FORT MYERS, FL – Florida Gulf Coast’s defense, which has allowed less than 49 points per game, played with characteristic intensity and muzzled Wake Forest in their Round 2 contest Monday in the Postseason WNIT, allowing the Eagles to advance to Round 3.
Florida Gulf Coast (30-5) will face Tulane at home on Wednesday, March 23 – tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.
The Eagles forced 19 turnovers on the night, jumping ahead early when Wake Forest (17-16) made just three of its first 20 field goal attempts. The game stayed relatively close at halftime because Florida Gulf Coast only scored 11 points of its own in the second quarter, carrying a 31-15 lead into the break.
Kaneisha Atwater, who averaged 14 points per contest coming into Monday’s game, had 23 points and eight rebounds for the Eagles. Stephanie Haas added 18 points as Florida Gulf Coast evened its all-time record in the WNIT to 5-5. The Eagles hit nine 3-pointers and survived a shaky 8-of-17 effort from the free-throw line.
Wake Forest was paced by Milan Quinn, who had 14 points and 15 rebounds. The Deacons also got 12 points and five rebounds from Ariel Stephenson.
Tulane 64, Georgia Tech 61
ATLANTA – Tulane won its first game in five tries all-time against Georgia Tech, holding off a late push by the Yellow Jackets to secure the win and a spot in Round 3 of the Postseason WNIT.
Tulane (23-11) will hit the road again and face Florida Gulf Coast in the next round, with tipoff on Wednesday, March 23 at 7 p.m. ET.
Taylor Emery hit a jumpshot to push The Green Wave ahead, 62-57, with 2 minutes, 16 seconds remaining. Georgia Tech (20-13) missed a couple of shots, but cut it to 62-59 with 55 seconds left on two free throws by Imani Tilford. Emery got a key offensive board and hit a free throw; Aaliyah Whiteside hit two free throws for GT, but the Jackets’ last look at the basket fell short to give the Green Wave the win.
Kolby Morgan had 22 points and six rebounds for Tulane, and Leslie Vorpahl added 16 points and six assists. Whiteside finished with 25 points and eight rebounds; teammate Katarina Vuckovic added 10 points and nine rebounds.
Saint Louis 59, Ball State 55
ST. LOUIS, MO – Saint Louis started Monday’s game by going 4-of-27 from the field, but the Billikens kept Ball State in range and hit enough free throws in the final minute to eke out the victory in Round 2 of the Postseason WNIT.
Saint Louis (26-7) will face Western Kentucky in Round 3. That game will be played in St. Louis on Friday, March 25, at 7 p.m. CT.
Jackie Kemph’s two free throws and another by teammate Jamesia Price put SLU up, 57-53, with 16 seconds to go. Ball State’s Nathalie Fontaine hit two free throws to make it 57-55 with 10 seconds left, and the Cardinals stole the ensuing entry pass after a Billikens timeout. However, Ball State missed the layup, and Kemph added two more free throws to close the deal.
Kemph, the A-10 co-player of the year as a sophomore, ended up with 26 points and seven assists. Sadie Stipanovich chipped in with eight points and 13 rebounds; SLU had a 48-38 advantage in rebounds and worked around a tough night from 3-point range, going just 4-of-25.
Ball State (22-10) was led by Moriah Monaco, who had 21 points and seven rebounds. Fontaine added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Cardinals, who shot 30 percent from the field and had 15 turnovers.
Western Kentucky 62, UT Martin 57
BOWLING GREEN, KY – Tashia Brown scored 11 of Western Kentucky’s first 13 points and rumbled her way to 30 points overall, driving the Lady Toppers past UT Martin in Round 2 of the Postseason WNIT.
Western Kentucky (26-6) will play at Saint Louis in Round 3 – that game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT on Friday, March 25.
The Lady Toppers pulled ahead after scoring 25 points in the third quarter, but had to fend off UT Martin (22-10) all the way to the finish. Kendall Noble hit a free throw for WKU to make it 60-55 with 33 seconds to go, and the Skyhawks missed a key 3-pointer with 27 seconds remaining.
Noble came through with 15 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds as the Lady Toppers moved to 5-0 all-time against UT Martin.
The Skyhawks, who had 18 turnovers, were led by Haley Howard, who had 15 points. Chelsea Roberts and Katie Schubert each had 10 points and four rebounds.
Utah 92, Gonzaga 77
SPOKANE, WA – Utah’s ability to make things happen offensively in every key category drove the Utes past Gonzaga in Round 2 of the Postseason WNIT.
Utah (18-14) will play at Oregon in Round 3 – that game tips off at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 23.
The Utes had five players with double-figure scoring totals; the team was 46 percent from the field, 24-for-28 from the free-throw line and also drained 10 3-pointers overall. Utah was paced by Paige Crozon, who had 22 points and five rebounds; Malia Nawahine added 17 points and four rebounds, Tanaeya Boclair had 13 points, six rebounds and five assists, and Emily Potter closed with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Gonzaga (19-14) got 18 points and nine rebounds from Jill Barta. Laura Stockton had 15 points, and Emma Stach added 13 points. The Bulldogs were outscored in the middle two quarters, 48-34.
Oregon 84, Fresno State 59
EUGENE, OR – Oregon outscored Fresno State in the third quarter, 31-11, to break open Monday’s Round 2 game as four players scored in double figures for the Ducks.
Oregon (22-10) will play Utah in Round 3 – tipoff at Oregon will be 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 23.
The Ducks (who won the WNIT in 1989 and 2002) entered Monday’s game shooting 41 percent from 3-point range as a team, and they were certainly on target against the Bulldogs, going 13-for-20 overall (65 percent). Maite Cazorla closed with 20 points and nine assists for Oregon; Lexi Petersen had 19 points and six rebounds, Lexi Bando had 15 points and Kat Cooper chipped in with 13 points.
Such was Oregon’s early burst of offense, the Ducks still reached 80-plus points despite scoring just nine points in the fourth quarter.
Fresno State (22-12) got 19 points from Toni Smith; Bego Faz Davalos tallied 12 points and 10 rebounds.
UTEP 74, Arkansas State 68
EL PASO – UTEP gave up the lead in the fourth quarter, but a couple of late fourth-quarter shots wrapped around a critical offensive rebound allowed the Miners to slip into Round 3 of the Postseason WNIT.
The Miners (28-4) will play TCU in Round 3; the game will be played at UTEP on Thursday, March 24 at 9 p.m. ET.
Aundrea Gamble hit two free throws with 2:52 remaining to put Arkansas State up, 67-66. With 45 seconds to go, Agata Dobrowolska hit a jumper to pull the Miners ahead, 70-68, and teammate Starr Breedlove chased down a huge offensive rebound on the next UTWEP possession. On the next sequence, Jenzel Nash hit a layup to pull UTEP ahead, 72-68.
Sparkle Taylor closed with 18 points for the Miners; Cameasha Turner and Nash each had 16 points as UTEP worked around 17 turnovers.
The Red Wolves (27-6) were paced by Gamble’s 21 points; Khadi Brown-Haywood came through with 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Amanda Lawson scored 11 points. Arkansas State was outrebounded, 39-28.