UCLA 74, NORTHERN COLORADO 60
Los Angeles, CA – Despite some inconsistent stretches and clusters of turnovers, UCLA fought past Northern Colorado to earn a spot in the WNIT quarterfinals. The Bruins will host Saint Mary’s on Sunday, March 29, with tipoff set for 5 p.m. ET.
Nirra Fields had 26 points and eight rebounds for UCLA (16-18), with Jordin Canada scoring 14 points and Kari Korver chipping in with 11. Northern Colorado (22-13) made a second-half push and closed within 54-53 on a layup by Stephanie Lee, but the Bruins went on a 16-4 run, and Korver’s 3-pointer with 3:08 to go took away any doubt.
UCLA enjoyed a rebounding edge of 40-31, shot well from the free-throw line (17-of-22) and was able to survive its 19 turnovers. UNC was led by Lee, who had 31 points; D’Shara Strange added 12 points and nine rebounds.
SAINT MARY’S 77, SACRAMENTO STATE 69
Sacramento, CA – In a wild contest that featured several shocking numbers, Saint Mary’s advanced past Sacramento State to the WNIT quarterfinals. The Gaels (23-10) will take play at UCLA on Sunday, March 29, with tipoff scheduled for 5 p.m. ET.
The Hornets (18-16) launched a startling 56 3-pointers on the night, hitting 16 of them - one off the WNIT record of 17 (Missouri State, 2005 vs. Iowa). The vast number of rebounds that resulted were a benefit to the Gaels (they had 59 rebounds overall), but their own troubles with turnovers (27 on the night) did a lot to keep the game close. The game was tied with about 6 minutes to go, but Saint Mary’s hit its free throws late while Sacramento State went cold from the field.
Lauren Nicholson had 19 points and six rebounds for the Gaels; Hayley Hendricksen added 16 points and seven rebounds, Shannon Mauldin came through with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, and Stella Beck scored 10 points.
For the Hornets, Fantasia Hilliard and Brianna Burgos each scored 13 points; Maranne Johnson added 11 points and four steals, and Ashlyn Crenshaw scored 10 points. Sacramento State shot under 30 percent from the field and took only six free throws.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE 82, OLE MISS 70
Murfreesboro, TN – Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Insell won for the second time this year against Ole Miss and his son, Rebels coach Matt Insell, as the Blue Raiders advanced to the WNIT quarterfinals. Middle Tennessee will host Temple on Sunday, March 29, with tipoff set for 5 p.m. ET.
Middle Tennessee (24-9) got a monster night from sophomore Ty Petty, who had 29 points, seven assists and three steals. The Blue Raiders staked their claim on this one with a 15-point lead by halftime – Ole Miss (19-14) trimmed the lead to 53-45 on a shot from Shandricka Sessom, but Middle Tennessee responded with a 13-4 run to rebuild the advantage.
Olivia Jones added 22 points for Middle Tennessee, which shot nearly 60 percent from the field; Brea Edwards came through with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Sessom led Ole Miss with 18 points, with A'Queen Hayes scoring 14 points and Danielle McCray adding 13 points.
TEMPLE 80, NC STATE 79 (OT)
Philadelphia, PA – Feyonda Fitzgerald hit a jumper with a half-second remaining in overtime, allowing Temple to sneak past NC State and claim a spot in the WNIT quarterfinals. The Owls will face Middle Tennessee; that game will be played at Middle Tennessee on Sunday, March 29, with tipoff set for 5 p.m. ET.
Fitzgerald’s 3-pointer with 51 seconds left cut the Wolfpack lead to 79-78; NC State turned the ball over with 26 seconds to go on a steal by Tanaya Atkinson, and after a Temple timeout, Fitzgerald worked her way in range to hit the final shot. Temple (19-16) got 17 points from Atkinson, 16 from Alliya Butts, 15 points from Fitzgerald, 12 from Tyonna Williams and 11 from Erica Covile.
NC State (18-15) also had five players reach double figures in scoring. Dominique Wilson scored 18, Len'Nique Brown-Hoskin scored 16 points, Jennifer Mathurin added 12 points and seven rebounds, Chelsea Nelson scored 11 and Carlee Schuhmacher added 10 points and six rebounds.
The Wolfpack took a 69-65 lead with about 2:20 to go in regulation, but failed to score again. Covile snaked in for a layup to tie the game for Temple with 29 seconds to go, and Brown-Hoskin missed a 3-pointer for NC State at the buzzer.
WEST VIRGINIA 60, DUQUESNE 39
Morgantown, WV – West Virginia’s balanced and efficient offense gave the Mountaineers all the early momentum and plenty of punch for the finish, leading to an easy win over the Dukes and a spot in the WNIT quarterfinals against Villanova. That game will be played at West Virginia on Sunday, March 29, with tipoff set for 2 p.m. ET.
West Virginia (21-14) got very productive nights from Averee Fields (19 points and 11 rebounds), Bria Holmes (17 points and six rebounds) and Teana Muldrow (15 points and six rebounds), while taking good care of the ball and committing just seven turnovers. The Mountaineers were nothing special in terms of shooting percentage (35 percent), but they had a lead of 22 points midway through the second half, more than Duquesne (23-11) could solve with its own shooting woes – 27.5 percent from the field, 21 percent from long range and 57 percent from the free-throw line.
West Virginia set the tone with a quality first half, holding the Dukes to six points in the last nine minutes of the half and taking a 35-21 lead at the break.
Duquesne was led by April Robinson, who had 14 points and four rebounds.
VILLANOVA 63, ST. JOHN’S 55
Villanova, PA – Villanova saw St. John’s rally and take a brief lead in the second half, but the Wildcats got a couple of timely 3-pointers from Katherine Coyer and pulled ahead for good to earn a WNIT quarterfinal spot against West Virginia. That game will be played at West Virginia on Sunday, March 29, with tipoff set for 2 p.m. ET.
Villanova (22-13) saw Coyer drain five 3-pointers and score 23 points; Caroline Coyer scored 15 points, and Alex Louin added 14 points and six rebounds. St. John’s (23-11) had a 49-36 advantage in rebounding and held the Wildcats to 31 percent shooting from the field, but there was almost no production from the bench (zero points, three rebounds).
Katherine Coyer made six free throws in the final 65 seconds to ice the game for Villanova.
MICHIGAN 65, MISSOURI 55
Ann Arbor, MI – Michigan took less than four minutes to wipe out Missouri’s modest halftime lead and put five players in double figures on the way to its victory, putting the Wolverines into the WNIT quarterfinals against Southern Miss. That game will be at Southern Miss on Sunday, March 29, with tipoff set for 3 p.m. ET.
Michigan (19-14) got 13 points from Shannon Smith, 12 from Cyesha Goree, 11 from Nicole Elmblad and 10 apiece from Siera Thompson and Katelynn Flaherty. The Wolverines were an effective 47 percent from the field and hit 14-of-17 free-throws.
Missouri (19-14) had 16 turnovers and suffered a scoring drought in the second half for almost six minutes that allowed Michigan to fortify its lead. The Tigers were paced by Jordan Frericks (14 points, nine rebounds), while Morgan Stock added 13 points; the team shot 27 3-pointers, but only converted six (22 percent).