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NCAA Tournament Day 2 Recaps: No. 12 seed Belmont comes back in both overtimes to best No. 5 seed Oregon

The Belmont Bruins made it two No. 12 seeds moving on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and none of the three No. 4 seeds who played on Saturday had an easy time.

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - First Round - Tennessee
Tuti Jones
Photo by Donald Page/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Sedona Prince of the No. 5 seed Oregon Ducks missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds and the No. 12 seed Belmont Bruins held on for a 73-70 double overtime victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn.

The miss bailed out Bruin Destinee Wells, who missed one of her two free throws with four seconds remaining and was kicking herself for leaving the door open for Oregon. Belmont had taken the lead on two Wells free throws at the 1:02 mark of double OT and had come back from down 68-64 in the final frame.

Another missed free throw was detrimental for the Bruins in the first OT as it left the score tied at 64 and allowed the Ducks to force the second OT. But Conley Chinn’s three to tie the game for Belmont with 46 seconds remaining in the first OT was huge. The Bruins trailed by as much as six in the frame.

A Te-Hina Paopao trey with eight seconds remaining in regulation saved Oregon temporarily as it forced overtime.

Tuti Jones paced Belmont with 22 points to go along with six rebounds and four steals. Wells posted 16 points, dished out seven assists and swiped two steals.

Nyara Sabally was phenomenal in defeat with 31 points, 12 boards, three assists, three steals and seven blocks.

No. 3 LSU Tigers over No. 14 Jackson State Lady Tigers, 83-77

LSU’s Khayla Pointer broke a 77-77 tie with a triple at 49 seconds remaining and Jackson State would not score again.

LSU trailed by as much as 10 in the fourth, but Pointer gave the team the lead with two free throws at 2:44 remaining. That capped an 11-0 run that also featured a backcourt steal turned Jailin Cherry layup and a Pointer falling-down toss in turned 3-point play.

Pointer nearly had triple-double with 26 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals. Cherry added 24 points and Faustine Aifuwa contributed 17 points, 14 boards and seven blocks to the winning cause.

A 7-0 JSU run from 8:13 in the fourth to 7:01 in the fourth gave JSU a 66-60 lead. The run began with a Miya Crump three and ended with Crump making 2-of-3 free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt. Crump (21 points, 4-of-6 from deep) made another key three to make it 70-64 JSU.

Daja Woodard gave JSU the lead on a layup with 1:56 to in the third and was then called for taunting, so LSU made two free throws and tied it up. But the momentum had shifted with a 24-7 run. JSU went on to lead by as much as four and never trailed in the remainder of the third.

Jackson State hit back-to-back threes to cut its deficit to 47-40 and hit back-to-back threes again to tie it up at 52 with 2:43 to go in the third. Those four threes were made by four different players.

LSU surrendered 30 points in the third quarter, a season-worst defensive performance for it in a single frame.

JSU battled early and kept it close, but LSU started to pull away with a 10-0 run from 3:55 in the second to 2:02 in the second. Cherry scored the final eight points of that run. She started with a mid-range make from the right baseline and then Pointer made back-to-back nice passes to her in transition that led to a layup and a pull-up bank make from the right block. Cherry then capped the run with another layup in transition to make the score 37-25 LSU. LSU went on to lead 41-28 at the break and 47-30 1:16 into the third.

Down 9-2 after a 9-0 LSU run. Jackson State answered with an 8-1 run to cut it to 10-9 and trailed by just two after one. JSU went on to tie the game at 19 on an Ameshya Williams-Holliday layup 2:54 into the second quarter.

Khayla Pointer did her best to get LSU into better shape with an offensive rebound and layup followed by a mid-range make from the right baseline, capping an 8-2 LSU run that made the score 27-21 LSU. But JSU responded with a 4-0 run to cut it to two.

No. 11 Villanova Wildcats over No. 6 BYU Cougars, 61-57

Villanova’s Big East player of the year Maddy Siegrist (25 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks) blocked a 3-point attempt by the ever-dangerous Tegan Graham with nine seconds remaining and a Brianna Herlihy free throw made it a two-possession game in favor of the Wildcats with 8.4 ticks to go. BYU’s Paisley Harding air balled a desperation three at 0.2 seconds and that was it. The magic BYU had last year when Harding and Graham led an upset of Rutgers in the first round ran out. Villanova, meanwhile, moved on to the second round.

Graham made this one a nail-biter with a trey that cut BYU’s deficit to one with 2:19 to play. Siegrist made a layup with 1:57 to go to push Villanova’s lead back to three, but Sara Hamson cut it back to one with a layup at 26 ticks remaining. Siegrist then pushed it back to three again with two free throws, leaving the Cougars with 16.2 seconds.

