WOMEN'S NCAA TOURNAMENT: Sooners flex muscle against overmatched Portland

Florida Gulf Coast upsets 5th-seeded Washington State; late free throws help Louisville escape Drake upset bid

Oklahoma Sooners forward Liz Scott (34) grabs a rebound over Portland forward Alex Fowler (12) during the first quarter of a NCAA Tournament game March 18, 2023 in Los Angeles.
Oklahoma Sooners forward Liz Scott (34) grabs a rebound over Portland forward Alex Fowler (12) during the first quarter of a NCAA Tournament game March 18, 2023 in Los Angeles.
Robert Hanashiro / USA Today Sports

Although the 12th-seeded Portland Pilots gave No. 5 seed Oklahoma a run for their money in the first half, the Sooners hit another gear in the second half, racing out to an 85-63 win in a NCAA Tournament first-round matchup Saturday.

Five Sooners hit double-digit points, led by the tandem of Taylor Robertson and Aubrey Joens with 14 points apiece. Robertson added four rebounds and two assists, while Joens contributed two rebounds and three assists. Liz Scott grabbed a team-high 12 boards.

Alex Fowler led the Pilots with 18 points and seven rebounds.


No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast 74, No. 5 Washington State 63

For the second straight year, Florida Gulf Coast — seeded 12th again — upset a No. 5 seed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, this time handing Pac-12 champs Washington State a 74-63 defeat in Villanova, Pennsylvania, on Saturday.

FGCU (33-3) shot 55.6% from the floor and was led by the sharp shooting of Sha Carter, who poured in 24 points. Tishara Morehouse chipped in 16 points for the Eagles.


A season ago, FGCU upset Virginia Tech in the first round in College Park, Maryland. The Cougars (23-11) were the Eagles' victims this time, as 16 points and 12 rebounds from Tara Wallack wasn't enough to propel Washington State to its fifth straight win.

"This isn't a one off," Washington State coach Kamie Ethridge said. "This is what (FGCU coach Karl Smesko) does every year; wins 30 games and comes in under-seeded and plays just an unbelievably seasoned, tough game. It just felt like we didn't quite get a handle of how to guard them."

No. 1 Indiana 77, No. 16 Tennessee Tech 47

Facing a tie score after the first quarter, No. 1-seed Indiana turned it up a notch for the remainder of the game to put away 16th-seeded Tennessee Tech on Saturday to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Sydney Parrish led the Hoosiers with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Grace Berger added 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and Yarden Garzon contributed 12 points and four rebounds.

Indiana played without All-American forward Mackenzie Holmes, who dressed but did not play due to knee soreness. Hoosiers coach Teri Moren said she feels "really good" about Holmes playing Monday.

One-third of the Golden Eagles’ offense came from Maaliya Owens, who scored 17 points and scooped up a team-high nine rebounds.

No. 9 Miami 62, No. 8 Oklahoma State 61

The Hurricanes (20-12) completed the fifth-largest comeback in tournament history by erasing a 17-point deficit to top the Cowgirls (21-12) in Bloomington, Indiana. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Haley Cavinder became the first Miami player since 2000 to have at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists in an NCAA Tournament game, finishing with 16 points, eight boards and six dimes.

"It was nerve-racking, but we finished the game strong," Cavinder said. "Yeah, it was something I'll remember forever."


Anna Gret Asi led Oklahoma State with 16 points off the bench.

No. 4 Villanova 76, No. 13 Cleveland State 59

Villanova senior forward Maddy Siegrist shot higher than her season averages en route to scoring a game-high 35 points as fourth-seeded Villanova routed No.13 seed Cleveland State on Saturday.

Siegrist shot 53.6% from the field and 50% from behind the arc.

Destiny Leo had a strong game for the Vikings, scoring 25 points to go with four rebounds and four assists, but she was Cleveland State’s lone scorer in the double digits.


No. 3 Ohio State 80, No. 14 James Madison 66

Cotie McMahon scored 18 points as the Buckeyes (26-7) overcame a halftime deficit and held off the upset-minded Dukes (26-8) in Columbus, Ohio. James Madison led by 12 points after the first quarter and by three points at halftime, but Ohio State opened the third quarter with an 18-7 run to take the lead.

