Here’s Part 3 of our roundup of Saturday’s action:
No. 5 seed Louisville Cardinals over No. 12 seed Drake Bulldogs, 83-81
Drake kept up with Lousiville in one of the tournament’s most balanced and competitive games, but failed to pull off the upset, falling 83-81 in the first-round matchup. Louisville could never pull away and victory was only secured when Drake’s Grace Berg missed a potential game-tying three in the closing seconds of the fourth. Hailey Van Lith was a big reason Lousiville keeps dancing: she had 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting. Guard Mykasa Robinson also had a big game with 14 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
No. 5 seed Oklahoma Sooners over No. 12 seed Portland Pilots, 85-63
The 5 vs. 12 matchups are notorious for upsets. Usually, an overrated middle-of-the-pack team from a big conference against a top team from a smaller conference. That recipe was there for Oklahoma vs. Portland, but Oklahoma proved they are legit. They dominated Portland from the jump and never took their foot off the gas, blowing them out by 18 points and, at one point, being up by as many as 27.
The Pilots struggled to get going offensively, shooting 15 percent from three on 19 attempts, while Oklahoma shot 36 percent from deep and 41 percent from the field. The Oklahoma guards were just too much for Portland to handle as four of the five players in double digits from the Sooners were guards, including Skylar Vann and Aubrey Jones, who did it coming off the bench. Oklahoma will now face off against UCLA on Monday night.
No. 3 seed Duke Blue Devils over No. 14 seed Iona Gels, 89-49
How far can the Duke Blue Devils go? If Saturday is any indicator, pretty far. The Blue Devils played a near-perfect game. They won the rebounding battle 43-14, won by 40 points and never trailed. Duke was able to dominate while clearing off their bench. Ten players played for at least 18 minutes and everyone saw the floor for at least a minute. Of the starters, Celeste Taylor and Elizabeth Balogun both stood out, scoring 13 points apiece, with Taylor shooting lights out from three, going 3-of-4 on the night.
No. 4 seed Texas Longhorns over No. 13 seed East Carolina Pirates, 79-40
Texas shut the door on East Carolina in the second quarter, outscoring the Pirates 22-9, and then nearly replicated that feat in the third, winning the frame 21-9. East Carolina freshman sensation Amiya Joyner did her best to protect the rim and produce (she ended the night with 10…
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