Sweet 16 women's roundup: Miami makes program history with tourney run

AP photo by Mic Smith / Miami's Jasmyne Roberts (4) celebrates after the Hurricanes beat Villanova in the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 on Friday in Greenville, S.C.

GREENVILLE, S.C. — The final horn sounded, and Katie Meier turned to start jumping and embracing her staff as players and cheerleaders sprinted past for a midcourt celebration.

The University of Miami women's basketball coach then made her way into the crowd to embrace players hollering with delight. Soon after that, Meier emerged through the other side to trade hugs and high-fives with a front-row section of Hurricanes fans.

An improbable and emotional ride to the program's first Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA tournament was worth sharing with as many people as she could.

"I can't believe it," Meier said afterward. "I'm not going to act cool. This is awesome."

Jasmyne Roberts scored a career-high 26 points — including a stick-back basket for the go-ahead three-point play with 38.8 seconds left — to help Miami overcome blowing a 21-point lead and beat Villanova 70-65 on Friday, pulling the program to within a win of the Final Four.

Miami had reached the Sweet 16 only once before, in 1992. Now the Hurricanes will play Sunday for the Greenville 2 Region title against third-seeded LSU.

The ninth-seeded Hurricanes (22-12) looked dominant while building a huge lead, wobbly while blowing it. But they hung on down the stretch after Villanova made its push back behind the latest high-scoring performance from AP first-team All-American Maddy Siegrist.

"I can't even explain the feeling really," Miami guard Haley Cavinder said.

The celebration said plenty. While Meier made her way to the fans, Roberts stayed locked in a firm and emotional embrace with teammate Ja'Leah Williams. The sophomore guard picked a perfect time to come through with a huge performance by making 10 of 16 shots and all six of her free throws while pulling down nine rebounds.

"Cool Hand Luke is her new nickname. She doesn't even know that movie," Meier said, referencing the Paul Newman film released more than three decades before Roberts was born.

Siegrist, the nation's scoring leader, had 31 points, 13 rebounds and five steals for fourth-seeded Villanova (30-7). It marked her third 30-point outing in as many tournament games, pushing her to the No. 2 single-season scoring total in Division I history.

Yet it wasn't enough down the stretch, with Siegrist coming up empty in a couple of key moments late. The first came when she posted up Destiny Harden inside, but a quality look on a turnaround hit the backboard before coming off the rim with her team down just 67-65.

Moments later, after a Miami free throw, Siegrist missed from the other side of the lane as Villanova had a chance to extend the game. Instead, the Hurricanes secured the rebound and Roberts hit the clinching free throws with 11.1 seconds left for a two-possession lead.

Consider it the latest chapter in a wild NCAA novel for the Hurricanes. They first rallied from 17 down to beat Oklahoma State, then Harden hit the late shot to win at No. 1 seed Indiana and get them back to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 31 years.

Now they have a chance to play for — and celebrate — a whole lot more.

LSU 66, Utah 63

Alexis Morris hit two free throws with 10 seconds to play as the Tigers (31-2) beat second-seeded Utah (27-5) and reached the Elite Eight for the first time since 2008.

Down 64-63, the Utes had a chance to go back in front, but Jenna Johnson — a near 75% foul shooter — missed both attempts at the line with 4.7 seconds to go. Utah's Dasia Young had her hands on the rebound, but LSU's Sa'Maya Smith took it away.

Morris added two more foul shots for a three-point lead. The Utes had a final chance, but Young's 3-point try from the left corner hit the side of the backboard as time expired.

LaDazDazhia Williams scored a season-high 24 points and Angel Reese had her 30th double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds for LSU. Morris finished with 15 points.

LSU, in its second season under coach Kim Mulkey, hadn't advance this far since reaching the Final Four 15 years ago.

Gianna Kneepkens led Utah with 20 points. Alissa Pili, a second-team AP All-American, scored 14 but took just eight shots as LSU denied her the ball.

Iowa 87, Utah 77

SEATTLE — Caitlin Clark scored 31 points and No. 2 seed Iowa (29-6) shook off the disappointment of the past two seasons to reach the Elite Eight in the Seattle 4 Region.

After two straight NCAA tournaments in which Clark's season ended in the Sweet 16 and the second round, the Hawkeyes will next play for a chance at just the second Final Four berth in school history. They'll face No. 5 seed Louisville on Sunday.

Clark was the catalyst for Iowa's big second half, and the first-team All-American finished 11-of-22 with four 3-pointers and eight assists. It was her 11th game this season scoring at least 30 points, but she had plenty of help.

Monika Czinano added 15 points, including a key basket in the paint with 1:10 remaining, Kate Martin scored 16 and McKenna Warnock had 10. Iowa shot 54% for the game and 59% in the second half.

Frida Formann led Colorado (25-9) with 21 points, but 19 of those came in the first half as her shooting carried the Buffaloes. She was shut down in the second half and fouled out with 6:37 remaining.

Louisville 72, Ole Miss 62

Hailey Van Lith scored 21 points to help the Cardinals (26-11) beat No. 8 seed Ole Miss

It's the fifth consecutive year that Louisville reached at least the Elite Eight.

The Rebels (25-9) hadn't advanced this far since 2007, when the team made its fifth Elite Eight in program history. They were looking to become only the second No. 8 seed to reach a regional final, joining Southwest Missouri State, which did it in 1992.

Their defense under coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin had been so good in the first two games of the tournament, keeping both Gonzaga and No. 1 seed Stanford to fewer than 50 points in each game.

Louisville reached that mark by the end of the third quarter on Merissah Russell's 3-pointer. That gave the Cardinals a 52-42 lead — their biggest to that point — and it came shortly after Jones' three-point play extended a 46-40 lead to nine.

The Cardinals played their own stout defense for the second game in a row. The Cardinals held host Texas to 51 points in the second round.

Ole Miss cut its deficit to 58-53 with 2:32 left before Van Lith hit a shot in the lane to stem the Rebels' run. After Myah Taylor made the first of two free throws, Olivia Cochran had a three-point play with 2:17 left to make it 63-54 and pretty much seal the victory.

Marquesha Davis and Taylor each scored 19 points to lead Ole Miss.