NCAA women’s roundup: Toledo’s takedown of Iowa State brings on Tennessee

AP photo by Wade Payne / Toledo's Quinesha Lockett drives against Iowa State guard Lexi Donarski during an NCAA tournament first-round game Saturday in Knoxville.

KNOXVILLE —The Toledo Rockets were already a confident group. Now the program's biggest victory in nearly three decades has them ready to see how far this ride can take them.

Quinesha Lockett scored 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as No. 12 seed Toledo knocked off No. 5 seed Iowa State 80-73 on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA tournament and the Seattle 3 Region.

"We're still dancing," Lockett said. "We're very excited. We just know we still have another game to play, and we're ready to keep playing. But I just know everybody is real excited, and we had a good time out there."

Senior guard Jayda Jansen said the Rockets, seeing the program's first Sweet 16 appearance, are not satisfied just to be here.

"Honestly, we're not scared of anybody," she said.

Next up for Toledo is the host team at their NCAA opening weekend site: No. 4 seed Tennessee, a 95-50 winner over 13th-seeded Saint Louis in the day's first game at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Lady Volunteers (24-11), whose eight NCAA championships trail only the Connecticut Huskies' 11, are in pursuit of their second straight Sweet 16 trip.

The Rockets (29-4) matched the program record for most wins for a second straight season by winning a program-record 17th straight game, topping the 16-game run of the 2000-01 team. They also posted their first NCAA tournament win since 1996 in their ninth tourney appearance overall and first since 2017.

Jansen finished with 17 points for Toledo, which used its athleticism to help smother Iowa State's shooters. Sophia Wiard added 15 points and Nan Garcia 12.

Iowa State (22-10) got within 78-73 on Denae Fritz's 3 with 29.4 seconds left. Toledo didn't have a basket after Lockett's layup with 3:35 to go, but the Rockets hit their last eight free throws over the final 63 seconds.

When Lexi Donarski's 3-point try was no good with 24 seconds left, Toledo got the rebound and Justina King dribbled and then just held the ball as the final seconds ticked off before the Rockets ran onto the court to celebrate.

The Cyclones came in as Big 12 tournament champs for the first time since 2001 after stringing together upsets of Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas, which all made the 68-team NCAA field. The Cyclones also had Big 12 player of the year Ashley Joens and were looking for a second straight Sweet 16 berth.

Instead, they headed home with their first loss in the opening round since 2017. Coach Bill Fennelly said he applauded Toledo, the program he led to three NCAA berths as head coach from 1988 to 1995.

"When you get into the NCAA tournament or any big game, especially, I've always said it's a make or miss shot game," Fennelly said. "And they made a lot of shots, and we missed a lot of shots. So credit to them, and certainly wish them the best moving forward."

Toledo coach Tricia Cullop called the win "bittersweet" coming against friends: "That was a tough handshake line."

Joens led Iowa State with 23 points and 13 rebounds, going 11-of-11 on free throws.

UConn 95, Vermont 52

STORRS, Conn. — Aaliyah Edwards scored a career-high 28 points, Dorka Juhasz had 15 points and 10 rebounds for her 13th double-double of the season, and No. 2 seed UConn routed No. 15 seed Vermont, giving the Huskies a 29th straight win in the NCAA's opening round.

Caroline Ducharme added 12 points for the Huskies (30-5), who reached the 30-win mark for the 26th time during Geno Auriemma's 38 years as coach. They'll face Baylor on Monday night.

Catherine Gilwee scored 14 points, while Maria Myklebust and Emma Utterback each had 13 for Vermont (25-7), which had won 17 straight games entering Saturday.

Baylor 78, Alabama 74

STORRS, Conn. — Ja'Mee Asberry scored 26 points, including three key free throws in the final minute, and No. 7 seed Baylor overcame an early 18-point deficit to beat No. 10 seed Alabama.

Sarah Andrews and Caitlin Bickle each added 14 for the Bears (20-12), whose rally tied for the third-biggest comeback in tournament history. Baylor closed the game on a 7-0 run, with all of those points scored at the foul line.

Brittany Davis tied a career high with 33 points for Alabama (20-11), which closed its season on a five-game losing streak.

Ohio State 80, James Madison 66

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Cotie McMahon scored 18 points to help No. 3 seed Ohio State pull away for a win over No. 14 seed James Madison.

McMahon made her team's first 3-pointer of the game with 5:18 left in the third quarter to give the Buckeyes (26-7) a 44-43 lead, and they didn't give up the advantage. They had trailed by as many as 16 in the first half before going on a 12-0 run.

Jacy Sheldon scored three of her 17 points during an 8-0 run by Ohio State at the start of the fourth quarter. Taylor Thierry scored 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting before fouling out, and Taylor Mikesell added 14 points.

