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Refs don’t do all they can to get call right; Utah wins anyway, advances to Sweet Sixteen along with Maryland

A review of whether the ball hit the rim or not did not include audio and therefore the incorrect call stood. It left one second on the shot clock for Utah on a fourth-quarter possession and may have cost it a basket. The Utes won anyway. Meanwhile, Diamond Miller’s likely farewell to XFINITY Center was full of Terpy goodness.

Princeton v Utah
Alissa Pili
Getty Images

The Utah Utes and Maryland Terrapins both advanced to the Sweet Sixteen on Sunday. Here are our recaps of their second-round games:

No. 2 seed Utah Utes over No. 10 seed Princeton Tigers, 63-56

With 4:44 to play, Utah’s Jenna Johnson went 1-of-2 at the free throw line and the Utes got the rebound after she missed her second attempt. Eventually they took a right corner three that went off the far rim and out of bounds. The refs left one second on the shot clock even after a review, because said review did not include audio and they ruled it was inconclusive. On the broadcast, the ball could clearly be heard hitting the rim.

Utah missed a desperation shot after inbounding the ball when they should have been able to run their offense and potentially score to go up seven or eight. Instead they remained up 54-49.

Clearly, the refs didn’t do everything in their power to get that call right in a crucial moment of an NCAA Tournament game. Audio must be included in official reviews.

Alissa Pili (28 points, 10 rebounds, three assists) hauled in her 10th board with 28 seconds remaining and it was a key defensive one that pretty much sealed the deal. Pili was immediately fouled and went 2-of-2 at the line to make it 61-52 Utes.

Grace Stone, Princeton’s hero from its first-round win over NC State, made a three at 19 seconds to cut it to six, but the Tigers would get no closer.

Princeton refused to go away all game long and cut it to 50-48 on Stone free throws with seven minutes remaining.

Johnson backed Pili up with 15 points, six boards and two steals. Ellie Mitchell was fantastic in defeat with nine points, 18 rebounds, three assists, two steals and three blocks. Kaitlyn Chen paced the Tigers with 19 points, while Stone added 16 on 4-of-13 shooting from outside.

The Utes held Princeton to just 27.8 percent shooting from the field and won despite a 1-of-15 effort from long range and 20 turnovers committed.

No. 2 seed Maryland Terrapins over No. 7 seed Arizona Wildcats, 77-64

Diamond Miller (24 total points) scored 20 points in the second half to lead the Terps to a fairly convincing win over Arizona that was more lopsided than the final score indicates. She added six rebounds, seven assists and three steals for a phenomenal stat sheet-stuffing performance.

Maryland came out on fire like it did against Holy Cross in the first round, but Arizona took control for a stretch and led by one at the break. In the third, the Terps came out determined and won the frame 29-9 to take a 19-point lead into the fourth.

After scoring just four points in the first half, Miller made a great play 2:05 into the third to get her team pumped up. Faith Masonius knocked the ball away from Arizona and Miller picked it up and took it the other way for a fast-break layup. She missed the awarded free throw, but Arizona tipped the rebound out of bounds and Miller eventually hit a three on the same trip down the floor. This five-point trip made it 39-33 Maryland.

It’s little effort plays like the one Abby Meyers made at the 6:09 mark of the third that keep runs going and prevent opponents from taking momentum away. She stole the ball in the backcourt right after an Arizona defensive rebound and went up for a layup attempt. She was fouled and made both free throws to make it 41-33.

Another key play in the third came when Miller made a nice pass to Shyanne Sellers for a transition layup that made it 51-37.

It was great day for another Maryland senior in addition to Miller. Both she and Masonius have stayed so loyal to the program and Masonius had 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting to go along with four boards, four helpers and two blocks. Sellers also played well with 15 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks. Brinae Alexander rounded out Maryland’s double-figure scorers with 12 points (two threes).

After struggling early, the Wildcats tied the game at 29 on a Lauren Fields three with 1:53 left in the first half. They then took the lead on a Cate Reese layup and a four-point lead (after trailing by as much as 12) on a Helena Pueyo steal-turned-Paris Clark transition layup. The Terps closed the half on a 3-0 run.

Arizona won the second 25-15. First, Maryland extended its lead to 12 on an Alexander three 32 seconds into the frame. The Terps would then lead 25-14 before the Wildcats went on a 10-0 run. It started with a Shaina Pellington drive and layup and continued with back-to-back Esmery Martinez layups. A Clark reverse layup at 3:51 in the second cut it to 25-22 and then Pellington scored in transition to cap the run.

Maryland looked really good in getting off to an early 10-point lead, but the Wildcats answered with a 6-0 run that cut it to 12-8. The Terps found a way to regain momentum going into the second, as an Alexander three off a Miller kick-out made it 17-8 after one.

Arizona turned the ball over on its first three possessions of the contest with a pass out of bounds, a shot clock violation and an offensive foul. Meanwhile, Sellers and Masonius hit from mid-range to make it 4-0 Terps and then Miller scored off a long pass-turned-transition layup to make it 6-0. Another Miller transition layup, this one off a Sellers steal and assist, made it 12-2 at the 5:31 mark of the first.

Martinez finished with eight points, 13 rebounds, three assists and two steals in defeat. Reese added 19 points and Pellington had 13 points and three swipes.