Sixteen teams have made it through the past three-days of second-round action in the 2014 Women's National Invitational Tournament and are on to Round Three, the WNIT's version of the Sweet 16. There were nail-biters -- including a double-overtime between two teams representing the Magnolia State of Mississippi; there were blowouts, and though the WNIT doesn't have preannounced seedings, there were even a few of what could onlly be called "upsets."
Let's take a look at the 16 teams now advancing to the next round and how they got there:
ROUND OF 16 - WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26
San Diego (24-8) @ Washington (19-13) -- 10 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. PDT) -- Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle, Wash.
Round Two Results
Washington 93, Oregon 85
After trailing at halftime by a 46-34 margin, the Washington Huskies scored 59 points in the second half to rally for a win at Oregon, ending the UO career of one of basketball's influential coaches, Paul Westhead.
Washington used two runs to win the game. Down 57-46 with just under 16 minutes left, the Huskies pulled off a 14-3 run to tie the game at 60 just minutes later. With just under nine minutes left and the score tied at 65, Washington uncorked an 11-2 burst that produced a 76-67 lead just before the six-minute mark of regulation.
Kelsey Plum scored 31 points for Washington. She was helped by Talia Walton, who scored 24 points, and Jazmine Davis, who added 22.
San Diego 60, Montana 57
The San Diego Toreros gathered themselves down the stretch and fended off the Montana Lady Griz on the road in Missoula, Mont.
San Diego led by 10 points with over seven minutes remaining, but a furious charge by Montana tied the game at 55 with 1:03 left. San Diego's Amy Kame stepped into the breach for the Toreros, hitting a jumper and then two foul shots to give USD a 59-55 lead with 18 seconds left. Montana had a chance to tie with one second left, but a three-pointer by Jordan Sullivan was no good.
Kame finished with 25 points for San Diego. Another key difference in this contest was that the Toreros, on the road, committed seven fewer turnovers (14, compared to 21 for Montana).
ROUND OF 16 - THURSDAY, MARCH 27
Minnesota (22-12) @ South Dakota State (24-9) -- 8 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. MDT) - Frost Arena, Brookings, S.D.
Minnesota 77, SMU 70
Minnesota led by as many as 19 points in the second half before seeing its lead get reduced to five, at 70-65, with three minutes left. The Golden Gophers could have buckled, but they instead held SMU scoreless on the Mustangs' next four possessions. The Golden Gophers still weren't out of the woods, the game still in reach with Minnesota leading 74-70 with 33 seconds left, but a missed jumper by SMU represented the Mustangs' last best chance of making a successful comeback.
South Dakota State 62, Creighton 51
With 7:06 left in the first half, the Creighton Bluejays led the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, 25-13.
With 12:35 left in the second half, Creighton had 27 points.
South Dakota State had 44.
Yes, South Dakota State limited Creighton to just two points in a span of 14 minutes and 30 seconds. The Jackrabbits went on a 31-2 run and scored 28 straight points during that period of time. The astonishing Creighton power outage is one of the most remarkable things you'll ever behold in any basketball season. It turned a game Creighton had been controlling into a very easy win for South Dakota State.
Northwestern (17-15) @ Indiana (20-12) -- 7 p.m. EDT -- Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind.
Second Round Results
Northwestern 88, IUPUI 52
The Wildcats were never threatened by the Jaguars, as Northwestern hit 60 percent of its shots compared to 34-percent field-goal shooting for IUPUI. The Jaguars made only 3-of-21 triples and just 9-of-19 free throws.
Indiana 72, Marquette 69
Indiana stormed to a 41-26 halftime lead and seemed to have this game in hand, leading 62-48 with 6:45 left in regulation. However, Marquette made the Hoosiers work for this victory, uncorking a 13-2 run to slice IU's lead to 64-61 with just over two minutes remaining. Indiana needed two huge three-pointers -- one by Taylor Agler and the second by Larryn Brooks -- to maintain a six-point cushion, at 70-64, heading into the final 40 seconds.
Every bit of that cushion was needed. Marquette's Katie Young hit a three and then produced a steal and layup to bring the Golden Eagles within one, at 70-69, with 10 seconds to go. When Agler then committed a turnover on the subsequent inbounds play, Marquette had a chance to win, but Brooklyn Pumroy missed a jumper with five seconds left. Indiana grabbed the rebound and made two foul shots with four seconds left to preserve the win.
Michigan (20-13) @ Bowling Green (29-4) -- March 27, 7 p.m. EDT - Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Second Round Results
Michigan 68, Duquesne 52
In a game that was never close, Michigan raced to a 36-18 halftime lead and built its advantage in the second half.
The Wolverines hit 54 percent of their shots and limited Duquesne to only three free throws all game long. Michigan was led by Cyesha Goree, who poured in 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting.
Bowling Green 76, St. Bonaventure 65
Bowling Green sped out to a 35-7 first-half lead and coasted for a long while thereafter. St. Bonaventure pulled within eight points, 65-57, near the four-minute mark, but a two-minute scoring drought was enough to dash the Bonnies' hopes of a remarkable comeback.
Bowling Green established clear dominance in three facets of play. The Falcons hit six more threes than the Bonnies (9-3), seven more foul shots (17-10), and committed four fewer turnovers (6, compared to 10 for SBU).
Seton Hall (20-13) @ Rutgers (24-9) -- 7 p.m. EDT -- Rutgers Athletic Center, Piscataway, N.J.