James Madison (26-8) led 26-14 and was making 50% of its shots at the end of the first quarter. The Dukes shot 37.9% in the second half and turned the over 21 times, their most in 10 games. Kiki Jefferson led the Dukes with 17 points, and Jamia Hazell added 10.

North Carolina 61, St. John's 59

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Deja Kelly had a go-ahead three-point play with two seconds left, and No. 6 seed North Carolina hung on to hold off No. 11 seed St. John's.

The Tar Heels (22-10) faced their first deficit of the game when Danielle Patterson sank a 3 with 6:39 left to play.

The Red Storm (23-9) led for the next four-plus minutes until Paulina Paris was fouled in transition and made the ensuing free throw to tie the game at 54.

The score was tied twice in the final minute as Mimi Reid made a layup with six seconds left to knot the game at 58.

Kelly drove the left lane and made the free throw to complete the game-winning score. Patterson then was fouled after a timeout shooting a 3-pointer with just over a second left that gave the Red Storm one last chance.

She missed the first two free throws and then inexplicably made the third one, ending any chance the Red Storm had to tie and force overtime.


Colorado 82, MTSU 60

DURHAM, N.C. — Frida Formann scored 21 points and No. 6 seed Colorado unleashed a torrid 3-point shooting display to roll past No. 11 seed Middle Tennessee State University.

Jaylyn Sherrod added 13 points and Aaronette Vonleh had 11 points for the Buffaloes (24-8), who made 13 shots from beyond the 3-point arc. Seven Colorado players made at least one 3, led by Formann's 5-for-8 showing from long range.

Colorado is in the second round for the first time since 2013.

Anastasiia Boldyreva's 16 points, Savannah Wheeler's 15 and Kseniya Malashka's 13 topped the list for the Lady Blue Raiders (28-5), who had won 10 in a row.

The Buffaloes were making 3s pretty much from the opening tip — and they kept shooting them. After hitting seven from long range in the first half, they nailed four more in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the third quarter. Three of those came in a 54-second span, creating a 56-36 lead.

Duke 89, Iona 49

DURHAM, N.C. — Elizabeth Balogun and Celeste Taylor each scored 13 points, and No. 3 seed Duke marked its return to the Big Dance with a waltz.

It was the first NCAA tourney win for Duke since 2018, when it most recently had a spot in the big bracket. Duke has won at least one NCAA tourney game in all 25 seasons when it has been in the field.

Kennedy Brown and Jordyn Oliver added 10 points apiece as the Blue Devils (26-6) shot 57.1% from the field.

Ketsia Athias led No. 14 seed Iona (26-7) with 20 points, and Juana Camilion added 12.

Texas 79, East Carolina 40

AUSTIN, Texas — Shaylee Gonzales scored 20 points, and No. 4 seed Texas rolled over No. 13 seed East Carolina.

The Longhorns rallied from a poor start to the season to earn the role of host for the first two rounds, and they made quick work of the Pirates. Taylor Jones had 16 points, eight rebounds and five blocks for Texas (26-9).

Gonzales, a graduate transfer from BYU and last season's West Coast Conference player of the year, made three consecutive baskets in the opening minutes of the third quarter that pushed her over 2,000 points for her career.

Danae McNeal led East Carolina (23-10) with 13 points in the Pirates' first NCAA tourney game since 2007.

Louisville 83, Drake 81

AUSTIN, Texas — Hailey Van Lith scored 13 points over the final five minutes, including five in a row in the final 16 seconds, and No. 5 seed Louisville held off No. 12 seed Drake's frantic upset bid.

Van Lith's three-point play off a layup out of a timeout put Louisville (24-11) up by four before Drake (22-10) answered with a 3-pointer by Sarah Beth Gueldner. Van Lith then made two more free throws to all but seal the win for the Cardinals.

Van Lith finished with 26 points and Mykasa Robison scored 14 for Louisville.

A Final Four team last season, Louisville has a chance now to advance to the Sweet 16 for the sixth consecutive NCAA tourney.

Katie Dinnebier scored 20 points and Anna Miller added 17 for Drake.


Indiana 77, Tennessee Tech 47

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — All-America center Mackenzie Holmes started Indiana's NCAA title quest on the bench.

She doesn't intend to stay there long.

After watching Sydney Parrish score 19 points and grab eight rebounds, and seeing her replacement, Lilly Meister, add seven points and three blocks in the Hoosiers rout of Tennessee Tech, Holmes said she plans to return for Monday night's second-round game.

"It's something we had planned for a while. We're trying to be cautious after I got banged up in the Big Ten tournament," Holmes said. "I'm being evaluated day by day, and so we've got today, tomorrow, and then we'll see Monday."

