ALBANY, N.Y. -- Connecticut travels 130 miles from campus to Albany for the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament, and the Huskies’ presence removes any mystery about who will advance to Tampa Bay from this region. The height of Texas presents a challenge for UConn, and upstart seventh seed Dayton could provide another upset after their dynamic victory over No. 2 Kentucky last Monday.
The WNIT’s third round, after an isolated game on Wednesday between Eastern Michigan and Southern Mississippi, ran its course with seven games on Thursday. It was a night for Philadelphia. It was not a night for Pittsburgh, as Duquesne lost a border battle with West Virginia. Third-round Thursday in the WNIT was a night for fathers, not sons, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Thursday was also not a night for the Big Sky, whose two remaining WNIT participants were bounced out of the event before Sunday’s quarterfinals. Here’s a closer look at Thursday’s seven contests:
The WNIT’s third round will burst into many hues and textures on Thursday, with seven games on the docket. Wednesday night, Southern Mississippi’s Golden Eagles booked the first of eight spots in the quarterfinals by knocking off Eastern Michigan at home. USM did not miss this opportunity to play on the final weekend of March. The Golden Eagles certainly won’t mind the extra rest they’ll get in relationship to the rest of the field.
The 2015 Women's National Invitational Tournament closed out its second round on Tuesday, creating a third-round matchup between two schools that are almost neighbors. The West Virginia Mountaineers and the Pittsburgh-based Duquesne Dukes both won their Tuesday round-two games and moveon to the WNIT’s round of 16, though they got there in decidedly different ways.
Former Big East competitors, briefly kept together for one season in the American Athletic Conference, Connecticut and Louisville may now play in different leagues, but they are no strangers to each other, nor to the second weekend of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. Connecticut’s longstanding record of consistent excellence in college basketball needs no elaboration. Louisville, a program that has come of age in the past decade under coach Jeff Walz, has now reached the Sweet 16 for the third straight season and the fourth time in five seasons.
North Carolina saw a 23-point lead evaporate before beating Ohio State, 86-84, Sunday in the final second of the second round of the 2015 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament in Chapel Hill, N.C. The victory sets up an appointment against South Carolina Friday in one regional semifinal in in Greensboro, N.C. The other game will feature Florida State and Arizona State.
The Women's National Invitational Tournament played three games in the shadow of the NCAA tournament on Monday, and those games stayed in the shadows because none of them were competitive.
The winning teams didn’t mind, of course, because they all got to move to the Round of 16 without too much strain. All of Monday’s winners will play their third-round games on Thursday on the court of the higher seed.
CHAPEL HILL -- North Carolina advanced to its second straight NCAA Sweet Sixteen in dramatic fashion as yet another Jamie Cherry postseason buzzer beater bailed out the Tar Heels. Carolina led by 18 at halftime and by as much as 23, but Ohio State took advantage of 14 second-half Tar Heel turnovers to whittle that lead away.
The Buckeyes finally tied the game with a clutch Kelsey Mitchell three-pointer with 39 seconds on the clock. UNC took the lead back with a hoop by Latifah Coleman but gave it right back by fouling Mitchell in the paint with five seconds remaining.
As the postseason Women's National Invitational Tournament moved into its second round, the round of 32, on Sunday, a total of 11 games quickly narrowed the field to 21 teams still standing. After St. John’s and Villanova each won their second-round WNIT match-ups, they will now meet in a postseason rematch of their Big East regular-season home and homes. The two teams split those regular-season contests with each team winning on its home court, which could give 'Nova, which will host Round Three, the inside track.