Second Round Results
Seton Hall 75, Princeton 74
In a thriller, Seton Hall made the last and biggest play of the day to nose past Princeton in an all-New Jersey affair. After Princeton's Alex Wheatley broke a 72-all tie on a bucket with 26.4 seconds left, Seton Hall answered when Sidney Cook scored on a putback and was fouled with nine seconds to go. Cook made the foul shot, giving the Pirates the lead over the Tigers and initiating a crazy series of events.
Princeton turned the ball over on its next possession, but being fouled to stop the clock, the Pirates missed both foul shots, giving the Tigers one more chance. A desperation heave at the buzzer missed, and Seton Hall lives for a few more days.
Princeton's Michelle Miller starred in defeat, hitting eight threes en route to 34 points. However, Seton Hall collected at least 19 points from each of three different players.
Rutgers 63, Harvard 52
Rutgers used hard-nosed defense to keep Harvard at arm's length in the second half, winning a game that wasn't quite comfortable, but not overly dramatic, either. The Scarlet Knights held Harvard to two points in a span of just under seven and a half minutes in the first part of the second half, and they used the Crimson's dry spell to take a 45-34 lead with 10:01 left. Rutgers led by at least six points the rest of the way and was not in any danger entering the final two-and-a-half minutes.
Harvard didn't allow a single three-point shot to Rutgers, but the Crimson committed 12 more turnovers than the Scarlet Knights (20-8) and surrendered too many possessions. Harvard's seven made threes represented a very hollow statistical advantage for the Crimson in light of the ultimate result. Kahleah Copper led Rutgers with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Auburn (19-14) @ Mississippi State (21-13) -- 8 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. CDT) -- Humphrey Coliseum, Starkville, Miss.
Second Round Results
Auburn 82, Old Dominion 59
After a close first half, Auburn broke this game open, holding against Old Dominion to just one point in a span of 5:37 early in the second half. The Tigers built a 43-31 lead during that dry spell for the Monarchs and pulled away for the win.
Auburn placed five scorers in double figures, led by Tyrese Tanner, who logged 24 points. The Tigers' effectiveness was shown by the fact that they hit more than 50 percent of 69 field-goal attempts, one of the best offensive performances you'll see in the WNIT.
Mississippi State 74, Southern Mississippi 66 (2OT)
These two in-state foes played with a level of energy befitting an NCAA tournament game. In a riveting contest made more compelling by the fact that baskets were at a premium in overtime, Mississippi State was able to lock down Southern Mississippi and pull away in the second extra period.
Neither team scored in the final 1:37 of regulation, creating a 55-all tie and sending the game into its first overtime. In that initial extra period, Southern Miss -- trailing 65-61 with 50 seconds left -- used a three-pointer by Tamara Jones and a free throw by Jerontay Clemons with eight seconds left to tie the game at 65 and extend the competition. In the second overtime, though, Southern Miss ran out of magic. The Golden Eagles scored only one point, as the Bulldogs gained control and advanced to the Round of 16.
George Washington (23-10) @ South Florida (21-12) -- 7 p.m. EDT -- Sun Dome, Tampa, Fla.
Second Round Results
George Washington 76, Villanova 66
George Washington never landed a knockout blow, but Villanova was never able to string together enough productive sequences to catch up to the Colonials in a close, but undramatic, second half.
In the final four minutes, George Washington didn't lead by more than nine points or by fewer than five until the last 13 seconds, when the Colonials finally went ahead by 10 (the 76-66 winning margin). The key moment of the game came when Villanova, trailing 67-62 with just over one minute left, grabbed a steal but then missed a layup that would have created a one-possession game. George Washington hit 9-of-10 foul shots in the final minute to cement its triumph.
South Florida 75, Stetson 56
South Florida cruised in this all-Florida matchup, hitting 52 percent of its field goals compared to just 32 percent for Stetson. The Bulls were powered by Akila McDonald and Inga Orekhova. The dynamic duo combined for 43 points on 18-of-23 shooting from the field. The pair also combined for 14 rebounds.
Stetson hit only 4-of-22 three-point field goals in a contest that wasn't close.
ROUND OF 16 - FRIDAY, MARCH 28
Colorado (27-7) @ UTEP (26-7) -- 9 p.m. EDT (8 p.m. CDT) --Don Haskins Center, El Paso, Tex.
Second Round Results
Colorado 79, Southern Utah 68
An 11-point margin might suggest that the losing team had a foothold in a game at some point in the second half, but this was not the case in Colorado's win over Southern Utah. The Buffaloes hit a three-point shot nine seconds into the second half to take a 10-point lead, and they led by at least nine points the rest of the way. Colorado didn't allow a field goal to Southern Utah for the first six minutes of the second half, building a 45-26 lead over the Thunderbirds before coasting home to the finish line.
UTEP 76, Saint Mary's 64
UTEP's defense hounded Saint Mary's in the second half, paving the way to victory for the Miners. Saint Mary's went 11:58 with only one made field goal. The inability of the Gaels to develop any rhythm on offense represented their undoing in El Paso, Tex.
Despite all of the Gaels' problems, they were still in the hunt, trailing by only five (64-59) with two minutes remaining. UTEP, however, made six straight free throws and produced three straight defensive stops to secure the win.
Jenzel Nash scored 11 points off the bench for UTEP, whose reserves outscored SMC's bench by a 21-8 margin in a game decided by 12 points. UTEP also outscored Saint Mary's by nine points at the free throw line, 25-16.