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NCAAW Tournament Recap (Round 2, Day 1): Narrow wins and near misses for some, domination for others

Sabrina Ionescu recorded her 18th career triple-double in the Oregon Ducks’ 91-68 blowout of the Indiana Hoosiers. Mississippi State also commanded a dominant win Sunday (over Clemson). But other teams squeaked by with narrow wins, leaving their opponents heartbroken.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament Stanford vs Oregon
NCAA Women’s Basketball triple-double queen Sabrina Ionescu of the Oregon Ducks
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The higher-ranked teams cruised through the first day of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament’s second round, with the Iowa Hawkeyes, Oregon Ducks, Louisville and Mississippi State commanding dominant, blowout victories over their opponents. But a few teams had their hearts broken with two-point losses to opponents that should feel relieved to see another day in the tournament.

The Marquette Golden Eagles had a chanced to upset the Texas A&M Aggies, but fell short, 78-76. And Arizona State was close to getting by Miami but succumbed to a 57-55 loss instead.

The team entering the second round with the biggest question mark surrounding its chances of success was Missouri — a team led by all-time program scoring leader Sophie Cunningham, but one that is also prone to inconsistency. In the second round, the Tigers fought but could not overcome an Iowa Hawkeyes team that saw Megan Gustafson record a solid double-double with 24 points and 19 rebounds and two of her teammates also scoring in double figures. Makenzie Meyer and Kathleen Doyle scored 18 and 15 points, respectively. Scoring aside, Iowa clamped down defensively, leaving Missouri with only one player in double figures (Amber Smith, 21 points) and limiting Cunningham to just eight points.

In Mississippi State’s unsurprising blowout of Clemson, SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Teaira McCowan added another double-double to her illustrious collegiate resume, with a game-high 30 points and 11 rebounds. Teammate Anriel Howard had a double-double of her own, with 21 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Jordan Danberry also contributed double-figure scoring, with 18 points.

Like the Bulldogs, the Oregon Ducks obliterated their opponent, the Indiana Hoosiers, 91-68. Naturally, Sabrina Ionescu was a big part of the Ducks’ win, and further cemented herself as the triple-double queen of college basketball, with 29 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

To lock up the triple-double, the 18th of her career, Ionescu got creative — intentionally missing a shot late in the game and rebounding the miss to secure her 10th rebound of the night.

But Ionescu’s comments about her latest triple-double feat were not all lighthearted. With an obvious dig at ESPN for its refusal to cover women’s sports, Ionescu said:

I mean, it’s awesome to get one in the tournament, but it probably still won’t be recognized because ESPN never recognizes women’s sports, or women getting triple-doubles.

Ionescu is right, of course.

A look at ESPN’s “Top Headlines” from yesterday reveals the network championing a triple-double by LeBron James, whose Los Angeles Lakers have been eliminated from the NBA Playoffs, but not including Ionescu’s triple-double, which catapulted the Ducks to the Sweet Sixteen. James’ triple-double had no implications for his losing team, while Ionescu’s definitely did.

This, of course, is nothing new for ESPN, but it does remain unacceptable.

Here are the games results for Sunday, followed by information on future games and viewing:

NCAAW Tournament — Round 2, Day 1

Game results

No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. No. 7 Missouri Tigers, 68-52

No. 4 Texas A&M Aggies vs. No. 5 Marquette Golden Eagles, 78-76

No. 2 Oregon Ducks vs. No. 10 Indiana Hoosiers, 91-68

No. 1 Louisville Cardinals vs. No. 8 Michigan Wolverines, 71-50

No. 4 South Carolina Gamecocks vs. No. 5 Florida State Seminoles, 72-64

No. 2 UConn Huskies vs. No. 10 Buffalo Bulls, 84-72

No. 4 Miami Hurricanes vs. No. 5 Arizona State Sun Devils, 57-55

No. 1 Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. No. 9 Clemson Tigers, 85-61

NCAAW Tournament game information

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.