“Around the NCAAW Weekly” highlights the notable events of the week. Check out the milestones, surprises, best games and outstanding performances for games played through Sunday, March 14:
No. 6 Baylor Lady Bears
NaLyssa Smith was named Big 12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player as the Lady Bears took home the title with a 76-50 win over the No. 17 West Virginia Mountaineers on Sunday.
Baylor won the Big 12 outright for the 10th time and has 23 total Big 12 titles now between the regular season and tournament. It has won 17 games in a row.
On Saturday, the Lady Bears defeated the Texas Longhorns in the semifinals and held superstar Charli Collier to just three points and one rebound. Collier amassed just 17 points against Baylor this season after three meetings.
On Friday, the Lady Bears scored 33 points in the fourth quarter of a blowout victory over the TCU Horned Frogs. That’s now the record for most points scored in a quarter in Big 12 Tournament history. Baylor also hauled in 41 defensive rebounds and made 14-straight free throws in that game, both Big 12 Tournament records as well.
In addition to Collier, the Lady Bears forced TCU’s Lauren Heard to struggle against them this season as well. Heard had at least one 20-point game against every team in the Big 12 except Baylor. Against the Lady Bears she went 7-of-54 from the field and 2-of-11 from 3-point land.
No. 7 Maryland Terrapins
Maryland’s dominance of the Big Ten has also been impressive. The Terps won their fifth Big Ten Tournament title in seven tries on Saturday. They’ve been to the tournament’s championship game all seven times.
Maryland is on a 13-game win streak and it has won all of those games by double digits. Its sophomore wing, Diamond Miller, who was the Most Improved Player in the Big Ten, won Most Outstanding Player of the conference tournament.
On Friday, Maryland head coach Brenda Frese became ESPN’s National Coach of the Year. Frese, who was also named Big Ten Coach of the Year, has taken a team with five new starters to a 24-2 record so far.
Maryland, like Baylor, won its conference regular-season title as well, while the Texas A&M Aggies and South Carolina Gamecocks split the SEC crowns. However, both the Aggies and Gamecocks are listed as 1-seeds, while the Terps and Lady Bears are listed as 2-seeds in ESPN’s projected bracket. The ACC Tournament champion NC State Wolfpack are in the mix as well.
No. 1 UConn Huskies
Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player Paige Bueckers helped the Huskies blow out the Marquette Golden Eagles in the Big East championship game on Monday. UConn has now won 19 Big East tournaments, five more than all the other current members of the conference combined. It has also won 160-straight conference games between the AAC and Big East.
No. 16 Gonzaga Bulldogs
Jill Townsend, the WCC Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, made a clutch buzzer-beater against the BYU Cougars on Tuesday to secure Gonzaga’s 12th appearance in the Big Dance.
No 20 South Florida Bulls
After losing to UConn in the championship game four years in a row from 2015 to 2018, the Bulls finally broke through and won the AAC Tournament for the first time on Thursday. Sydni Harvey was named Most Outstanding Player, while Bethy Mununga grabbed an AAC Tournament-record 49 boards over three games. USF is making its fifth trip to the Big Dance in seven years and brought a conference tournament title in basketball back to Tampa for the first time since 1990.
No. 24 FGCU Eagles
Kierstan Bell was named ASUN Tournament MVP after scoring 30 points to lead FGCU to victory in the championship game on Sunday. The Eagles have now won more ASUN tournament titles in a row (five) than any team ever. They have the best overall record in ASUN Tournament play (27-2) and have won 14 ASUN Tournament games in a row and 25-straight overall.
In the quarterfinals on Thursday, Tishara Morehouse (28 points), Bell (22) and Tyra Cox (21) gave the Eagles their first game with three players scoring 20-plus in program history. In that game, FGCU also surpassed 300 made 3-pointers on the season. It has done that 12 times in a row.
