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Conference tournament recap Day 4: Rhyne Howard stays hot, leads Kentucky Wildcats to SEC Finals

Playing their third game in as many days, the Kentucky Wildcats upended the No. 18 Tennessee Lady Volunteers to advance to the SEC Tournament final, where they will face the No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks. Meanwhile, the No. 14 Indiana Hoosiers gave a hometown crowd something to cheer for in the Big Ten and the Miami Hurricanes continued their remarkable run in the ACC.

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel
Rhyne Howard continued her stellar SEC Tournament play on Saturday, scoring 24 points to lead Kentucky past Tennessee.
Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

It was a busy Saturday in Division I women’s basketball, full of big-time performances from some of the game’s biggest stars in their respective conference tournaments. When the dust finally settled, just two teams remained in the ACC, Big Ten and SEC Tournaments, setting up what promises to be an eventful and dramatic Sunday.

One of the biggest stories in the SEC Tournament thus far has been the play of the Kentucky Wildcats and their star, Rhyne Howard. The tournament’s No. 7 seed, Kentucky played its third game in three days on Saturday, but the Wildcats didn’t look fatigued in the least, knocking down 12 threes en route to an 83-74 upset of the No. 3 seed Tennessee Lady Volunteers. Kentucky will play the No. 1 seed South Carolina Gamecocks — who held off the No. 4 Ole Miss Rebels 61-51 — for the SEC Tournament championship.

Earlier in the day, the No. 7 seed Miami Hurricanes continued their own impressive run, defeating the No. 3 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish 57-54 in the ACC Tournament. The Hurricanes, fresh off an improbable victory over the No. 2 seed Louisville Cardinals, proved that they still had a little magic left in the tank, outlasting the Fighting Irish to earn a trip to the ACC Tournament championship, where they’ll play the No. 1 seed NC State Wolfpack. NC State handled a depleted No. 5 Virginia Tech Hokies team 70-55 to earn its own appearance in the tournament finals.

Finally, the Big Ten Tournament determined its two final teams: the No. 5 seed Indiana Hoosiers and the No. 2 seed Iowa Hawkeyes. The Hoosiers took down the Big Ten’s No. 1 seed, the Ohio State Buckeyes, 70-62 in front of a raucous Gainbridge Fieldhouse crowd; hours later, the Hawkeyes took care of business against the No. 6 Nebraska Cornhuskers, winning 83-66 behind a magnificent performance by Caitlin Clark (41 points).

Four conference tournaments will now play their championship games on Sunday, including the Pac-12 Tournament, which was not in action on Saturday. Each game will be televised nationally on the ESPN family of networks, starting at noon ET with the ACC Tournament finals.


Sunday schedule

ACC

No. 7 Miami Hurricanes vs. No. 1 NC State Wolfpack, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)

SEC

No. 7 Kentucky Wildcats vs. No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Big Ten

No. 5 Indiana Hoosiers vs. No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes, 4 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Pac-12

No. 6 Utah Utes vs. No. 1 Stanford Cardinal, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN2)