September 29, 2022

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NCAA Women's Championship: Creighton beats Iowa State to reach 16th

NCAA Women’s Championship: Creighton beats Iowa State to reach 16th

10th-ranked Creighton made her first round of 16, and she did so with a late drama worthy of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship.

Lauren Jensen, a freshman playing for Creighton after moving from Iowa State pre-season, shut the door to her former team at their home stadium in Iowa City with a last-minute three-pointer to help secure a 64-62 win over second-seeded hockey.

“I honestly didn’t know if she would come in,” Jensen said after the match. “It kind of vibrates from the back edge over there. It wasn’t very clean, but I’m glad it fell.”

Iowa was a popular selection for the Final Four, thanks mostly to the eye-catching play of sophomore guard Caitlin Clark. Clarke entered the game as Division I top scorer, averaging 27.4 points per game. Creighton kept her only 15 points on 4 of 19 shots, although, with 11 assists and eight rebounds, she almost earned a triple-double.

“I’m not going to sit here and make excuses for the way we play,” Clark said. “I think just going back and working harder than ever is really all I can do.”

Gabe Marshall’s Iowa minor, 3-pointer, put the Hawkeyes ahead less than seven minutes before the end of the fourth quarter — a lead that briefly made it look like Iowa had finally stabilized after trailing by as much as 12 points. Creighton only regained the lead when there were 12 seconds left in the match, on Jensen’s 3 index, which gave her 9 points in the final quarter.

“Those last few minutes must have been magical and special, and we are very proud of them and we are very proud that they are part of our programme,” said Creighton coach Jim Flanery.

The Hockey family had a few close-ups at the last second, but none were entered. “I’ve fired a million hook shots in my life, and that just happened to not get in,” Monica Czenano, who led Iowa State with 27 points, said after the game.

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Often prolific in attack, the Hawkeyes made just 35.7 percent of their attempts from the field to score their lowest home points total since 2016.

In 2021, they managed to ride Clark’s shot into the round of 16, losing to No. 1 ranked Connecticut. This year, the post-season ended in the second round, at the hands of a young group of Creighton players who held onto the lead for nearly 29 minutes from 40 minutes. from the match.

The Bluejays’ surprise win, before a crowd at Carver-Hawk Arena, was one of the few first and second round matches to be broadcast on ABC – mostly due to the uproar surrounding Clark, who reached the semi-finals in the Naismith Cup. National Player of the Year.

“It was the most private environment I’ve played in so far,” said Payton Protzky, a senior staff member at Creighton University.

Creighton outperformed the Hockeys by 15 times, which made shooting them a miserable thing. It was a balanced team effort that, in some ways, mirrored Creighton’s first-round win over 7-seeded Colorado. In that game, the Bluejays were also almost in control since receiving the information, and they didn’t feel overwhelmed when their opponent showed signs of life.

This is Flanery’s 20th season as a coach for Creighton, and the team’s fifth NCAA Championship appearance under him. In the round of 16, the Bluejays will play Iowa State’s No. 3 game winner against seeded 6th Georgia on Sunday night.

– Natalie Weiner

12th seed South Carolina will appear in the round of 16 after defeating 8th seed Miami, 49-33, on Sunday at home. But the victory did not come easily.

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Miami, which defeated NCAA No. 1 ranked Louisville, in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, held the Gamecocks to 8 of 28 from the field in the first inning. Hurricanes duo and triple team Aliyah Boston, the South Carolina star, defend time and time again as she struggles to find her rhythm.

But by the second half, the Gamecocks found their footing. Boston finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds to secure her 26th consecutive double-hit, leaving the field with a standing ovation in the last minute of the game. Camila Cardoso, who left Friday’s first-round match against Howard early with an apparent injury, returned with 11 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks.

A graduate forward, Miva Djaldi-Tabde of Miami led her team with 15 points – each from a 3-point pool. But while the hurricanes tried to keep up, their speed was sometimes outpaced, by multiple travel calls and 19 flips. At one point, they had more turnover than field goals.

Although it wasn’t a perfect game for South Carolina, it was enough to push it over the edge. Coach Dawn Staley recognized that Boston, who fired 4 of 15, wasn’t “making the shots you normally would,” but said it was a learning experience for the team.

“We didn’t play through Alia and didn’t shoot well,” Staley said after the match. “It’s a really good sign that we were able to play through that.”

In their second game of the NCAA Championship, the Terrapins once again seemed offensively unstoppable.

Their opponents netted a No. 5 Virginia Tech win in the first round, but No. 4 Maryland was able to neutralize the Florida Gulf Coast’s No. 12 trademark barrage of 3-point shots and prevent the Eagles from making their first trip to the round of 16 with an 89-65 victory.

“We’re all 100 percent healthy, and that’s how we’re expected to play,” Maryland Jr. Diamond Miller, who led the Terrapins with 24 points, said after the game. “We don’t expect to play any other way. That’s what you’ve been waiting for.”

Maryland’s roster has been limited by injuries and illness over the course of the regular season. Only three players were available for each practice and game, and three starters – including Miller – were among those who missed parts of the season.

“We just couldn’t have that continuity together,” Maryland coach Brenda Freese said after the game.

But now the Terrapins seem to be clicking in time, showing flashes of the attack that led Division I in scoring last season. What Maryland hopes to avoid now is a repeat of the way last season ended: a shock loss in the round of 16. The Terrapins will face either #1 seed Stanford or #8 Kansas on Friday.

“We’re not happy now just because we’re going to Sweet 16, where we were last year,” said Angel Reis, a sophomore in Maryland. “I just told them in the locker room, we don’t want the feeling that prevailed last year after the Sweet 16.”

Natalie Weiner