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NCAA Tournament Day 4 recaps: Notre Dame puts forth most dominant performance ever by a lower seed

The No. 5 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish showed just how talented they are as Dara Mabrey, Sonia Citron, Maya Dodson and Olivia Miles played their roles to perfection.

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Oklahoma
Dara Mabrey (with ball)
Photo by Alonzo Adams/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Dara Mabrey, freshman Sonia Citron and Maya Dodson all scored 20-plus and freshman Olivia Miles flirted with a second consecutive triple-double as the No. 5 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish knocked out the No. 4 seed Oklahoma Sooners 108-64 Monday at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

Mabrey (29 points, 7-of-12 from distance) made five threes in the first quarter to help Notre Dame sprint out to a 35-12 lead and the Irish never looked back.

A deep three, followed by two more threes and a bank-three comprised a 12-0 individual run for Mabrey that brought the score to 25-7 Notre Dame. Her fifth trey made the score 31-11.

The Fighting Irish kept their foot on the pedal in the second. Four minutes and 59 seconds in, Miles, who in the first round became the first men’s or women’s freshman with a triple-double in the NCAA Tournament, made a nice play by waiting until the last second to pass it to Citron in transition and Citron converted on a 3-point play to make it 46-18 Irish. Oklahoma was sprinkling in threes here and there, including two fadeaways from Big 12 history’s most prolific 3-point shooter, Taylor Robertson, but it wasn't enough to keep pace. Notre Dame went on to lead 60-25 at the break.

Citron (11-of-11 from the line) finished with 25 points, six rebounds, three assists and four steals, Dodson had 20 points, two steals and three blocks and Miles was good for nine points, seven boards, 12 helpers and three steals. All of Notre Dame stars played their roles to perfection.

No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes over No. 3 LSU Tigers, 79-64

Jacy Sheldon made her signature drives and finishes en route to 23 points and Taylor Mikesell was 4-of-7 from deep with 18 points for Ohio State, which opened the third quarter on a 13-2 run to take a 47-28 lead. It was in control of the flow throughout the run, but Mikesell’s deep three to cap it truly shifted the feel of the contest as suddenly LSU was in danger of getting routed.

The Buckeyes went on to lead by as much as 24 in the third following back-to-back threes from Sheldon, who had missed her first three attempts.

The Tigers cut it to 11 in the fourth, but were unable to get any closer. Their star player, Khayla Pointer, attacked the basket throughout the final frame and throughout the game, but missed too many tough layups and free throws for LSU to come out victorious. Pointer was phenomenal without a doubt, but needed 30 shots to get to her 32 points and was 7-of-13 at the stripe.

Sheldon added eight assists.

Down 8-4, Ohio State closed the first quarter on an 11-0 run. Sheldon made two fast break layups and a third layup and Mikesell buried a three on the run.

Mikesell finished the first half 2-of-3 from deep and Rebeka Mikulasikova was 2-of-2 as the Buckeyes built their lead as high as nine in the second frame. Pointer was making some nifty passes and layups and Jailin Cherry was hitting her mid-range shots to keep LSU close. The Tigers trailed 34-26 at the break.

Pointer opened the game with a three and later stole the ball from Mikesell near mid-court for a fast break layup that made it 8-4 LSU.

No. 1 NC State Wolfpack over No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats, 89-57

Kayla Jones scored 18 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists, while Raina Perez had 15, six and four for NC State. Diamond Johnson (15 points) went 2-of-2 from distance in the fourth to help extend the Wolfpack lead to as much as 35. She was 5-of-5 from out there in the contest.

Down 9-3 in the first quarter, the Wolfpack went on a 13-2 run that featured five points apiece from Camille Hobby and Jones and a three from Perez. That gave them a five-point lead, which was only a four-point lead entering the second after Perez missed a three at the buzzer.

