NCAA Women’s Tournament: Creighton upsets Iowa State in Round of 16

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GREENSBORO, NC — Creighton beat a No. 6 seed, Colorado. It beat second-seeded Iowa. Now he has become the rare No. 10 seed to reach the knockout stages.

Creighton delivered her third straight upset by beating No. 4 seed Iowa State, 76-68, Friday night in the NCAA Women’s Tournament. The Bluejays will face South Carolina on Sunday for a spot in the Final Four.

Iowa State left path after path open for Creighton, and the Bluejays’ young, spirited offense moved straight in. On defense, Creighton declined inside baskets for Iowa State.

It was already Creighton’s first trip to the Round of 16 in program history. Creighton was one of two No. 10 seeds still on the court in the Round of 16 after an upset win over second-seeded Iowa in the second round. The other No. 10 seed, South Dakota, takes on No. 3 Michigan on Saturday in the Wichita area.

The Cyclones and Bluejays relied heavily on their outside shooters: Together, the two teams attempted 50 3-point shots.

Creighton pulled away in the third quarter and led up to 13 points in the fourth. Guard Morgan Maly led the Bluejays with 21 points.

Ashley Joens, a senior guard at Iowa State who was an all-American second team, was out for much of the first half after committing two fouls. Emily Ryan instead led the Cyclones with 22 points.

The Bluejays let the clock tick down and welcomed a small but ecstatic group of Creighton fans, sealing their victory with a ceremonial spritz of bubbles on the field.

“This team continues to amaze me,” coach Jim Flanery said. “We’re so proud of the way they’ve grown, the kind of fight they have and the way they play for each other.”

The crowd was significantly reduced after the Greensboro Coliseum attracted local fans for the South Carolina vs. North Carolina game. An energetic group from Iowa State had distractions ready for Creighton on every ride.

But one fan favorite remained: South Carolina coach Dawn Staley greeted fans in the stands before taking a courtside seat to gauge the team her Gamecocks would face on Sunday.

— Remy Tumin

There could be only one victor in the Battle of the Carolinas.

No. 1-seeded South Carolina, hungry for its first national championship title in five years, edged fifth-seeded North Carolina in the round of 16 of the NCAA Women’s Tournament, beating the Tars Heels, 69-61, Friday night.

While the Tar Heels have been on a disruptive path in the Greensboro area, sending fourth-seeded Arizona packing their bags on their home turf in the second round, the young team has failed to live up to the depth of Gamecocks. Aliyah Boston, the star junior forward who has been the centerpiece of her team, had her 27th straight double-double with 28 points and 22 rebounds, and senior forward Victaria Saxton delivered when her team needed help the most. she with 14 rebounds and two key blocks. .

Boston got all 13 points from South Carolina in the fourth quarter.

But victory did not come easily. South Carolina struggled to keep up with the fast Tar Heels in the first half as they repeatedly rolled down, staying low and fast in the lane. The Gamecocks allowed 23 points in the first quarter. North Carolina second guard Deja Kelly danced around the South Carolina defense to lead his team with 23 points.

But Destanni Henderson and Zia Cooke responded with the speed and scored the Gamecocks needed to stay afloat. Henderson finished with 13 points and Cooke scored 15, ending the second quarter on the back after a successful jump. When they missed a field goal, Boston came in and finished it with two, three, sometimes four Tar Heels almost hanging from him.

“It was a tough game – hats off to North Carolina for playing an extremely efficient basketball game,” coach Dawn Staley said. “They pushed us to the limit.”

The game was the third Sweet 16 matchup between the programs since 2014 and North Carolina’s first third-round appearance since 2015, when it lost to South Carolina. The Gamecocks next face Creighton.

Gamecock and Tar Heel fans packed Greensboro Coliseum, just a three-hour drive from Columbia, South Carolina, and an hour’s drive from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, creating a sea of ​​clear blue and of red against the neon green and pink sneakers of South Carolina.

The Gamecocks were looking to redeem themselves after losing to Stanford last year in the semi-finals by two points. But heading into Friday’s game, a Gamecock win was far from a safe bet. While their fierce defense, one of the best in the tournament, denied their competition time and time again, the Gamecocks offense struggled to convert drives into points.

“It shows that it’s only going to get harder and harder,” Cooke said after the game. “We kept our foot on the accelerator the whole time.”

