Big wins for mid-majors
[Please enjoy our March S[imulation]adness content. For more about this project, check out our explainer post.]
Bella Alarie wasn’t going to be satisfied with merely getting to the NCAA Tournament.
In Round 1 against Dayton, she showed it.
More from 2020 NCAA Tournament SIMULATION
- March S[imulation]adness: Indiana faces biggest test in rematch against red-hot Baylor
- March S[imulation]adness: UCLA looks to end Old Dominion’s Cinderella run
- March S[imulation]adness: Northwestern will square off with Stanford in Sweet 16
- March S[imulation]adness: Maryland faces Oregon State in Sweet 16
- March S[imulation]adness: South Carolina draws red-hot Princeton in Sweet Sixteen
Alarie scored 20 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and added seven assists as Greenville region five seed Princeton beat 12 seed Dayton, 68-51 to advance the Tigers to the second round.
They’ll play that game in Iowa City with a boisterous home crowd on hand for the Iowa Hawkeyes, the four seed, who narrowly avoided an upset from a very impressive Abilene Christian team. The Wildcats, just a few years into their Division I odyssey, got 31 points from Brenna Wright and nearly sent the Iowa fans home unhappy. But Kathleen Doyle and company move on for an elite showdown in the second round.
Down in Columbia, Dawn Staley’s crew saw Aliyah Boston capture the second triple-double of her career. Boston finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 blocks as the top seed Gamecocks beat Samford, the 16 seed, 88-43.
The Gamecocks will take on eight seed Arizona State, after Reili Richardson’s 24 points helped the Sun Devils beat Duke, the nine seed, 72-56.
Down in Raleigh, NC State got off to a rollicking start in front of its fans. The three seed got 27 points and 14 rebounds from Elisa Cunane, and defeated 14 seed Portland, 85-51.
The Wolfpack face a tough challenge in the second round from 11 seed Old Dominion. The Monarchs, the best in the nation at forcing opponents to miss from deep, held six seed Kentucky to 2-for-19 from long range, and edged them in a thriller, 68-67.
As for UCLA, the Bruins picked up right where they left off at Pauley Pavilion. Emerging superstar Michaela Onyenwere scored 28 and grabbed 15 rebounds, and the two seed beat 15 seed Norfolk State, 86-62.
Cori Close’s team will face the ten seed, Texas, which beat seven seed Rutgers in a real slugfest, 68-55, with Joyner Holmes putting up 18 points and 12 boards to extend her collegiate career.
FIRST ROUND RESULTS
1 South Carolina 88, 16 Samford 43
8 Arizona State 72, 9 Duke 56
5 Princeton 68, 12 Dayton 51
4 Iowa 78 13 Abilene Christian 75
11 Old Dominion 68, Kentucky 67
3 NC State 85, Portland 51
10 Texas 68, 7 Rutgers 55
2 UCLA 15 86 Norfolk State 62
SECOND ROUND SCHEDULE
1 South Carolina vs. 8 Arizona State
4 Iowa vs. 5 Princeton
3 NC State vs. 11 Old Dominion
2 UCLA vs. 10 Texas
Love our 24/7 women’s basketball coverage? Join our Patreon now and support this work, while getting extra goodies and subscriber-only content for yourself.