The momentum may have stalled, but the run extended to 28-6 in the second quarter. Kai Crutchfield banked in a deep two and later made three throws after being fouled beyond the arc. Johnson then highlighted the run with a steal followed by a 3-pointer on the other end that made it 29-15 Wolfpack. A Perez short fadeaway jumper capped the run and made the score 31-15.

Johnson picked up her second steal of the game, this one in the backcourt, and made a pass to Jones for a layup that made it 35-20. The Pack then took their largest lead of the game to that point on a Johnson three 31 seconds later. NC State led by as much as 20 in the second, but a Rebekah Dallinger triple cut it to 16 entering halftime.

The Wildcats cut it to 13 on an Emilee Ebert trey 33 seconds into the third, but NC State would go on to lead by as much as 27 in the frame on a Perez three.

Ayoka Lee had the edge on Elissa Cunane early with a block on the ACC star followed by her drawing Cunane’s second foul 3:23 in. Lee made the ensuing free throws to put K-State up 9-3. Cunane played just three minutes in the opening frame and finished with just 13 minutes and four points.

Wildcat Serena Sundell (10.4 points per game), who scored just five points in the first round, opened the scoring with a three eight seconds in. She then matched her total from Saturday with a layup that made it 7-3 Wildcats at the 7:48 mark of the first. She finished with 17 points.

No. 4 Tennessee Lady Volunteers over No. 12 Belmont Bruins, 70-67

At the buzzer, Belmont’s Destinee Wells got off a an uncontested shot, albeit from well beyond the 3-point line and on the run, and it hit the backboard but did not fall.

Tennessee had been down three with 3:27 to go and was down two until freshman Sara Puckett made a gutsy three from the left corner with 18 seconds left. Tamari Key then made two free throws with nine seconds remaining to increase the lead to three. She only made 1-of-2 with three ticks to go, but the Lady Vols held on anyway.

Tennessee led by six after one and by 12 at the break before losing the third by 10.

Alexus Dye starred for the winners with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Wells notched 22 points, six boards, four assists and two steals in defeat.

No. 3 Indiana Hoosiers over No. 11 Princeton Tigers, 56-55

Aleksa Gulbe sunk two clutch free throws with a second left to make it a two possession game and render Abby Meyers’ three at the buzzer meaningless.

Indiana’s largest lead of the game was 14 with 6:16 to go in the third. Starting then, Princeton went on a 13-2 run to close the gap to three.

Grace Berger paced the Hoosiers with 15 points to go along with seven rebounds. I

Indiana is now advancing to the Sweet Sixteen for the second time ever and the second time in a row. It went on to the Elite Eight last year by upsetting No. 1 seed NC State.

No. 2 UConn Huskies over UCF Knights, 52-47

Azzi Fudd’s first of two free throw makes with 15 seconds left made it a two-possession game and the Huskies, who felt they underachieved last year when they lost in the Final Four, survived nearly missing out on the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1993. Had UConn made it to the Sweet Sixteen in ‘93, it would have been the program’s second trip.

The Knights trailed by 12 with 4:52 to go before going on a 9-0 run. They led by six after one.

Fudd, a freshman, stepped up big-time in this game. As the No. 1 recruit in the nation, her addition to the squad was the reason UConn entered this season as a national championship contender. Her picking up the slack for reigning national player of the year Paige Bueckers (nine points) with 16 points was huge.

No. 5 UNC Tar Heels over No. 4 Arizona Wildcats, 63-45

Kennedy Todd-Williams posted 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals for UNC, another ACC No. 5 seed that impressed on Monday. Alyssa Ustby added 12 points, 11 boards, four helpers, four swipes and two blocks and Deja Kelly had 15 points.

No. 3 Michigan Wolverines over No. 11 Villanova Wildcats, 64-49

Naz Hillmon delivered a stellar performance with 27 points, 11 boards and five steals for the Wolverines, who also advanced to their second-ever Sweet Sixteen and second in a row. They took No. 2 seed Baylor to overtime in last year’s Sweet Sixteen.

Hillmon’s co-star Leigha Brown added 20 points. Villanova led by three after one.