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NCAA Tournament Recaps: Texas A&M’s faith in Jordan Nixon has them in Sweet 16

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Instead of calling a timeout after a Ciera Johnson block fell into the hands of Jordan Nixon with eight seconds left in overtime and the game tied, Gary Blair let his Texas A&M Aggies improvise. Nixon delivered a game-winning floater and an inspiring interview after the contest praising her team’s “trust.”

Iowa State v Texas A&M
Jordan Nixon (jersey #5) and the SEC regular season champs are headed to the Sweet 16.
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Texas A&M Aggies have survived two scares to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed in the Mercado Region. Elsewhere, Indiana made its first Sweet 16 since 1983 on Wednesday and Arizona made its first Sweet 16 since 1998.

Here’s a recap of all of Wednesday’s second-round games:


Mercado

(2) Texas A&M Aggies 84, (7) Iowa State Cyclones 82 (OT)

Instead of calling a timeout after a Ciera Johnson block fell into the hands of Jordan Nixon with eight seconds left and the game tied, head coach Gary Blair let his Texas A&M Aggies improvise. Nixon dribbled all the way up the court, attempted a straightaway floater while anticipating contact and it banked off the backboard and in to give the Aggies a second-round overtime win over the Cyclones. A&M came back from down 10 points entering the second and down nine points entering the fourth.

Nixon was the high-scorer for Day 4 of the tournament with 35 points and also notched a team-high seven assists. Ciera Johnson backed her up with 19 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, while N’dea Jones added nine points, 14 boards and four rejections.

Ashley Joens had an incredible 32 points and 18 rebounds for Iowa State in defeat.

(3) Arizona Wildcats 52, (11) BYU Cougars 46

Aari McDonald (17 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, four steals) eliminated any hope the Cougars had left when she made a steal with nine seconds to go and converted on a fast break layup that made the score 52-46. BYU was up two at the break and the game was tied entering the fourth. The Cougars were up four with 9:21 to go in the third before a 13-5 Arizona run flipped that margin. Cate Reese capped the run with a layup at the 6:18 mark and a 3-pointer at the 5:37 mark. BYU led by four again with 5:12 to go in the fourth before an 8-0 Arizona run that featured a triple from McDonald, a triple from Sam Thomas and a jumper from Helena Pueyo. Shaylee Gonzales had 16 points and nine rebounds and Tegan Graham made some clutch threes in defeat.

(4) Indiana Hoosiers 70, (12) Belmont Bruins 48

Grace Berger posted 17 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals in this blowout win for the Hoosiers. Teammate Aleksa Gulbe added nine points and 15 boards, while Ali Patberg (13 points), Mackenzie Holmes (13) and Nicole Cardaño-Hillary (10) were all in double-figure scoring for the winners. Belmont hung in this one early and trailed by just three after one before losing the second by nine, the third by six and the fourth by four. Destinee Wells had 16 points in defeat.

Alamo

(5) Missouri State Lady Bears 64, (13) Wright State Raiders 39

Missouri State’s third-leading scorer Elle Ruffridge rained in five threes for 20 points and stars Jasmine Franklin (11 points, 11 rebounds) and Brice Calip (nine points, seven rebounds, six assists) backed her up. The Lady Bears’ best quarter was the third, which they won by 13 to pull away. Shamarre Hale and Angel Baker both had 10 points and four rebounds in defeat.

(6) Oregon Ducks 57, (3) Georgia Lady Bulldogs 50

Sedona Prince, who’s viral Tik Tok drew attention to the disparities in weight room equipment between the men’s and women’s tournament, is having quite the tournament for Oregon. On Wednesday she dropped a game-high 22 points on Georgia and added four blocks. The Ducks held their own in the points-in-the-paint battle against Georgia’s All-SEC Second Team center Jenna Staiti as Nyara Sabally added 15 points and nine boards to what Prince contributed. The Ducks were without star freshman guard Te-Hina Paopao for the first and second rounds, so their inside game was vital.

The Bulldogs led by one with 4:21 to go, but Prince and Sabally went on a 10-3 run against their opponent to put the Ducks ahead by six with 49 seconds remaining. Taylor Mikesell free throws then iced the game.

(2) Louisville Cardinals 62, (7) Northwestern Wildcats 53

Louisville was down 15 after one, but fought back with a 10-7 advantage in the second and a 20-8 advantage in the third to tie the game entering the fourth. In the fourth, Northwestern last cut it to a single-possession game on a Jordan Hamilton three with 3:26 to go. The Wildcats cut it to six with 36 ticks left, but free throws iced the game from there. Dana Evans, who averages 19.6 points per game for the Cards, has yet to have a breakout offensive performance in the tournament, but still had a solid 14-point effort. Kianna Smith led the team in scoring with 16, while Olivia Cochran (15 rebounds) and Hailey Van Lith both added 13. The Louisville defense did a great job holding Northwestern star Lindsey Pulliam to four points, while surrendering 17 to Hamilton.

Hemisfair

(6) Texas Longhorns 71, (3) UCLA Bruins 62

As the lower seed, Texas did an incredible job in the first half to lead 35-14 at the break. Projected No. 1 overall WNBA Draft pick Charli Collier was held to five points but one of her co-stars, Celeste Taylor, went off for 24 points to lead the Longhorns. Kyra Lambert added 17 points, 10 rebounds and four assists and Joanne Allen-Taylor had 16 points for the winners. UCLA had a monster third quarter that they won 27-16, but couldn’t afford to trade baskets with Texas in the fourth, which they did, winning the frame by just one. Michaela Onyenwere had 21 points in defeat.

(2) Maryland Terrapins 100, (7) Alabama Crimson Tide 64

This one was all about Maryland’s balance on offense. The Terps made seven threes and 35 twos and nearly placed eight players in double figures. Highly-touted freshman Angel Reese proved how valuable she is to Maryland now that she is back from a foot fracture with a team-high 19 points, while Ms. Intangible Faith Masonius notched a career-high 16 points that included some pretty layups and some physicality inside from the small forward. Reese was also brilliant in the post so that Maryland didn’t have to rely on the three ball. Terp stars Diamond Miller (13 points) and Ashley Owusu (10 points, eight assists) didn’t even have to contribute that much and Maryland still won by 36. Mimi Collins rounded out the team’s double-figure scorers with 13 points, including the team’s first nine. Jasmine Walker had 23 points in defeat.