The Sweet 16 of the 2019 women's NCAA tournament is underway, and we're compiling some of the top results, sights and sounds of the day.
UConn, Louisville, Mississippi State and Oregon won Friday to advance to the Elite Eight.
And if you missed anything from the first two rounds, here's what you need to know:
Mississippi State's scoring depth was on full display Friday as the top-seeded Bulldogs held off a pesky Arizona State team to advance to their third consecutive Elite Eight. With the Sun Devils focusing on taking away star center Teaira McCowan, who scored only two points in the first half, Mississippi State got double-digit scoring from all four other starters. The free throw line was key to the Bulldogs' success. Mississippi State shot 35 free throws, including 18 in the third quarter. Unhappy Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne drew a technical foul for complaining after two Sun Devils fouled out on back-to-back whistles in the final period.
Despite the slow start, McCowan eventually got to a game-high 22 points and 13 rebounds for her 10th career double-double in the NCAA tournament, tied for third most in past 20 seasons with Chiney Ogwumike and Sylvia Fowles, according to ESPN Stats & Information. McCowan's 10th board of the game also moved her past former LSU center Sylvia Fowles to become the all-time leading rebounder in NCAA tournament history. -- Kevin Pelton
Mood when you pass Sylvia Fowles for the most rebounds in NCAA tournament history 💁 pic.twitter.com/ngtWA3mXae— espnW (@espnW) March 30, 2019
The Beavers thought they had the shots they wanted, but the box score told a different story. They shot just 30.4 percent from the field and made only 2 of 22 from beyond the arc. Credit the Louisville defense, which seems to get better with each game of the tournament.
For the Cardinals, Asia Durr and Sam Fuehring each had 17 points. The two also combined for 17 rebounds and six assists.
"I like her ball security, too," Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said of Durr. "She doesn't make mistakes. I'm a fan." -- Mechelle Voepel
A much-anticipated Albany Regional final in the NCAA women's basketball tournament is set as No. 1 seed Louisville beats No. 4 Oregon State 61-44. Now the Cardinals face No. 2 UConn on Sunday for a trip to the Women's Final Four. Asia Durr and Sam Fuehring led the Cardinals with 17 points each. Beavers shot just 30.4 percent from the field, including 2 of 22 from behind the arc.
In the third quarter, it looked as if the Huskies might not reach the Elite Eight for the first time since 2005. UConn led by as many as 12 points in the second period, fueled by 12 points apiece from Napheesa Collier and Christyn Williams in the first half. But UCLA, despite shooting 27 percent over the first two quarters, closed the first half on a 7-0 run and took its first lead on a Michaela Onyenwere jumper with 4:32 to play in the third quarter.
Enter Crystal Dangerfield. The guard scored 11 points in the final period -- matching UCLA's total for the quarter -- as the Huskies regained the lead for good and quickly put it out of reach. UCLA, which outrebounded UConn (41-38) as expected, never found its shooting rhythm, going 21-for-67 (30.3 percent) from the field.
Collier was the key early for UConn, scoring 10 points in the opening five minutes and carrying much of the offensive burden as Katie Lou Samuelson went scoreless in the first half. Collier, who faced multiple defenders in a physical inside battle all game long, had her fourth 25-point, 10-rebound NCAA tournament game; over the past 20 seasons, that is second only to Brittney Griner (five) and matches the four from Nneka Ogwumike and Courtney Paris.
Dangerfield finished with 15 points and Williams had 14. Samuelson finished 1-for-6 from the field with six points. Japreece Dean led UCLA with 16 points, but shot 1-for-11 on 3-point range. Kennedy Burke, who helped hold Samuelson in check, had 14 points for UCLA, but was 4-for-12 from the field. UConn advanced to its 14th consecutive Elite Eight. -- Melanie Jackson
Sabrina Ionescu's long road to Oregon
Ducks star Sabrina Ionescu's basketball journey has been shaped by her parents immigration from Romania and on-court battles with twin brother Eddy.
Geno Auriemma said of @UConnWBB guard Crystal Dangerfield that she's taken on more accountability and responsibility, and that's her biggest area of growth.— Mechelle Voepel (@MechelleV) March 30, 2019
Friday night, Matthew Knight Arena moved some 100-plus miles north up I-5 from Eugene to Portland, where Ducks fans packed the Moda Center to cheer on Oregon to the Elite Eight for the third consecutive year.
The Jackrabbits had pushed the Ducks when they played earlier this season in Brookings, South Dakota. But this time, Oregon broke the game open with a 20-5 run across halftime that turned a one-point game into a double-digit lead. South Dakota State never completely went away, but the biggest drama of the fourth quarter was whether Ducks star Sabrina Ionescu could get a third NCAA tournament triple-double. She fell short, settling for 17 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds.
Teammate Ruthy Hebard led all players with 24 points and 14 rebounds. -- Kevin Pelton
Even by Sabrina Ionescu standards, she's fired up tonight. No surprise with this kind of crowd backing Oregon.— Kevin Pelton (@kpeltonWBB) March 30, 2019
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