No. 9 seed Miami Hurricanes over No. 1 seed Indiana Hoosiers, 70-68
Miami’s Destiny Harden got too good of a look at 5.3 seconds remaining and with that combined with Chloe Moore-McNeil’s missed layup at 22.8 seconds remaining, Indiana was simply not going to win.
Freshman Yarden Garzon was as clutch as ever, knocking down a three from the left corner with 49.5 seconds remaining to tie the game at 65. But Moore-McNeil, after making a nice move to blow by her defender, missed the wide-open layup with the Hoosiers down 66-65. Making that would have given Indiana a one-point lead and the ability to dictate the remainder of the game.
Harden went 0-of-2 at the line at 21.2 seconds, keeping the game at 66-65. Grace “Miss Indiana” Berger, who you have to feel most bad for after this loss as it was her last college game and came well before the national championship game she had justifiable hopes of reaching, then missed a little floater in the paint. It wasn’t as egregious a miss as Moore-McNeil’s; Berger was a little rushed and the shot was just a bit too strong, going off the back of the rim.
Haley Cavinder, an 88.9 percent free throw shooter this year and a 97.3 percent free throw shooter last year at Fresno State (109-of-112), went 2-of-2 at the line after that to put Miami up 68-65 with 12.7 seconds left. After making the second free throw, Cavinder shushed the crowd at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Then the Hoosiers got a bit of luck when Garzon’s defender fell for a dribble toward the basket even though Indiana was likely going to take a three, allowing Garzon to step back and hit said three, tying the game at 68. Again, the freshman from Israel was ultra-clutch.
6.6 seconds were left on the clock for the Hurricanes. Then came Harden’s game-winner. The inbound pass was great because it went straight to Harden in the paint. She then stepped around Berger and put up the shot. It rolled on the rim, hit the backboard and fell in at 3.3 seconds.
Indiana no timeouts remaining. Moore-McNeil brought the ball up and reached the 3-point line with 0.9 seconds remaining. To be safe, she probably should have been preparing to shoot a three, but she may have also had enough time to get off a floater inside the arc if the ball hadn’t been stolen from her by Jasmyne Roberts just as she crossed the arc.
Down went another No. 1 seed.
Harden adds to her legacy with this game-winner. She also went on a 15-0 individual run before hitting a game-winning buzzer-beater in an ACC Tournament game last season.
You feel terrible for Indiana, but you have to feel good for Miami head coach Katie Meier, who is headed to her first Sweet 16 as a player, assistant coach or head coach. She made one tournament appearance as a player at Duke before going on to be an assistant at UNC Asheville and Tulane. In 2003, as Charlotte’s head coach, she took the 49ers to their first tournament. She has been to seven second rounds as Miami’s head coach, including back-to-back years as a No. 3 seed in 2011 and 2012 with now-WNBA champion Riquna Williams. Williams played in the 2011 second-round game, but not in the 2012 second-round game, as Miami had its heart broken by losing both contests.
No. 4 seed UCLA Bruins over No. 5 seed Oklahoma Sooners, 82-73
UCLA’s Charisma Osborne dropped 36 points, including a 7-of-7 effort at the free throw line over the final 24 seconds. She was 12-of-12 at the stripe on the night and added eight rebounds and four assists.
A 3-point play by Oklahoma’s Madi Williams cut it to six with 51 seconds remaining, but the Sooners were forced to foul soon after. Osborne iced the game with her free throws.
UCLA trailed by one entering the fourth and only led by four until Emily Bessoir free throws at 2:53 remaining made it a six-point game in its favor. Osborne made it an eight-point game at 2:20 with two freebies and then a 10-point game on a jumper in the paint at 1:49. The Bruins led by at least six the rest of the way.
UCLA led by seven after one and by 13 at the break before Oklahoma won the third 26-12.
Kiki Rice backed up Osborne with 14 points and Gina Conti added five helpers.
Williams posted 24 points and six assists in defeat. NCAAW 3-point shooting queen Taylor Robertson was held to 0-of-3 from beyond the arc. The rest of the Sooners were 7-of-14.
The teams combined to attempt 52 free throws.
The Bruins face a rematch of a regular-season game against undefeated No. 1 overall seed South Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen. They lost to the Gamecocks by just nine in that first meeting.