Siegrist’s other blocks was also huge. It stopped a Hamson shot inside and Siegrist hit a left corner three on the ensuing possession to put Villanova up 55-48 with 5:30 to go. The trey extended an individual run by Siegrist to 6-0. Harding (21 points, three assists) had been doing her best to keep it close for BYU with a three that cut it to 46-44 and two free throws that cut it to 49-48.

Siegrist scored nine points in the third quarter and the Wildcats gained a four-point advantage in the frame to enter the fourth up 44-41.

Down four with 4:34 to go in the third, Villanova received a triple from Lior Garzon to cut it to one. Siegrist then scored the final four points of the frame on a mid-range make and a spin move in the post.

Villanova opened the third quarter on a 5-0 run to go up 34-30, but BYU answered with a 10-2 run to go up 40-36. WCC player of the year Shaylee Gonzales (eight points, six boards, eight helpers, three steals) knocked down a three to give the Cougars a 35-34 lead and later made a backcourt steal turned layup that capped the run. Also included on the run was a nice trailer pass from Harding to Graham for a triple.

BYU was a nationally ranked team for most of the season and for the most part dominated the WCC before losing in the tournament final to Gonzaga. The Cougars weren’t able to regain momentum on Saturday.

No. 4 Arizona Wildcats over No. 13 UNLV Rebels, 72-67

Arizona won the fourth 24-14. An 11-0 was key for the Wildcats and ended with a 3-point play from Cate Reese that saw her get super hyped. Reese hadn’t played since Feb. 20.

Similar to what happened in the second quarter except in reverse, the Wildcats led by as much as six in the third, but UNLV kept it close before tying the game on a Desi-Rae Young free throw with 5:01 remaining in the frame. The Rebels then took the lead on a Alyssa Durazo-Frescas triple from the right corner at the 3:02 mark. The next time they took the lead was when Durazo-Frescase banked in a three that made it 51-48. Young then battled for a bucket inside to put UNLV up 53-48 entering the fourth.

UNLV led by seven twice in the second, but Arizona kept fighting back, refusing to allow the Rebels to build a comfortable lead. Finally, the Wildcats tied the game on a Shaina Pellington layup. Then, Sam Thomas made a monster block — her second of the game — with seven seconds remaining in the second and it led to Bendu Yeaney being fouled on a fast break. Yeaney made both free throws to put Arizona up 31-29 at the break.

The Rebels closed the first quarter on a 6-2 run and led 14-9 entering the second. Mountain West player of the year Desi-Rae Young led the team with six points and five boards in the opening frame.

UNLV opened the game up 8-3. Rebel Essence Booker scored first on a foot-on-the-arc shot and Reese answered with a triple. From there, UNLV went on a 6-0 run.

No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats over No. 8 Washington State Cougars, 50-40

Ayoka Lee went for 20 points and 15 rebounds as Kansas State Wildcats came back to defeat Washington State.

Lee made the play of the game when she split a double team in the post and made a fallaway shot that put Kansas State up 43-35. Washington State would answer with a 4-0 run, but would get no closer the rest of the way. Kansas State made 5-of-6 free throws and added an inside bucket from Serena Sundell to close it out.

Lee opened the fourth with a layup and Cymone Goodrich followed with a tear drop to make it 39-33 Wildcats.

Kansas State went on a 10-0 run from 8:28 in the third to 5:30 in the third to take a 29-28 lead. Brylee Glenn (14 points) scored seven of the 10 points on four free throws and a triple. Sundell also added a trey. Lee scored four points in the remainder of the third, entering the fourth with 12 points and 12 boards, and the Wildcats entered the fourth up 35-33.

Up 9-7, Washington State went on a 7-0 run, which was added on to a 9-2 run. Tara Wallack made a three from the right corner to make it 16-7. Kansas State would cut it to 17-15, but the Cougars went on a 7-2 run to end the second quarter and go up 24-17 at the break. Included in the 7-2 run was a catch-and-shoot three by Charlisse Leger-Walker (20 points) as she was turning to her left in the left corner.

Krystal Leger-Walker, known more for her distributing than her scoring, buried a deep three and made a reverse layup for five of Washington State’s first nine points, which came on a 9-0 run that made it 9-5 Cougars. Her younger sister and the team’s leading scorer, Charlisse, scored the other four points on a layup and two free throws.

Neither team scored for the first 1:51 of the contest. Emilee Ebert kicked off the scoring with a three for Kansas State and Lee followed with two free throws.

Ula Motuga hauled in 14 rebounds in defeat.

No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes over No. 11 Missouri State Lady Bears, 63-56

Ohio State received a scare from Missouri State, but Jacy Sheldon finished with 25 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals to lead the higher-seeded Buckeyes to victory.