The Dukes — who would've been the first-ever No. 14 seed to upset a No. 3 in the women's tournament — were steered by Kiki Jefferson's 17 points and eight rebounds.

No. 4 Tennessee 95, No. 13 St. Louis 50

Although 13th-seeded St. Louis kept things close in the opening quarter of each half, the Billikens were unable to replicate that performance for the final portion of each half and were blown out by No. 5-seed Tennessee on Saturday.

St. Louis was outscored just 39-32 in the first and third quarters combined, but in the second and fourth quarters were outscored 56-18.


Tennessee had scoring contributions from 13 different players – led by Jordan Horston with 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists, and Rickea Jackson with 18 points.

Brooke Flowers paced St. Louis with 17 points and nine rebounds.

No. 12 Toledo 80, No. 5 Iowa State 73

The Rockets (29-4) took a seven-point lead into the second half and held on to it to upset the Cyclones (22-10). In what was her final game for the Big 12 champions, Iowa State's Ashley Joens had 23 points and 13 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to defeat Toledo, which is advancing in the tournament for the first time since 1996.

Four Rockets scored in double digits, with Quinesha Lockett pouring in 24 points and 13 rebounds.

No. 2 UConn 95, No. 15 Vermont 52

Aaliyah Edwards shot 13 of 15 from the floor and scored a career-high 28 points as the Huskies (30-5) raced away from the Catamounts (25-7) in Storrs, Connecticut. Dorka Juhasz aided UConn's efforts by providing a double-double of 15 points and 10 boards. Vermont was powered by Catherine Gilwee, who had 14 points.

No. 6 North Carolina 61, No. 11 St. John's 59

Deja Kelly scored 18 points and scored the game-winning points — a lay-up and a free throw — with 2.3 seconds remaining as the Tar Heels (22-10) held off the upset-minded Red Storm (23-9). UNC led by as much as 12 points in the first half but allowed St. John's to take a fourth-quarter lead during a nearly-four minute scoring drought for the Heels. Jayla Everett led the Red Storm with 17 points.

No. 7 Baylor 78, No. 10 Alabama 74

The seventh-seeded Baylor Bears shrugged off a horrendous start to stave off the upset-minded Crimson Tide on Saturday and advance to the second round. Alabama held a 22-4 advantage at the end of the first quarter and took a 41-30 lead into the break.

Baylor senior Ja’Mee Asberry led the comeback bid with a team-high 26 points. Caitlin Bickle and Sarah Andrews added 14 points, while Bella Fontleroy scored 10.


Alabama’s Brittany Davis had a game-high 33 points.


No. 6 Colorado 82, No. 11 Middle Tennessee 60

Colorado started strong and never looked back as the sixth-seeded Buffaloes romped past Middle Tennessee on Saturday.

Frida Formann led Colorado with a team-high 21 points to go with five rebounds. Jaylyn Sherrod also had a strong performance with 13 points, six assists and three rebounds, while Aaronette Vonleh contributed another 11 points.

The Blue Raiders were paced by Anastasiia Boldyreva’s 16 points. Savannah Wheeler added 15 points and Kseniya Malashka scored 13.

No. 5 Louisville 83, No. 12 Drake 81

Hailey Van Lith hit three clutch free throws in the final 20 seconds of play to ensure fifth-seeded Louisville was able to fend off No. 12-seed Drake from completing their upset bid Saturday.

Van Lith led the Cardinals with a game-high 26 points, while teammate Mykasa Robinson scored 14 points to go with seven assists, five rebounds and three steals.

The Bulldogs had five different players reach double-digit scoring as sophomore Katie Dinnebier led the group with 20 points, seven assists and four rebounds.

No. 3 Duke , No. 14 Iona

Third-seeded Duke built a big lead early and never looked back en route to a 89-49 blowout victory over the 14th-seeded Iona Gaels on Saturday.


The Blue Devils had seven players score at least eight points, highlighted by Elizabeth Balogun and Celeste Taylor scoring 13 points apiece. Kennedy Brown was just shy of a double-double as she recorded 10 points and eight rebounds.

Ketsia Athias led Iona with a game-high 20 points, to go with four rebounds and five assists.


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