For the second straight year, Florida Gulf Coast — seeded 12th again — upset a No. 5 seed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, this time handing Pac-12 champs Washington State a 74-63 defeat in Villanova, Pa., on Saturday.
FGCU (33-3) shot 55.6 percent from the floor and was led by the sharp shooting of Sha Carter, who poured in 24 points. Tishara Morehouse chipped in 16 points for the Eagles.
A season ago, FGCU upset Virginia Tech in the first round in College Park, Md. The Cougars (23-11) were the Eagles’ victims this time, as 16 points and 12 rebounds from Tara Wallack wasn’t enough to propel Washington State to its fifth straight win.
“This isn’t a one off,” Washington State coach Kamie Ethridge said. “This is what (FGCU coach Karl Smesko) does every year; wins 30 games and comes in under-seeded and plays just an unbelievably seasoned, tough game. It just felt like we didn’t quite get a handle of how to guard them.”
The Eagles advance in the Greenville 2 bracket and will face the winner of host and No. 4 seed Villanova and No. 13 Cleveland State on Monday.
Here are more results from the first half of Saturday’s action in the women’s NCAA Tournament.
GREENVILLE REGIONAL 2
No. 9 Miami 62, No. 8 Oklahoma State 61
The Hurricanes (20-12) completed the fifth-largest comeback in tournament history by erasing a 17-point deficit to top the Cowgirls (21-12) in Bloomington, Ind. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Haley Cavinder became the first Miami player since 2000 to have at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists in an NCAA Tournament game, finishing with 16 points, eight boards and six dimes.
“It was nerve-racking, but we finished the game strong,” Cavinder said. “Yeah, it was something I’ll remember forever.”
Anna Gret Asi led Oklahoma State with 16 points off the bench.
No. 1 Indiana 77, No. 16 Tennessee Tech 47
Powered by 19 points and eight rebounds from Sydney Parrish, the Hoosiers (28-3) won an NCAA Tournament game for the fourth straight season. The Golden Eagles (23-10) were led by 17 points and nine rebounds from Maaliya Owens in Bloomington, Ind.
Indiana played without All-American forward Mackenzie Holmes, who dressed but did not play due to knee soreness. Hoosiers coach Teri Moren said she feels “really good” about Holmes playing Monday.
SEATTLE REGIONAL 3
No. 12 Toledo 80, No. 5 Iowa State 73
The Rockets (29-4) took a seven-point lead into the second half and held on to it to upset the Cyclones (22-10). In what was her final game for the Big 12 champions, Iowa State’s Ashley Joens had 23 points and 13 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to defeat Toledo, which is advancing in the tournament for the first time since 1996.
Four Rockets scored in double digits, with Quinesha Lockett pouring in 24 points and 13 rebounds.
No. 4 Tennessee 95, No. 13 Saint Louis 50
Jordan Horston tallied 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists as the Volunteers (24-11) topped the Billikens (17-18) in Knoxville, Tenn. It was the first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance for Saint Louis, which won the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The Billikens were led by 17 points and nine rebounds from Brooke Flowers.
No. 3 Ohio State 80, No. 14 James Madison 66
Cotie McMahon scored 18 points as the Buckeyes (26-7) overcame a halftime deficit and held off the upset-minded Dukes (26-8) in Columbus, Ohio. James Madison led by 12 points after the first quarter and by three points at halftime, but Ohio State opened the third quarter with an 18-7 run to take the lead.
The Dukes — who would’ve been the first-ever No. 14 seed to upset a No. 3 in the women’s tournament — were steered by Kiki Jefferson’s 17 points and eight rebounds.
No. 2 UConn 95, No. 15 Vermont 52
Aaliyah Edwards shot 13 of 15 from the floor and scored a career-high 28 points as the Huskies (30-5) raced away from the Catamounts (25-7) in Storrs, Conn. Dorka Juhasz aided UConn’s efforts by providing a double-double of 15 points and 10 boards. Vermont was powered by Catherine Gilwee, who had 14 points.
No. 6 North Carolina 61, No. 11 St. John’s 59
Deja Kelly scored 18 points and scored the game-winning points — a lay-up and a free throw — with 2.3 seconds remaining as the Tar Heels (22-10) held off the upset-minded Red Storm (23-9). UNC led by as much as 12 points in the first half but allowed St. John’s to take a fourth-quarter lead during a nearly-four minute scoring drought for the Heels. Jayla Everett led the Red Storm with 17 points.
–Field Level Media
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