Sweet 16 field features double-digit stars

The 2022 NCAA ladies’s basketball event will go down in historical past as tied for essentially the most wins by double-digit seeds by way of two rounds. For everybody who watched these final 4 days, there might be a footnote of how shut it was to the file.

There have been eight wins by double-digit seeds coming into Monday with three in motion poised to bump the file up. Two of them took their opponents to the ultimate seconds. No. 12 Belmont got here just a few made free throws and defensive stand away from knocking off powerhouse program Tennessee. A half-hour later, No. 11 seed Princeton could not discover a method to put any extra factors on the board within the remaining minute and fell to No. 3 Indiana, 56-55.

These video games will not be part of event lore and because the years go by, they will not be talked about in TV graphics as upsets mount over future opening weekends. Neither will No. 13 UNLV’s five-point loss to No. 3 Arizona nor will Missouri State coming 41 seconds from being the first First Four team to win a first-round sport.

They do put into clear phrases the pattern that has been occurring in ladies’s faculty basketball for years now. There may be extra parity than ever, extra expertise than ever and extra pleasure than ever. The perfect highschool gamers, reminiscent of Iowa level guard Caitlin Clark, not selected from two or three powerhouses. Coaches like Princeton’s Carla Berube take the expertise at these applications (UConn in her case) and construct ones elsewhere. Schools make noise this primary weekend and construct round it in coming seasons. The Belmont core is sophomores — what is going to they present us subsequent 12 months?

The double-digit seeds within the 2022 Candy 16 will stand as two No. 10 seeds: Creighton will face No. 3 Iowa State within the Greensboro regional semifinal and South Dakota will face No. 3 Michigan within the Wichita regional semifinal. It’s the first time two No. 10s have made it by way of collectively and solely 5 complete have executed it in historical past.

WNBA lottery prospects ousted in first weekend

NaLyssa Smith

NaLyssa Smith is a projected top-two decide within the 2022 WNBA draft in three weeks. (Photograph by Darren Carroll/NCAA Images through Getty Photos)

It was a rough-and-tumble opening stanza for the celebs who will almost surely hear their names called first within the 2022 WNBA draft on April 11. All had been on groups upset by double-digit seeds.

NaLyssa Smith, Baylor’s 6-foot-4 senior ahead, is projected No. 1 in ESPN’s most recent mock draft. She and the Bears had been knocked out of the event within the second spherical by No. 10 South Dakota within the Wichita area. South Dakota additionally ousted senior Shakira Austin and Ole Miss, the seven seed, within the first spherical. Austin, a 6-foot-5 heart, is projected by most to move to Atlanta on the No. 3 decide.

Kentucky senior Rhyne Howard is at all times listed within the top-2 with Smith. The 6-foot-2 guard and the Wildcats additionally had hassle offensively and fell to No. 11 Princeton within the first spherical of the Bridgeport area. Howard hit 28.6% from the sphere, nearing a season-low, for 17 factors with eight rebounds.

The only real projected lottery decide remaining is Michigan senior Naz Hillmon, who was met with “MVP” chants at Crisler Heart after a 64-49 win towards No. 11 Villanova. It is the Wolverines second Candy 16 berth in program historical past and is essentially due to Hillmon’s 27 factors and 11 rebounds. She was an environment friendly 12-of-16 and added 5 steals.

Baylor’s 6-foot-3 heart Queen Egbo and Oregon’s 6-foot-5 junior ahead Nyara Sabally, who’s eligible however has not but declared, are additionally out early as is No. 12 seeded Florida Gulf Coast junior guard Kierstan Bell.

Rather a lot can and can change over the following three weeks and people nonetheless taking part in can work their manner up into the top-four of a draft. But, a full group of prime draft picks dropping on opening weekend is uncommon. In seven of the final 10 tournaments relationship again to 2011, at the least one of many 12 months’s 4 lottery picks has performed within the nationwide championship sport. Within the three years that did not occur (2018, ’13, ’11), at the least one performed within the Ultimate 4.

Who’s left to lift their draft inventory? N.C. State heart Elissa Cunane and UConn seniors Evina Westbrook and Christyn Williams are on monitor to satisfy within the Bridgeport remaining. South Carolina guard Destanni Henderson and Iowa State wing Ashley Joens are potential late first-rounders. And Louisville’s Emily Engstler and Stanford’s Lexie Hull, who scored a career-high 36 within the second-round win, may break into draft boards.

Kim Mulkey, former Baylor crew out in identical spherical

Baylor, in its first season beneath head coach Nicki Collen, was on the wrong side of that 10-seed magic on Sunday. The Candy 16 will go on with out the Bears for the primary time within the final 12 tournaments.

Collen left the identical place with the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream for Baylor after legendary head coach Kim Mulkey abruptly left in April 2021. Mulkey went house to take over the LSU Tigers and is a finalist for nationwide coach of the 12 months after main them to a 13-3 SEC file and right into a No. 3 seed within the NCAA event.

However ultimately, each Collen and Mulkey’s event roads ended on the identical spot. LSU one way or the other survived an upset bid by No. 14 Jackson State within the first spherical and could not do the identical towards No. 6 Ohio State. The Tigers trailed for nearly the entire contest and misplaced, 79-64.

UConn survives and advances in uncommon type

UConn discovered itself in an uncommon place: a one-possession sport with 18.1 seconds left in a second-round matchup. The Huskies survived, 52-47, towards No. 7 seed UCF to achieve the Bridgeport area semifinal in what is going to basically be extra house video games for the powerhouse. It’s the twenty eighth straight 12 months they are going to be within the Candy 16.

Christyn Williams and Azzi Fudd every made their units of free throws within the remaining 20 seconds to place the extremely chippy sport out of attain. Fudd led all Huskies with 16 factors and Williams had 12. Paige Bueckers, nonetheless on the street again from leg surgical procedure, had 9 factors, two assists, one steal and one block. She additionally had a crowd pump-up second within the first quarter when teammates pulled her away from preventing for a soar ball. The XL Heart was so loud the whistle was buried in noise.

It was an totally atrocious offensive evening for UConn taking pictures 14-of-48 (29.2%) total and lacking open layups. Six of these area objectives had been 3-pointers. However it was a worse evening for UCF on the free throw line the place they went 10-of-20. A lane violation all however ended the profitable effort for the Knights.

UConn pulls No. 3 Indiana within the Candy 16 because the Huskies proceed their quest for his or her first nationwide title since 2016.

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