Missouri State’s largest lead of the second half was four. Ohio State was able to keep it close until it took the lead late. The Buckeyes went on a 5-0 run capped by a difficult Sheldon layup in transition to take a one-point lead. They needed a left corner three from Taylor Mikesell to give them the lead again 44 seconds later. At that point there was 3:10 remaining.

The Lady Bears were within two with 41 seconds to go, but another Sheldon layup, this time with 29 seconds remaining, pushed the Ohio State lead to four. Free throws did the rest for the Buckeyes.

A flurry of steals allowed Ohio State to take the lead late in the second quarter. The first swipe of the stretch led to a Taylor Thierry layup and was followed by a backcourt steal and Sheldon layup that gave the Buckeyes a 25-24 lead. After the Lady Bears briefly retook the lead, Sheldon made a difficult layup to make it 27-26 Ohio State. She followed with a backcourt steal turned layup and Mikesell made it a five-point lead at the break when she took a mid-court turnover and turned it into a wide-open layup.

Sheldon and Braxtin Miller had four steals apiece in the first half and Sheldon led Ohio State with 11 points and three assists at the break.

Ifunanya Nwachukwu registered nine points and 17 rebounds in defeat.

No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners over No. 13 IUPUI Jaguars, 78-72

IUPUI was able to cut it to four on a Anna Mortag three with 27 seconds to go and on Rachel McLimore free throws with 14 seconds to go, but Taylor Robertons free throws with 12 ticks remaining iced it for the Sooners. Robertson made four threes for 22 points and her co-star, Madi Williams finished with 21 points. Macee Williams had 17 points, 13 boards and six assists in defeat.

No. 11 Princeton Tigers over No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats, 69-62

Ivy League player of the year Abby Meyers dropped 29 points for the Tigers, who eliminated a team coming off a win over tournament favorite South Carolina. Kentucky superstar Rhyne Howard led the Wildcats with 17 points and added eight rebounds.

No. 4 Tennessee Lady Volunteers over No. 13 Buffalo Bulls, 80-67

Buffalo led by two after one and trailed by just two at the break, but Tennessee was just too much to handle on the glass in the end, winning the rebound battle 55-38. Alexus Dye (18 points) and Tamari Key (16 points) each had 11 boards, whereas Rae Burrell notched 19 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. The fifth-leading scorer in the nation, Dyaisha Fair, posted 25 points, five boards, seven assists and two steals in defeat.

No. 5 UNC Tar Heels over No. 12 Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks, 79-66

UNC trailed by three at halftime and by two after three but won the fourth 25-10. Tar Heel sophomore Deja Kelly had her first signature Big Dance performance, improving on last year’s seven-point showing with 28. Zya Nugent had 26 points in defeat.

No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish over No. 12 UMass Minutewomen, 89-78

Notre Dame freshman Olivia Miles notched a triple-double in this one with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Maddy Westbeld, Maya Dodson and Dara Mabrey added 19 points, 18 points and 18 points, respectively. UMass got great scoring performances from Sam Breen (31 points) and Sydney Taylor (21 points).

No. 7 UCF Knights over No. 10 Florida Gators, 69-52

Playing without star Kiki Smith due to a knee injury, Florida was unable to keep up with the Knights, who won each quarter and pulled away for the comfortable victory. Brittney Smith led UCF with 26 points, Diamond Battles added 18 points and seven helpers and Masseny Kaba was good for 14 points and five rejections. Zippy Broughton had a solid 12-point, eight-rebound, six-assist outing in defeat.

No. 3 Indiana Hoosiers over No. 14 Charlotte 49ers, 85-51

Grace Berger notched 18 points, six boards and six helpers and Mackenzie Holmes added 19 points and eight rebounds as Indiana cruised. Octavia Jett-Wilson posted 19 points in defeat.

No. 3 Michigan Wolverines over No. 14 American Eagles, 74-39

Michigan led by just three after one but won the second 28-5. It was star player Naz Hillmon leading the way with 24 points, 11 boards and three steals.

No. 2 UConn Huskies over No. 15 Mercer Bears, 83-38

This game was highlighted by a third quarter that UConn won 20-0. The Huskies received a balanced scoring effort with Christyn Williams managing a team-high 23 points to go along with five rebounds, three assists and four swipes. Dorka Juhasz was also solid and notched the game’s only double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds). Paige Bueckers played 24 minutes and posted 12 points, five helpers and two steals.

No. 1 NC State Wolfpack over No. 16 Longwood Lancers, 96-68

NC State led by just four after one but won the second 23-6. Raina Perez led the Wolfpack with 16 points and Jakia Brown-Turner, Elissa Cunane, Jada Boyd and Diamond Johnson joined her in double figures. Tra’dayja Smith registered 25 points, six assists and two steals in defeat.