March Madness is racing toward the Sweet 16! Here’s what to know concerning the ladies’s NCAA Event as groups battle for slots within the regionals:
The top four seeds in the tournament got to South Carolina, Indiana, Virginia Tech and Stanford — and the Cardinal was the first to bow out.
SOUTH CAROLINA: The undefeated defending nationwide champions are the No. 1 total seed they usually look each bit a juggernaut, advancing to the Greenville I regional and not using a critical problem. The area consists of two groups in No. 2 seed Maryland and No. 4 seed UCLA that misplaced to the Gamecocks earlier this season. South Carolina is loaded, with two-time Southeastern Convention participant of the yr Aliyah Boston and main scorer Zia Cooke.
INDIANA: The Hoosiers landed the highest seed within the Greenville II Area and gained its opener by 30 factors. Mackenzie Holmes, who leads Indiana with 22.3 factors and seven.3 rebounds per sport, didn’t even play however she was expected to return for the second round. Prime challengers embrace No. 2 seed Utah, No. 3 seed LSU and No. 4 seed Villanova, which is led by scoring sensation Maddy Siegrist. She had 35 factors in ’Nova’s first-round win.
VIRGINIA TECH: The ACC tourney-champion Hokies high the Seattle 3 Area and they’re going to take a 13-game winning streak to the Sweet 16 behind star middle Elizabeth Kitley. Virginia Tech might need to navigate No. 4 seed Tennessee and No. 2 seed UConn or No. 3 seed Ohio State after that.
STANFORD: The committee appeared to Stanford’s steadiness for a lot of the season in giving it the highest seed within the Seattle 4 Area. However the Cardinal as a substitute turned the first No. 1 to fall short of the Sweet 16 since 2009, ousted 54-49 by Ole Miss and its stingy protection. That throws the area vast open for the likes of No. 2 seed Iowa, No. 3 seed Duke, No. 4 seed Texas and No. 5 seed Louisville.
GAMES TO WATCH
No. 4 seed UCLA (26-9) vs. No. 5 seed Oklahoma (26-6), Monday, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Maybe the top freshman class in the women’s game will face a much more skilled group. The Bruins have the youth, and the Sooners have three gamers with at the very least 1,500 profession factors. UCLA has the good thing about enjoying at dwelling and rolled to a 67-45 victory against Sacramento State within the opening spherical. The Sooners, the No. 2 scoring workforce within the nation, beat Portland 85-63.
No. 2 seed Connecticut (30-5) vs. No. 7 seed Baylor (20-12), Monday, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Two longtime rivals meet again. Two years in the past, the Huskies gained 69-67 in a regional last after a attainable foul was not referred to as on the ultimate possession. 4 gamers who have been on the court docket for the 2021 sport are anticipated to play: UConn’s Aaliyah Edwards and Aubrey Griffin and Baylor’s Caitlin Bickle and Sarah Andrews. The Bears are looking for their thirteenth journey to the Candy 16 in 14 years. UConn has made the regional last in 28 consecutive seasons and is looking for its fifteenth straight Ultimate 4 berth and twelfth nationwide championship look.
No. 4 seed Texas (26-9) vs. No. 5 seed Louisville (24-11), Monday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
It is going to be a rematch from a fall matchup in the Bahamas, however this time a Candy 16 bid is on the road and will probably be on Texas’ dwelling court docket. Louisville gained the early matchup 71-63. Texas has reached the Elite Eight two years in a row. The Cardinals have superior to the Elite Eight or Ultimate 4 in every of the final 4 seasons.
No. 4 seed Tennessee (24-11) vs. No. 12 seed Toledo (29-4), Monday, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
The Rockets of the Mid-American Convention is likely to be clever to not lookup as they fight for his or her first journey to the Candy 16 on Tennessee’s dwelling flooring. Enjoying underneath its eight nationwide championship banners, Tennessee is trying to advance to the tourney’s second weekend in back-to-back years for the primary time since 2015-16, however for the thirty sixth time total.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The ladies’s event subject is stuffed with stars, together with South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston, last season’s AP player of the year who’s again in hopes of successful a second straight nationwide title and has greater than 80 double-doubles in her unbelievable profession. She can have loads of competitors for the distinction this yr, together with sharp-shooting Iowa star Caitlin Clark.
There may be additionally center Mackenzie Holmes of top-seeded Indiana and the AP All-America team can also be a great place to take a look at a number of the high gamers within the sport. The Cavinder twins, gymnasium rats who’re wildly standard on social media, made their first event — and helped their workforce win its opener — after transferring from Fresno State to Miami.
The sector can also be exceptional for the high number of international players, a rising development in ladies’s basketball.
Standout performances abound.
Grace Stone nailed her fifth 3-pointer of the sport with 4.7 seconds remaining to raise Tenth-seeded Princeton to a 64-63 win over North Carolina State. Alissa Pili had a career-high 33 points, eight rebounds and a career-high eight assists to guide No. 2 seed Utah over Gardner-Webb.
Power forward Angel Reese had 34 factors and 15 rebounds as 3-seed LSU beat Hawaii whereas fellow All-American Caitlin Clark scored 48 factors and added 24 assists over two wins to assist Iowa attain the Candy 16.
Gun violence has cost lives and disrupted college sports all season, touching a number of the high packages in school basketball. Coaches have been thrust into unsure and unwelcome roles in attempting to navigate the subject — in addition to the fallout from the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
On a lighter be aware, the Big Ten is loaded and desperate to climb again into the title sport. And when you suppose you recognize the ladies’s event, try this 25-question quiz from AP.
Wish to hear from the athletes themselves? UCLA freshman Kiki Rice and injured UConn star Paige Bueckers have every written diaries for AP about their “tourney journeys.”
HOW TO WATCH
The title game will be on a national network — ABC — for the first time since 1996 in a stroke of excellent information for the sport. ABC plans to air at the very least a half-dozen different video games, too.
Beside that, each sport of the ladies’s event might be out there on ESPN’s networks or streaming, with followers inspired to navigate to the “Watch” tab on ESPN’s websites. The NCAA can have a women’s basketball specific March Madness app by AT&T.
There are a number of websites itemizing sport instances and different particulars, including the NCAA site.
Who’s going to win the nationwide championship? The betting favorites final week to achieve the Ultimate 4 are (so as): South Carolina, Indiana, UConn, Stanford, LSU and Iowa, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Gamecocks are a heavy favourite to grow to be the primary repeat champion within the ladies’s event since UConn won the last of four straight in 2016.
MARCH MADNESS CALENDAR
Selection Sunday set the brackets for First 4 video games and first- and second-round video games by Monday at campuses throughout the nation.
Candy 16 weekend brings a twist this yr for the ladies’s groups: There might be two regional websites as a substitute of 4, with Greenville, South Carolina, and Seattle every internet hosting eight groups.
The place is the ladies’s Ultimate 4? In Dallas, the place the semifinals are March 31 and the championship sport is April 2. Because it occurs, the boys’s Ultimate 4 is a four-hour drive down the street in Houston that very same weekend.
AP March Insanity protection: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25