2014 NCAA - Stanford Regional Day Two Wrap: Flyers fall; upper seeds survive upset threats elsewhere

Contributor
March 25, 2014 - 2:12am
Fifth-seeded Michigan State's Branndais Agee (10) and company enjoyed smooth sailing as they breezed past 12-seeded Hampton, 91-61 on Sunday in the opening round of the Chapel Hill, N.C. subregional of the 2014 D-1 Women's Basketball Tournament. Elsewhere, however, upper seeds found themselves having to repel upset threats from  underdogs not ready to call it quits on the 2013-14 season. (Photo by Orin Day/dwhoops.com/ACCWBBDigest.com)

Fifth-seeded Michigan State's Branndais Agee (10) and company enjoyed smooth sailing as they breezed past 12-seeded Hampton, 91-61 on Sunday in the opening round of the Chapel Hill, N.C. subregional of the 2014 D-1 Women's Basketball Tournament. Elsewhere, however, upper seeds found themselves having to repel upset threats from underdogs not ready to call it quits on the 2013-14 season. (Photo by Orin Day/dwhoops.com/ACCWBBDigest.com)

AMES, Iowa -- Through the 2014 Division I Women's Basketball Tournament's Stanford Regional Sunday, one heavily favored upper seed after another faced decidedly tough challenges from lower seeds, often from so-called "mid-major" conferences, who were asking themselves, "Why not us?"

"Why can't a 14-seed and automatic bid from the Missouri Valley Conference knock off a nationally ranked three-seed to advance?"

"Why shouldn't we be the first 13-seed to get to the second round?"

And so it was that around the country, highly ranked teams from major conferences, accustomed to regarding the opening round of the NCAA Tournament as a mere warm-up for the "real" competition, found themselves struggling to rally from double-digit deficits and keep their postseasons alive. In University Park, Pa., the underdog actually got its way, as 11-seeded Florida sent the sixth-seeded Dayton Flyers packing. Elsehwere, the favorites were able to regroup and hold chalk, but not before some coaches had to have been reaching for the Xanax.

AT UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.

BRYCE JORDAN CENTER, PENN STATE UNIVERSITY

Results of Round One: Sunday, March 23

Game One: (3) Penn State 62, (14) Wichita State 56

See "Machine Gun Maggie extends Penn State career, leading come-from-behind win over Wichita State,", by Morris Phillips.

Game Two: (11) Florida 83 (6) Dayton 69

In the second game of the day in University Park, the 11th-seeded Florida Gators were actually able to seal the deal in their 83-69 upset of the 6th-seeded Dayton Flyers. This might not have been quite the David-v.-Goliath mismatch the seeds would cause it to appear, however. The Gators came into the tournament in something of a slump, having lost six of their final nine games against tough, SEC competition. But that mattered little in their 54-point second half that simply overwhelmed the Flyers. All five Gators starters scored in double figures, led by Cassie Peoples with 21 points and six assists.  Dayton leading scorer Andrea Hoover saw her college career end on a 22-point, four-rebound afternoon. 

The Flyers led, 48-36, with 15 minutes left, but that's when a huge Florida run, fueled by 51-percent second-half field-goal shooting, extinguished Dayton's NCAA Tournament life for this year. When Dayton started to commit turnovers, the Gators converted at the other end repeatedly.  When the tide swung to Florida, the Flyers compounded their problems by settling for jumpers and missing.  Dayton missed 14 of 20 3-point attempts and were outrebounded, 41-26.

Up Next

Second Round: (3) Penn State (23-7) v. Florida (20-12) -- Tuesday, March 25 -- 7 p.m. EDT (Bryce Jordan Center, State College, PA)

AT SEATTLE, WASH.

ALASKA AIRLINES ARENA, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

Results of Round One: Sunday, March 23

Game One: (1) South Carolina 73, (16) Cal State Northridge State 58

Despite the final score, top-seeded South Carolina had all they could handle in its NCAA opener with Big West tournament champ Cal State Northridge.  And perhaps the best illustration of just how pesky the 16th-seeded Matadors were?  Conference Player of the Year, Ashley Guay, the biggest concern on USC Coach Dawn Staley’s scouting report despite standing only 5-7, missed her first six shots.  But when she finally connected—from three, of course—Northridge trailed just 45-39 with 13:47 remaining.

Throughout, the Matadors took care of the basketball (just five turnovers), got a big contributions from starter Janae Sharpe (26 points) and their unheralded bench, and never flinched when the Gamecocks made a run. After Guay’s initial basket, South Carolina surged and went up by 15, but Northridge crept within six (60-54) with 3:42 remaining.  South Carolina closed it out at the free-throw line, making 11 of 12 in the final 1:34. 

“I wasn’t surprised,” Staley said.  “This is March. Welcome to the madness. I’m glad I’m sitting here able to prepare for a game on Tuesday.”

Game Two: (9) Oregon State 55, (8) Middle Tennessee State 36

It's hard to call a 9-over-8-seed win an "upset," but if you do, then perhaps this was one. PAC-12 at-large entrant Oregon State won in its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1995 by hunkering down on defense as usual. What was a surprise was the Beavers got it done even as national blocked-shots leader Ruth Hamblin (four blocks per game) was saddled with foul trouble and played just 13 minutes. 

OSU Scott Rueck’s game plan worked to perfection as his Beavers held MTSU to a season-low 15 first-half points.  Oregon State doubled Blue Raiders' leading-scorer Ebony Rowe in all her familiar spots in and around the paint, and when MTSU center KeKe Stewart stepped out to attempt her signature 3-pointers, the Beavers followed, holding Stewart to two attempts from distance, both of which she missed.

Beavers freshman Sydney Wiese caught fire midway through the second half, canning four consecutive 3s on her way to 26 points.  Wiese’s personal run put the game away, as MTSU never cut Oregon State’s lead to fewer than 10 points in the final 13 minutes of the game. 

Up Next:

Second Round: (9) Oregon State (24-10) v. Florida (28-4) -- Tuesday, March 25 -- 9 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. PDT) (Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle, Wash.)

AT CHAPEL HILL, N.C.

CARMICHAEL ARENA, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA

Results of Round One: Sunday, March 23

Game One: (5) Michigan State 91, (12) Hampton 61

Big Ten regular-season co-champion Michigan State shook off the rust of a two-week layoff by smashing MEAC champ Hampton in a game that barely resembled an NCAA tournament contest.  The Spartans led by 32 at the half, and never let their lead slip below 30 in the final 20 minutes.  Aerial Powers led MSU with 26 points, 18 rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals.  Senior Annalise Pickerel was pretty good as well, contributing 21 points on 7 for 7 shooting. 

Malia Tate-DeFreitas, the Pirates' leading scorer, missed 14 of 15 shots and finished with four points.

“We let our emotions get the best of us.  We did a lot of one-on-one play and did not move the ball from side to side,” Hampton coach David Six admitted.

Game Two: (4) North Carolina 60 (13), Tennessee-Martin 58

See “Tar Heels' 18-point comeback staves off near-upset by Tennessee-Martin” by J.P. Mundy.

Up Next

Second Round: (5) Michigan State (23-9) v. (4) North Carolina (25-9) -- Tuesday, March 25 -- 7 p.m. EDT (Carmichael Arena, Chapel Hill, NC)

 

 

 

 

 


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