Holmes missed eight games last season with an injured left knee and still wasn't 100% when the Hoosiers' postseason run ended in the Sweet 16. While she acknowledged it was frustrating to watch again Saturday, the Hoosiers really didn't need her to advance through the first round — though they might Monday against Miami, which beat Oklahoma State in Saturday's second game on the court.

With Parrish playing her role, Grace Berger adding 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks and Meister and Alyssa Geary splitting minutes in place of Holmes, Indiana (28-3) looked the part of a No. 1 seed over the final three quarters.

Maaliya Owens had 17 points and nine rebounds to lead the Golden Eagles (23-10), who had won their previous eight games, including a First Four victory over fellow No. 16 seed Monmouth. They just couldn't hold up against the bigger, stronger, deeper Hoosiers — especially in front of a boisterous crowd that topped the 14,000 mark.

The score was tied at 18 after one quarter, and with 6:53 to go before halftime, Tennessee Tech took a 22-20 lead on a layup by Anna Walker, who was a prep star at Bradley Central in Cleveland, Tennessee.

That's when the Hoosiers flipped the game. Meister tied the score with a layup, Lexus Bargesser broke free for back-to-back fast breaks, and when Berger made two free throws with 2:55 left in the first half, Indiana led 37-22. The hosts took a 39-27 lead into halftime, and the Lady Golden Eagles never got within single digits again.

Walker didn't have any other points but had three rebounds, an assist and a steal in 19 minutes. In Thursday's win against Monmouth, she had nine points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 23 minutes.

Miami 62, Oklahoma State 61

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Haley Cavinder scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half and made what proved to be the decisive free throw with 8.9 seconds left as the ninth-seeded Hurricanes pulled off a 17-point second-half rally to defeat eighth-seeded Oklahoma State.

The comeback was tied for the fifth-largest comeback in tourney history, but it wasn't over until Naomie Alnatas' 10-footer rolled off the rim at the buzzer after a five-second call on the Hurricanes (20-12).

Cavinder also had eight rebounds and six assists, while Jasmyn Roberts added 12 points and Destiny Harden had 11 points and five rebounds.

Anna Gret Asi led Oklahoma State (21-12) with 16 points and four 3-pointers, including one with 5.3 seconds to go that gave the Cowgirls a shot to win it.

FGCU 74, Washington State 63

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Maddie Antenucci's 3-pointer bounced four times before going through the net as part of her game-changing spree from beyond the arc that sent No. 12 seed Florida Gulf Coast University into the second round with a win over No. 5 seed Washington State.

Sha Carter scored 24 points and Tishara Moorehouse had 16 for the Golden Eagles (33-3), the ASUN tourney champions who will next face Villanova.

The Eagles sent the Shania Twain karaoke club out of Washington State (23-11) — the Cougars had made the country crossover star's material their soundtrack — home early after a surprising run to win the Pac-12 tournament. Tara Wallack led the Cougars with 16 points.

Villanova 76, Cleveland State 59

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Maddy Siegrist became the fifth women's player in NCAA history to score 1,000 points in a season, and the first-team AP All-American had 35 points to lead fourth-seeded Villanova (29-6) into the second round with a win over 13th-seeded Cleveland State.

Villanova's 29 wins this season tie the 1981-82 team for the most in program history.

The two-time Big East player of the year, Siegrist got hot early and reached her milestone 1,000th point in style. Siegrist followed her shot after she missed a jumper from the elbow, crashed the boards and stripped the ball from a Cleveland State defender who had grabbed the rebound. She tossed up a fadeaway and banked in the bucket.

Destiny Leo scored 25 points for the Vikings, the Horizon League tourney champs.


Oklahoma 85, Portland 63

LOS ANGELES — Aubrey Joens and Taylor Robertson scored 14 points apiece, and No. 5 seed Oklahoma took control in the third quarter to defeat No. 12 seed Portland.

Madi Williams added 13 points for the Sooners (26-6).

Alex Fowler led Portland (23-9) with 18 points, while Lucy Cochrane and Emme Shearer had 12 apiece. The Pilots were 3-of-19 on 3-pointers.

UCLA 67, Sacramento State 45

LOS ANGELES — Kiki Rice scored 15 points with three steals, Emily Bessoir added 14 with eight assists and Charisma Osborne had 11 with 12 rebounds, five assists and two blocks as the fourth-seeded Bruins beat No. 13 seed Sacramento State.

UCLA (26-9) was up 23-10 at the end of the first quarter and led 40-23 at halftime before taking a 54-34 advantage into the final period.

Isnelle Natabou scored 16 points on 8-for-12 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds for Sacramento State (25-8).