Storylines from the second round of the NCAA Tournament
Sometimes I wish that March Madness could happen year round, then I realize that my blood pressure wouldn’t be able to handle it. The second round did not disappoint, headlined by an incredible comeback and an even more thrilling game-winner. As we get ready for the Sweet 16, let’s relive some of the key moments that got us here.
18 points, no problem
I sat down to watch Northwestern vs. Louisville and realized I had only watched the Wildcats play twice all year, with Lindsey Pulliam being the only player I had substantial knowledge of. Boy did that change in the first five minutes. Not only did Jordan Hamilton look like the best shooter of all time, but the Cardinals looked lost amidst a stifling Northwestern defense. By the time the score got to 16-2, with it later stretching to as much as an 18-point lead, Louisville’s tourney hopes seemed faint.
More from NCAA
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, April 6: Stanford defeats Arizona in a tightly contested matchup to win the national title
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 30: UConn and Baylor deliver a classic battle of storied programs
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 23: Highlights from the first round of the NCAA Tournament
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 16: Tournament bracket released
- Bulldogs’ buzzer-beater makes Gonzaga WCC champions
For most of the rest of the game, it did not feel like the margin was dwindling, but all of a sudden the score was already tied up entering the fourth on the back of a perfect shooting night from Haley van Lith and double-digit point contributions from three other starters. The Cardinals had gained complete control and won 62-53 as if it were a regular wire-to-wire contest.
It is the second straight game in which Louisville was slow out of the gate, and while they were somehow able to survive against Northwestern and Marist, an experienced Oregon team will not let them back into a game.
Oh my Aggies
Speaking of surviving, Texas A&M is holding on for their lives. After a controversial escape against Troy, the Aggies felt the need to make their matchup with Iowa State even more nail biting. To put it simply, this game was half the Ashley Joens show, half the Jordan Nixon show, depending on which team had the ball.
There were once again some refereeing abnormalities, with a quick jump ball that gave A&M a chance to tie it up in regulation that almost killed Mr. Joens in the stands.
Jordan Nixon made a layup to force OT, where she became an Aggie hero for life with this shot at the buzzer.
The sophomore guard had a whopping 35 points to go along with an emotional post-game interview that earned Texas A&M a Sweet 16 spot against Arizona.
It is a devastating way to go out of the tournament for the Cyclones, who were led by Joens’s 32 point performance. Iowa State is very young, and this will surely fuel their fire for years to come.
Matchup to watch this weekend
It’s the game everyone circled when the bracket came out. UConn vs Iowa, the chance to see two freshman superstars in Paige Bueckers and Caitlin Clark duel it out. Saturday at 1, the first chapter in their collegiate careers will be written.