The Sweet 16 of the women’s basketball tournament 2021 has been announced. Is it a March madness of the chalk – all seeds No. 1 and No. 2 that have advanced to the regional semifinals – or one of the problems – six teams that were placed in 5th place or lower are also playing.
This is the third consecutive NCAA tournament that the first eight seeds have reached the Regionals, but the first time since 2013 that up to six teams outside the first four seeds have come this far.
The Big Ten is the story of the field. The SEC started with six teams in the top 16, but only two. For the first time in the history of the conference, four Big Ten teams rose to the Women’s Sweet 16. Michigan is making its first trip. Indiana is returning for the first time since 1983. Maryland and Iowa were here in 2019, but with very different teams.
All four Big Ten teams have been recruited in our updated Sweet 16 leaderboard.
1. Stanford Cardinal (Original seed: No. 1. Seed: No. 1)
The Cardinal’s second-round profit margin wasn’t as big as the other # 1 seeds on this list, but it was impressive and had all the makings of a Stanford win. The cardinal led halfway at 15 and put the game on cruise control. Eight different players scored a goal, four in the double-digit range. Stanford held Oklahoma State star Natasha Mack at 13 points, their lowest total since Jan. 2. Haley Jones led the team in the standings (17 points) for the first time in over a month that she had done so. And Stanford’s versatility was evident: Tuesday’s win marked the sixth time in seven games that the Cardinal had another top scorer.
2. UConn Huskies (Original seed: No. 1. Seed: No. 1)
The Huskies bring trainer Geno Auriemma back from his COVID-19 quarantine for the Regionals and in time for the Freshmen Fest, the coveted and highly anticipated meeting of rookies Caitlin Clark from Iowa and Paige Bueckers from UConn. In the second round, the huskies systematically dissected the Syracuse zone and kept the orange at 28% shooting. Bueckers’ 20 points broke the ground, but it’s another newcomer, 6-foot-3 Aaliyah Edwards, who continues to show up. In UConn’s first two NCAA tournament wins, she averaged 18.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. Edwards started for the third time this season on Tuesday when his student colleague Nika Mühl paused from winning the first round of UConn after an ankle injury.
3. South Carolina Gamecocks (Original seed: No. 1. Seed: No. 1)
A year ago, the Gamecocks were the most dominant team in the country but lost their chance to be billed as favorites when the 2020 NCAA tournament was canceled. This year, South Carolina remains one of the favorites and is just as dominant on the defensive. Mercer and Oregon State scored just 34.4% on the two victories in South Carolina. The 95 combined points the Gamecocks allowed in the first two rounds was the lowest total of two games a team has given up in the tournament. They sparkled especially against the beavers. Oregon State is the third most accurate 3-point shooting team in the country, but was only 3 out of 19 on Tuesday, and Beavers’ 42 points were a season low. South Carolina’s own 3-point shooting (4-29 in two games) could be cause for concern.
4. Baylor Lady Bears (Original seed: No. 2. Seed: No. 1)
It was tempting to move the Lady Bears even higher. They were probably the most impressive team in the NCAA tournament to date. Starting seeds does play a role in this reseeding exercise, however, and it’s not as if Stanford, UConn, and South Carolina didn’t also dominate. That leaves Baylor fourth overall. Coach Kim Mulkey believes her defense is currently number one and exclaims after beating Virginia Tech in the second round on Tuesday, “This is as impressive a defense as I have ever been on the floor in an NCAA tournament game, maybe all mine. ” Coaching. “
Baylor is one of the best defensive teams in the country this season, leading the nation in percentage field goal defense. So it’s no surprise to have a game where a good Hokies offensive only shoots 30%. But it’s nothing new to the Lady Bears either. The 2019 national team and last year’s 28-2 national team have also outperformed the country, allowing opponents to shoot only 31%. Baylor scores 82.6 points per game but really wins on defense.
5. Maryland Terrapins (Original seed: No. 2.Reseed: No. 2)
Maryland, the conference’s regular season and tournament winner, leads the indictment for the Big Ten. The terps also lap much of the field when it comes to crime in San Antonio. Some of the winning points in Wednesday’s games were 64, 57 and 53. Maryland defeated Alabama 100-64. In the history of the women’s NCAA tournaments, only three other teams have scored at least 98 points in their first two tournament games (Notre Dame in 2018, Stanford in 1989, and Long Beach State in 1988). Against the Crimson Tide, the Terps shot 62% off the field and let two players lead off the bench – Angel Reese (19 points) and Faith Masonius (16 points). There are goal scorers everywhere in their rotation.