— Remy Tumin

SPOKANE, Wash. — Texas advanced to the Round of 16 for the second straight tournament with a 66-63 victory over Ohio State on Friday, helped by a decisive play by senior guard Joanne Allen-Taylor and team post players Lauren Ebo and Aaliyah Moore.

The Buckeyes’ top two scorers all season, Jacy Sheldon and Taylor Mikesell, combined for 36 points, not enough to beat the Longhorns’ physical defense.

The No. 2-seeded Longhorns took an early lead, staying ahead until Texas rookie point guard Rori Harmon fouled twice in the first quarter when a charge and call of blocking did not follow one another quickly.

From that point on, it began to look like sixth-seeded Ohio State could beat Texas at its own game, pressing the Longhorns from the ground up every time they got the ball in. . Texas coach Vic Schaefer said the press “is just who we are” before the game, but it was the Buckeyes who threatened turnovers every time the Longhorns had to take the ball in half court.

The Buckeyes finished the first quarter with a 4-point lead thanks in large part to Sheldon, who continued to find ways to score even when shooting opportunities were hard to come by.

Allen-Taylor, who finished the first half with 13 points and added 4 in the second, got Texas into the locker room with a lead by beefing up to the basket with just three seconds left and leaving with the bucket and the fault. The fact that she was able to escape the first half without a single personal foul was particularly remarkable, given how physical the game was at the time. The teams combined for just one successful 3-pointer in the first half, and the players had to fight for every attempt, whether from beyond the arc or inside.

“She’s having a good day, it’s important to us,” guard Aliyah Matharu said of Allen-Taylor. “I feel like today she was on. When she’s on, why not give her the ball? »

The Longhorns found some momentum midway through the third quarter, forcing turnovers and scoring them while earning second-chance points. But Ohio State main guard Braxtin Miller had all but one shot she attempted this quarter, scoring 8 points and keeping Texas from getting comfortable.

Still, the Buckeyes began to look a little less energized and began laying off their all-court press. Going into the final frame, Texas had extended their lead to 5 points.

Texas would lead by as much as 10 points, until Ohio State forced a series of turnovers that brought the game back within reach with just four minutes left. The Longhorns’ lead was reduced to 1 point when the game clock ran out, and the Buckeyes had the ball. But Texas was able to use the defense that has been its calling card throughout the season, force a turnover and make its free throws to seal the victory.

—Natalie Weiner

On Friday night, No. 1-seeded Stanford looked better than ever as they earned their 23rd straight win, extending the longest active winning streak in Division I.

Stanford, the defending national champion, defeated fourth-seeded Maryland, 72-66, to earn a trip to the regional final in Spokane. For the second straight year, the Terrapins will return home after the Sweet 16. The Cardinal will face Texas in the Spokane Regional Final on Sunday.

Stanford guard Haley Jones proved to be a problem early on for the Terrapins, sinking a 3-pointer for the game’s first field goal and scoring 8 points in the first quarter. The Cardinal looked so in control from both ends of the floor that Fran Belibi almost replicated his dunk from the Stanford first-round game, blocking Chloe Bibby’s 3-point shot and rushing to the other end to lay down in a finger roll.

Maryland was able to somewhat stifle Stanford’s offensive production in the second quarter, but couldn’t translate their saves into successful possessions. Then Stanford would find a way to get the ball to their 6-foot-4 sophomore Cameron Brink miles from the basket, and she would still make a 3-point shot — and Maryland’s hard work on defense would seem suddenly meaningless.

“I think we’ve seen some really good pushes,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “But I think we can do better.”

Stanford’s Hull twins, Lexie and Lacie, grew up in Spokane. When they landed their first shots of the match within 30 seconds of the end of the first half, the arena erupted. Stanford took their biggest lead of the game up to this point, reinforcing the feeling that the Cardinal already had the outcome firmly in control. They were leading 39-23 at halftime.

The Terrapins were battling their way back into the game early in the third quarter, when guard Diamond Miller committed his fourth personal foul while battling for a through ball. From this point the game began to spiral out of control, with Stanford’s lead extending to 26 points by the end of the third.

Although Maryland fell 6 points in the streak, it only served to make Stanford’s dominating victory a little closer on paper than it was. Jones finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Lexie Hull finished the hometown tour as Stanford’s leading scorer with 19 points.

—Natalie Weiner

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