Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and Texas A&M’s Jordan Nixon starred in the Round of 32.
By Alex Holmes
The field of 64 is now down to 16. Texas A&M performed another successful escape act and Baylor might be the best team remaining. Caitlin Clark, Sedona Prince, and Jordan Nixon headlined the Round of 32 with all-star performances. Going into the Sweet Sixteen, the seeding matchups are identical in the Alamo, Hemisfair, and River Walk regions. The top four seeds advanced in the Mercado region. Here are the highlights from round two of the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Top-seeded Stanford kept eight-seeded Oklahoma State at arm’s length and defeated the Cowgirls 73–62 behind a balanced attack. Four Cardinal players scored in double figures, led by sophomore Haley Jones.
Sedona Prince and Nyara Sabally powered No. 6 Oregon past No. 3 Georgia 57–50. Prince scored 22 points and Sabally recorded 15 points and 9 rebounds in the upset.
Fifth-seeded Missouri State’s Elle Ruffridge notched a season-high 20 points and Jasmine Walker’s double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds helped the Lady Bears cruise past No. 13 Wright State.
No. 2 Louisville overcame an 18-point deficit to defeat No. 7 Northwestern. Four players scored in double figures for the Cardinals. Kianna Smith scored 16 points and Olivia Cochran scored 13 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.
No. 1 South Carolina dominated the glass against No. 8 Oregon State, outrebounding the Beavers 50–32. Aliyah Boston led the Gamecocks with 19 points and 7 rebounds.
Fifth-seeded Georgia Tech overcame a slow start to beat No. 4 West Virginia 73–56 behind Lotta Maj-Lahtinen’s 22 points and Lorela Cubaj’s 21 points and 12 rebounds. The Yellow Jackets advanced to their second Sweet Sixteen in program history; the first one came in 2012.
No. 2 Maryland continues to show why it’s the best offensive team in the country. The Terrapins shot 62% from the floor and dropped 100 points on No. 7 Alabama. Angel Reese was the leading scorer for the Terps with 19 points and 5 rebounds.
Celeste Taylor scored 24 points and No. 6 Texas upset No. 3 UCLA. The Longhorns held the Bruins to only 14 points in the first half.
No. 1 UConn routed No. 8 Syracuse 83–47. It hardly looks like Paige Bueckers is playing in her first NCAA tournament, as she scored 20 points in the second round. UConn can look forward to having Nika Muhl and head coach Geno Auriemma back in the Sweet Sixteen.
Fifth-seeded Iowa built a 27-point halftime lead and rolled past fourth-seeded Kentucky. Caitlin Clark scored 35 points in her second-ever NCAA tournament game.
Leigha Brown led No. 6 Michigan for the second-straight game and Naz Hillmon notched a double-double in the Wolverines’ upset over No. 3 Tennessee. Brown scored 23 points and Hillmon scored 19 points while hauling in 15 rebounds.
Second-seeded Baylor asserted their dominance on the glass, outrebounding No. 7 Virginia Tech 53–23 and shot 50% from the field. DiJonai Carrington, Queen Egbo, and NaLyssa Smith scored in double figures for the Lady Bears.
No. 1 NC State had all five starters score in double figures and survived a first half three-point barrage from No. 8 South Florida, defeating the Bulls 79–67. The Wolfpack were without Kayla Jones but it didn’t seem to be much of an issue. Jakia Brown-Turner scored 19 points and Jada Boyd scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Grace Berger scored 17 points in fourth-seeded Indiana’s win over twelfth-seeded Belmont. Aleksa Bulbe’s nine points and 15 rebounds was also notable for the Hoosiers.
Third-seeded Arizona’s Aari McDonald scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and the Wildcats pulled away from a tough BYU team, defeating the eleventh-seed 52–46.
The Mercado region’s last game of the second round was arguably the best, as No. 2 Texas A&M narrowly escaped for the second game in a row, defeating No. 7 Iowa State 84–82 in overtime. Jordan Nixon was the star of the evening, scoring the game-tying basket at the end of regulation as well as the game-winning bucket at the buzzer in overtime. Nixon finished with 35 points. Iowa State’s Ashley Joens ended her season with an equally impressive performance, scoring 32 points and grabbing 18 rebounds.
The 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament continues Saturday, March 27 with Sweet Sixteen action beginning at 1 P.M. The full slate of Sweet Sixteen games and television schedule is available here. The complete bracket is available here.