6. NC State Wolfpack (Original seed: No. 1. Seed: No. 2)
On Tuesday in the second round, the Wolfpack played without starter Kayla Jones. Star Center Elissa Cunane had another day off. They only won two of the four quarters against South Florida. Even so, they beat a team with a double-digit title in the regular season and conference tournament on its resume. Toughness and talent reign again for NC State. Jones injured his knee in the first round and her status for the Regionals is uncertain. Cunane is now only 6 out of 22 with two 12-point games in the NCAA tournament. The term “survival and progress” began in Raleigh with the men’s team and Jim Valvano. With Jones out and Cunane in trouble, that’s exactly what the wolf pack needs to do.
7. Louisville Cardinals (Original seed: No. 2.Reseed: No. 2)
On Wednesday, the Cardinals allowed their most points in the first quarter of the entire season (25) and the 10 they scored marked their lowest performance to start a game in 2020-21. Her 18-point deficit was also the biggest of the season. Yet the Cardinals cleared everything to beat Northwestern 62-53 and hit the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive NCAA tournament. After their nine field goals and 25 points in the first quarter, the Wildcats only scored 11 field goals and scored 28 points in the last 30 minutes. Louisville doesn’t have defensive worries, but it could have concerns about Dana Evans. Since the start of the ACC tournament, the senior star has shot 30% off the field and averages 13 points per game. That’s after 18.1 PPG and 45% shooting in the regular season. Louisville’s newcomers took the lead against Northwestern. Hailey Van Lith and Olivia Cochran each had 13 points as Louisville made the third-largest comeback in the history of women’s NCAA tournaments.
8. Texas A&M Aggies (Original seed: No. 2.Reseed: No. 2)
After beating the overtime buzz against Iowa State, Jordan Nixon said the trust of her teammates and coaches was key to her success at College Station. She gave them a good reason. Nixon was the Texas A&M top scorer in both NCAA tournament games, scoring 35 points while playing the Cyclones every 45 minutes. The Aggies only led in extra time and coach Gary Blair, who doubled that confidence, didn’t call for time out for final possession, but left Nixon to work on the road to get a runner off the glass to win him. Two wins for a total of six points have kept Texas A&M alive. The Aggies also survived a 32-point game by Ashley Joens of the State of Iowa, who leaves in two games with the tournament’s top 65 total points.
9. Arizona Wildcats (Original seed: No. 3.Reseed: No. 3)
The wildcats may not have perfected the art of ugly winning, but they did visit the museum. No matter. Arizona battled for a 52:46 second-round win over BYU to reach the second Sweet 16 in school history – and head coach Adia Barnes was a senior star for the Wildcats on the first trip. That has been the goal since her return to Tucson in 2016. Aari McDonald arrived in 2017 as a transfer from Washington (where Barnes had been an assistant) and the two have teamed up to revive the program. McDonald, a senior twice Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, scored 17 points and led a defense that led BYU’s standout guard duo of Paisley Harding and Shaylee Gonzales to a combined 6-of-22 off the field.
Grace Berger brings up 17 points as she helps Indiana beat Belmont in a 70-48 win.
10. Indiana Hoosiers (Original seed: No. 4.Reseed: No. 3)
Some teams, players, and storylines simply get more exposure than others in the NCAA tournament. It’s a great individual achievement, high-score game, or buzzer beater that attracts the most interest. Indiana didn’t benefit from it. With little fanfare, the Hoosiers have done their business better than the crew Gene Hackman had at Hickory and are exactly where they wanted to be at the start of the season. If Big Ten partner Maryland is the offensive team of the tournament, Indiana will receive the defensive award. The terps scored 100 in one game. Indiana has allowed a total of 80 in two. They are a first team in a league known for their goal. That’ll only keep you under the radar that long.
