 Baylor, FS1