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NCAAW Tournament Round 1, Day 1 Recap: Iowa, Marquette, Florida State, Miami avoid early losses to mid-major opponents

Many top programs like Iowa and Marquette survived scares in the first round of the NCAAW Tournament. Are they in danger of being upset in the second round?

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament- Maryland vs Iowa
Iowa center Megan Gustafson will need more support after the Hawkeyes narrowly escaped a first-round upset in the NCAA Tournament on Friday.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

While there weren’t many major upsets on the first day of the NCAA Tournament, there were many close calls as Iowa, Marquette, Florida State and Miami struggled to put their opponents away.

The No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes narrowly won their first-round game against the No. 15 Mercer Bears, 66-61. At first glance, perhaps the Bears were able to drain many threes or make an early run before running out of steam. But actually, the Bears shot just 35 percent from the field and didn’t attempt a single free throw. They were even out-rebounded, 49-28.

Rather, the Hawkeyes committed 24 turnovers while the Bears committed just three. Because of Mercer’s defensive effort and Iowa’s carelessness, the Bears were able to claw themselves to a 59-57 lead with just 4:22 left in the fourth quarter. KeKe Calloway scored 21 points for Mercer as their 17-game win streak came to an end.

Hawkeyes star center Megan Gustafson didn’t have a quiet day, scoring 30 points on 14-of-16 shooting while grabbing 16 rebounds. Without her performance, Iowa may have lost this game.

The Iowa game wasn’t the only major close call on Friday. Our own Christine M. Hopkins wrote in a preview before today’s games that the No. 5 Marquette Golden Eagles could also face an early exit at the hands of the No. 12 Rice Owls. Though they weren’t upset, it was really close, as Marquette escaped with a 58-54 overtime win.

Marquette was able to escape with the win thanks to a furious comeback in the fourth quarter. Natisha Hiedeman scored 13 points and also scored the final free throws to ice the game.

Though Rice lost, they had a program-best 28-4 season. Junior guard Erica Ogwumike scored 22 points and center Nancy Mulkey added 18 more points in their tough loss. Both Ogwumike and Mulkey return next season, where Rice will certainly be one of the top mid-majors in the preseason rankings.

If these two close calls weren’t enough, Florida State and Miami also barely survived their first round matches.

Florida State defeated the Bucknell Bison 70-67 in a match where neither team led by double digits and trailed early on. Kiah Gillespie scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the win for the Seminoles, who out-rebounded the Bison 44-23.

Miami won their game against FGCU, 69-62, but a 22-10 run by the Eagles in the third quarter created a tie ball game to start the fourth quarter. FGCU even led briefly after being down by double digits for most of the game. Beatrice Mompremier scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, including making a key bucket to give the Hurricanes another double-digit lead late in the game. This ultimately helped the Hurricanes breathe a sigh of relief.

Here are the complete game results:

NCAAW Tournament — Round 1, Day 1

Game results

Albany region

No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 16 Robert Morris, 69-34

No. 2 UConn vs. No. 15 Towson, 110-61

No. 7 Rutgers vs. No. 10 Buffalo, 82-71

No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 9 Kansas State, 84-54

Chicago region

No. 4 Texas A&M vs. No. 13 Wright State, 84-61

No. 5 Marquette vs. No. 12 Rice, 58-54

Greensboro region

No. 2 Iowa vs. No. 15 Mercer, 66-61

No. 4 South Carolina vs. No. 13 Belmont, 74-52

No. 5 Florida State vs. No. 12 Bucknell, 70-67

No. 7 Missouri vs. No. 10 Drake, 77-76

Portland region

No. 1 Mississippi State vs. No. 16 Southern, 55-29

No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 15 Portland State, 78-40

No. 4 Miami vs. No. 13 Florida Gulf Coast, 69-62

No. 5 Arizona State vs. No. 12 UCF, 60-45

No. 7 Texas vs. No. 10 Indiana, 69-65

No. 8 South Dakota vs. No. 9 Clemson, 79-66

NCAAW Tournament game information

First round

When: Friday, March 22; Saturday, March 23

Where: Campus sites (teams seeded 1-4 host)

How to watch: ESPN2, WatchESPN

Second round

When: Sunday, March 24; Monday, March 25

Where: Campus sites (teams seeded 1-4 host)

How to watch: ESPN, ESPN2, WatchESPN

Sweet Sixteen

When: Friday, March 29; Saturday, March 30 (click for times)

Where: Albany, NY; Chicago, IL; Greensboro, NC; Portland, OR

How to watch: ESPN, ESPN2, WatchESPN

Elite Eight

When: Sunday, March 31; Monday, April 1 (click for times)

Where: Albany, NY; Chicago, IL; Greensboro, NC; Portland, OR

How to watch: ESPN, ESPN2, WatchESPN

Final Four

When: Friday, April 5, at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET

Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL

How to watch: ESPN2, WatchESPN

National Championship

When: Sunday, April 7, at 6 p.m. ET

Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL

How to watch: ESPN, WatchESPN

More ways to watch the games

Want to watch in person? Tickets for the first two rounds can be purchased on the websites of the 16 hosting teams, listed below as the first through fourth seeds. Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight and Final Four tickets can be found on the websites of the hosting arenas, or here.