11. Iowa Hawkeyes (Original seed: No. 5.Reseed: No. 3)
Iowa is more than just Caitlin Clark. With some games, she just makes it hard to prove. Her 24 points in the first half in the second round on Tuesday were more than that of the entire Kentucky team. Clark’s 35 total points and six 3-point are both Iowa school records in an NCAA tournament game. To get their third sweet 16 in six years, the Hawkeyes stuck to the formula that has been successful all season: in their first 27 games, they averaged 86.6 points per game at 51.5% shooting. In two NCAA tournament games, the numbers are 86.5 and 52.3. And Clark, the nation’s leading goalscorer, is quick to share the praise and the ball, especially with junior Monika Czinano, who leads the nation in percentage of field goal. “She has great hands, great vision, she knows when the ball is coming even if I’m not looking directly at her,” said Clark. “I want to give her the ball at every opportunity.”
Elle Ruffridge catches fire in the fourth quarter hitting four 3-pointers to lift the state of Missouri above the state of Wright.
12. Missouri State Lady Bears (Original seed: No. 5.Reseed: No. 3)
Someone on the Missouri State program probably spent several long hours watching a video of Wright State’s victory over Arkansas. Angel Baker carried the Raiders into the biggest surprise of the tournament. The Lady Bears did not allow this twice. Baker’s output rose from 26 to 10 points. Without Baker, Wright State had no other options. The state of Missouri was effective from the 3-point range (8 of 16) and the free-throw line (14 of 17), and that was good enough for a 64-39 win, the fewest points the Lady Bears have allowed one NCAA tournament game. This is a second straight Sweet 16 trip and two wins from a Final Four marking the 20th anniversary of Jackie Stiles’ memorable 2001 run.
13. Michigan Wolverines (Original seed: No. 6.Reseed: No. 4)
Naz Hillmon usually drives all Michigan basketball entertainment. Perhaps the wolverine’s defense should have received as much attention. After finishing fourth in the Big Ten in points (that’s a conference with three of the ten highest-scoring teams in the country), the Wolverines have demonstrated their defensive strength and versatility in San Antonio. No team faced such different offensive opponents and flourished so strongly. The Florida Gulf Coast led the country with 3-point field goals per game, but the Eagles shot 9 in the first round of 29. Tennessee was second in the SEC on offensive rebounds and doesn’t have a starter shorter than 6-1 , but the Wolverines outperformed the Lady Vols 42-40. Michigan held both 17 points below their season average on the way to the program’s first Sweet 16 appearance.
14. Texas Longhorns (Original seed: No. 6.Reseed: No. 4)
Vic Schaefer knows the formula after serving as the head coach of the Sweet 16 four times in the state of Mississippi. He just had to teach his longhorns all of his elements. Consider the lesson learned. The Texas Guards made it big when Celeste Taylor scored 24 points, Kyra Lambert had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Joanne Allen-Taylor added 16 points. In the final game of the second round, Texas defeated UCLA 71-62 with the number 3 and finished sixth with the number 5 or higher to reach the sweet 16. The Longhorns got out quickly and kept the Bruins on 14 points in the first half. Maryland is next, and the formula to beat the terps will require more from star center Charli Collier, who had five points and five rebounds on Wednesday.
Nyara Sabally scores buckets of three direct possessions to push Oregon past Georgia.
15. Oregon Ducks (Original seed: No. 6.Reseed: No. 4)
Maybe the ducks just needed a break. After losing to Oregon State in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament – the Ducks’ fifth loss in six games – Oregon had 18 days off until the NCAA tournament began on Monday. Now the ducks have two wins and a Sweet 16 place. And who could have guessed in November that this would be the defense that would take the lead in a 57:50 loss to Georgia and hit a season low in points for the SEC’s third-placed finishers. Sedona Prince was known for shedding light on the inequalities between the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments, but Wednesday was all about their two-way game. Prince, a Texas transfer who has battled injuries throughout his career, hit their season high of 22 points, five rebounds and four blocks.
16. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Original seed: No. 5.Reseed: No. 4)
Nothing like a second round NCAA tournament to find your shot. Georgia Tech finished third in the ACC and got number 5 for its defense. But the 54:52 extra time win over Stephen F. Austin in the first round came because the yellow jackets went stop after stop in the second half. The offensive ultimately contributed to an impressive 73:56 victory over West Virginia. A team that ranked 13th in the ACC and shot 41.3% in the regular season shot more than half of their shots against the climbers and scored the most points since February 2nd. The defense was great too, keeping West Virginia All-American Kysre Gondrezick to just three points.