Other tickets punched last week
Troy Trojans (Sun Belt)
Wright State Raiders (Horizon)
South Dakota Coyotes (Summit)
Wyoming Cowgirls (Mountain West)
Idaho State Bengals (Big Sky)
Stony Brook Seawolves (America East)
Marist Red Foxes (MAAC)
Central Michigan Chippewas (MAC)
North Carolina A&T Aggies (MEAC)
Jackson State Lady Tigers (SWAC)
Drexel Dragons (CAA)
Utah Valley Wolverines (WAC)
Middle Tennessee State Lady Raiders (Conference USA)
UC Davis Aggies (Big West)
VCU Rams (Atlantic-10)
High Point Panthers (Big South)
Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers (Northeast)
Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks (Southland)
Bradley Braves (MVC)
Lehigh Mountain Hawks (Patriot)
No. 17 West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia sophomore Esmery Martinez reached the number 500 in both career points and career rebounds on Saturday.
Michigan State Spartans over No. 9 Indiana Hoosiers (Thursday)
Indiana had won nine in a row and had ascended to its highest ranking in program history. Michigan State had a strong start to the season but was the No. 7 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and upset the No. 2 seed in Indiana in this quarterfinal matchup.
Northwestern Wildcats over No. 13 Michigan Wolverines (Thursday)
This was a big loss for Michigan, which may have to settle for a 6-seed now after looking like the second best team in the Big Ten behind Maryland at one point. The Wildcats are certainly talented, but had fallen out of the rankings.
Iowa Hawkeyes over No. 19 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (Thursday)
Another talented Big Ten team is Iowa, but Rutgers was on a hot streak and was favored in this one. Now, the Hawkeyes may end up with a higher seed than the Scarlet Knights in the NCAA Tournament.
No. 21 Missouri State Lady Bears
The Lady Bears removed themselves from the MVC Tournament semifinals on Saturday due to COVID concerns.
Wisconsin is looking to replace Jonathan Tsipis with a new head coach. The Badgers were the bottom seed in the Big Ten Tournament and lost to the Ilinois Fighting Illini in the first round on Tuesday.
SMU head coach Travis Mays’ contract will not be renewed this offseason. His record was 53-76 in five years at SMU.
Games of the week
Tuesday: No. 16 Gonzaga Bulldogs 43, BYU Cougars 42
Jill Townsend just sort of threw up a shot off an inbounds play that started with 0.6 seconds left and the shot went in to clinch the WCC Tournament title. She was on the left side of the court, close to the baseline, and had a defender right on her. Her make was part of a 4-0 run in the final 44 seconds of the game. Gonzaga was down nine entering the fourth and down seven with 3:35 to go. Yvonne Ejim led the Bulldogs with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Thursday: Old Dominion Monarchs 90, Charlotte 49ers 89 (2OT)
An Ajah Wayne free throw with under a second to go provided the difference for Old Dominion in this C-USA quarterfinal game. Wayne’s teammate Victoria Morris (17 points, eight assists) had missed in the paint with a chance to win at the end of the first overtime. That miss came after Charlotte’s Otavia Jett-Wilson converted on a 3-point play with 25 seconds remaining to tie the game. Wayne had converted on a 3-point play that also tied it with 28 seconds to go in regulation before Charlotte missed two shots in the final three seconds.
Amari Young had 31 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the winners. Wayne added 23 points. Jada McMillian notched 22 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in defeat.
Friday: No. 17 West Virginia Mountaineers 58, Kansas State Wildcats 56
West Virginia’s Kirsten Deans stole the ball from Kansas State with three seconds remaining and made a layup at the buzzer to send the Mountaineers to the Big 12 Tournament semifinals. West Virginia was down seven with 1:44 to go before a three from Kysre Gondrezick (26 points) cut it to 55-51. Deans scored the team’s final seven points and finished with six steals.
Other top performers
Jiselle Thomas: 34 points, 15 rebounds and four assists for the FIU Panthers in a win over the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on Wednesday.
Monika Czinano: 38 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals for the Iowa Hawkeyes in a win over the Purdue Boilermakers on Wednesday.
Anastasia Hayes: 34 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals for the Middle Tennessee State Lady Raiders in a win over the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters on Thursday.
Molly Davis: 33 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Central Michigan Chippewas in a win over the Ohio Bobcats on Friday.
Keishana Washington: 35 points, five rebounds and two steals for the Drexel Dragons in a win over the James Madison Dukes on Friday.
There wasn’t a lot of movement in the poll this week, but the Gonzaga Bulldogs were the highest risers (from No. 16 to No. 14). Meanwhile, the No. 12 Indiana Hoosiers and No. 16 Michigan Wolverines both fell three spots with their early exits from the Big Ten Tournament.