Sunday's women's roundup: Iowa in Sweet 16
Iowa City, Iowa — Iowa coach Lisa Bluder won't have to listen to any more talk about her inability to reach the Sweet 16.
Fifteen years after starting at Iowa, Bluder is finally headed to a regional semifinal.
Bethany Doolittle scored 22 points, Ally Disterhoft had 15 and Iowa beat 11th-seeded Miami 88-70 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, earning its first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1996.
Doolittle also had 11 rebounds and three blocks for the third-seeded Hawkeyes (26-7), who will meet Baylor in Oklahoma City on Friday.
With their season on the line, Iowa seemingly couldn't miss.
The Hawkeyes hit 18 of 24 second-half shots and used a late 15-3 run to complete an 18-0 season at home.
"I'm almost in disbelief right now. Not that we did it. We knew we were going to do it. We felt great about it. Just the way it happened," Bluder said. "We shot the ball well again. That's kind of our (thing)."
Jessica Thomas had 20 points for Miami (20-13). The Hurricanes lost six of their last eight games to close the season.
"We're quite young, and they got some great experience," Miami coach Katie Meier said. "The mental toughness; they were just sharper than us in key moments," Miami coach Katie Meier said. "Key plays where we did something that wasn't really smart … and (Iowa) never did something that wasn't really smart in the last 10 minutes."
The Hawkeyes had endured seven consecutive second-round exits since last reaching a regional semifinal 19 years ago. That included losses in each of the last two years in Iowa City.
This was by far their best shot at the Sweet 16 under Bluder, who has won 660 Division I games.
Iowa made the most of it.
The Hurricanes flummoxed the Hawkeyes at times with their athleticism and limited Iowa's outside looks. But Samantha Logic shook off a cold start with a layup just before the half, and Whitney Jennings hit an awkward jumper that put Iowa ahead 38-31.
The Hurricanes tried to get back into it behind star Adrienne Motley, who scored their first 12 points in the second half. But Dixon finally got going with a 3 and a layup to give Iowa a 60-50 lead.
Miami's comeback attempt was hampered when Motley picked up her fourth foul midway through the second half.
As Motley knelt on the sideline waiting to check back in, Alexa Kastanek hit a layup that made it a 77-63 game with five minutes to go.
Motley finished with 18 points after scoring 30 in Miami's upset win over Washington on Friday.
"Going to the Sweet 16 is something we've wanted to do since we've gotten here. Obviously it took four years, but we're happier than ever to do it right now," said Logic, a senior.
Oklahoma City Region
Baylor 73, Arkansas 44: Nina Davis scored 21 points, Niya Johnson had 12 assists to tie Baylor's career record and the No. 2-seed Lady Bears are headed to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the seventh year in a row. The Lady Bears (32-3) took control with a 30-7 run to finish the first half. Kristy Wallace added 13 points, while Alexis Prince had 11 and Johnson 10. Sune Agbuke, the lone Baylor senior, had 12 rebounds and a career-high eight blocks.
(At) Notre Dame 79, DePaul 67: Michaela Mabrey scored 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers, Taya Reimer and Brianna Turner added 14 points each for top-seeded Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish had a 51-32 rebounding edge, with Turner pulling down 11 rebounds and Reimer 10, and Notre Dame (33-2) held DePaul to 36 percent shooting to win their 19th straight to advance to the Sweet 16 for the sixth straight season. DePaul (27-8), which had won eight straight, fell a win shy of advancing to the round of 16 for a second straight season.
Duke 64, Mississippi State 56: Freshman Azura Stevens had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Elizabeth Williams scored 12 points in her final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium and Rebecca Greenwell added 17 with three 3-pointers for fourth-seeded Duke (23-10). The Blue Devils shot 52 percent, used a timely 26-5 run to build a 15-point lead and held on to earn a spot in the round of 16. They will play the Princeton-Maryland winner on Saturday in the regional semifinals.
Gonzaga 76, Oregon State 64: The No. 11 seed Bulldogs, paced by Emma Wolfram with a career-high 17 points, held off a furious late rally by No. 3-seed Oregon State. Gonzaga advances to the regional on its home court.
Dayton 99, Kentucky 94: Ally Malott scored 28 and Amber Deane added 23 to lead No. 7 seed Dayton to the upset of second-seeded Kentucky. Deane hit a 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining to send the Flyers (27-6) to their first Sweet 16. Kelley Austria made four free throws in the final 21 seconds and added 17 points for Dayton, which hit 11 3-pointers to help overcome 24 turnovers. The Wildcats (24-10) were without senior Azia Bishop, who was suspended by coach Matthew Mitchell for "failure to uphold team standards."
Texas 73, (at) California 70: Imani McGee-Stafford had 20 points and 11 rebounds while creating a daunting mismatch inside, and fifth-seeded Texas advanced to the program's first Sweet 16 in 11 years. Brooke McCarty scored twice on driving layups down the stretch on the way to 16 points, and Texas pushed the pace to force Cal into bad decisions.
A year after losing a tough second-round game on Maryland's home floor, the Longhorns insisted they would have no problem taking on the Golden Bears (24-10) with another feisty home crowd against them.
Now, they're headed to the Albany Regional and a potential date with two-time defending champion Connecticut.
Cal's Mercedes Jefflo scored with 1:30 remaining to cut the Texas lead to 64-60 before Kelsey Lang answered on the other end.
Lang added 14 points as Texas (24-10) took another impressive step under third-year coach Karen Aston.
South Carolina 97, Syracuse 68: Tiffany Mitchell and Alaina Coates each scored 14 and No. 1 seed South Carolina built a big first-half lead and cruised to its third Sweet 16 in four years. Aleighsa Welch added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Gamecocks (32-2), who turned an anticipated tight rematch into a runaway by halftime.
Eastern Michigan 69, Tulsa 59: Janay Morton and Cha Sweeney each scored 18 and combined for 10 assists to lead the Eagles into the third round of the tournament. EMU will play Southern Mississippi on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. At 24-12, Eastern has tied the school record for most victories in a season. Jamaica Bucknor added 12 points and nine rebounds.