Women’s March Madness roundup: Indiana open campaign with rout of Tennessee Tech

Indiana forward Mackenzie Holmes (54) shoots against Purdue in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023. Holmes was honored as an All-American by The Associated Press on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. (Michael Conroy/AP)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — All-American center Mackenzie Holmes started Indiana’s NCAA title quest on the bench.

She doesn’t intend to stay there long.

After watching Sydney Parrish score 19 points and grab eight rebounds and her replacement, Lilly Meister, add seven points and three blocks in the top-seeded Hoosiers’ 77-47 rout of 16th-seeded Tennessee Tech, Holmes said she plans to return for Monday night’s second-round game.

“It’s something we had planned for a while. We’re trying to be cautious after I got banged up in the Big Ten Tournament,” Holmes said. “I’m being evaluated day by day and so we’ve got today, tomorrow and then we’ll see Monday.”

Holmes missed eight games last season with an injured left knee and still wasn’t 100% when the Hoosiers’ postseason run ended in the Sweet 16. While she acknowledged it was frustrating to watch again Saturday, the Hoosiers really didn’t need her to advance through the first round.

With Parrish playing her role, Grace Berger adding 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks and Meister and Alyssa Geary splitting minutes in place of Holmes, Indiana (28-3) looked the part of a No. 1 seed over the final three quarters.

But the Hoosiers may need Holmes against either eight-seeded Oklahoma State or ninth-seeded Miami.

“ I thought Berger was exceptional. She led in every way,” Tech coach Kim Rosamond said. “She was just tremendous, especially in the first half.”

Maaliya Owens had 17 points and nine rebounds to lead the Golden Eagles (23-10), who had won their previous eight. They just couldn’t hold up against the bigger, stronger, deeper Hoosiers — especially in front of a boisterous crowd that topped the 14,000 mark.

The score was tied at 18 after one quarter and Tennessee Tech took a 22-20 lead on Anna Walker’s layup with 6:53 to go.

That’s when the Hoosiers flipped the game.

Meister tied the score with a layup, Lexus Bargesser broke free for back-to-back fast breaks and when Berger made two free throws with 2:55 left in the first half, Indiana led 37-22. The Hoosiers took a 39-27 lead into halftime.

Tennessee Tech never got within single digits again.

“We’ve always called it sharing the sugar around here and this is a team that’s unselfish, that’s balanced,” Hoosiers coach Teri Moren said after picking up her 200th career win. “This is a team that realizes it could be Grace’s night, it could be Syd’s night, it just doesn’t matter as long as we get the win.”

TENNESSEE 95, SAINT LOUIS 50

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jordan Horston scored 21 points and Rickea Jackson added 18 as the fourth-seeded Tennessee Lady Vols remained perfect when opening the NCAA Tournament on their home court, routing No. 13 seed Saint Louis 95-50 on Saturday.

The Lady Vols (24-11) improved to 25-0 in first-round games on their home court to reach Monday night’s second-round where they will play either No. 5 seed Iowa State or 12th-seeded Toledo. Tennessee improved to 6-2 all-time as a No. 4 seed.

Jordan Walker added 11 points and Tess Darby had 10 for the Lady Vols. They will try to advance to a second straight Sweet 16 in the Seattle 3 region.

The first NCAA Tournament appearance ended quickly for Saint Louis (17-18). The Billikens snapped the six-game winning streak that helped them win the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament after starting the season 6-16.

Brooke Flowers led Saint Louis with 17 points, and Kyla McMakin, who followed coach Rebecca Tillett from Longwood as a transfer, added 11. Camree Clegg added 12 off the bench.

The Billikens led twice in the first couple minutes, the last on a McMakin jumper at 4-3. Walker tied it at 4 with a free throw, then finished a fast break with a layup putting the Lady Vols ahead to stay with 6:51 left. Darby added a 3, and Horston’s jumper capped an eight-point spurt for Tennessee.

The Lady Vols led by as much as 10 before McMakin bankd in a buzzer-beating 3 that pulled Saint Louis within 20-15 at end of the first quarter. Flowers hit two free throws to pull Saint Louis within 20-17 to start the second quarter.

Then Tennessee seized control and scored the final 21 points for a 48-24 lead at halftime. The Lady Vols scored the first eight of the third and led 67-41 at the end of the quarter. They polished off the big win outscoring Saint Louis 28-9 in the fourth with coach Kellie Harper pulling her starters with 6:24 left.

OHIO STATE 80, JAMES MADISON 66

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Cotie McMahon scored 18 points to help No. 3 seed Ohio State pull away for an 80-66 win over No. 14 seed James Madison in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament on Saturday.

McMahon made her team’s first 3-pointer with 5:18 left in the third quarter to give Ohio State (26-7) a 44-43 lead, and the Buckeyes didn’t give up the advantage from there on out. They trailed by as many as 16 in the first half before going on a 12-0 run.

Jacy Sheldon scored three of her 17 points during an 8-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter. Taylor Thierry shot 7 of 8 and fouled out with 15 points. Taylor Mikesell added 14 points.

James Madison (26-8) led 26-14 and was making 50% of its shots at the end of the first quarter. The Dukes shot 37.9% in the second half and turned it over 21 times, their most in 10 games.

Kiki Jefferson led the Dukes with 17 points and Jamia Hazell added 10.

The Buckeyes trailed 37-34 and were shooting 31.3% at the half.

MIAMI 62, OKLAHOMA STATE 61

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Haley Cavinder scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half and made what proved to be the decisive free throw with 8.9 seconds left to pull off a 17-point second half rally Saturday that gave ninth-seeded Miami a 62-61 victory over eighth-seeded Oklahoma State.

The comeback was tied for the fifth-largest comeback in tourney history. But it wasn’t over until Naomie Alnatas’ 10-footer rolled off the rim at the buzzer following a 5-second call on the Hurricanes.

Miami (20-12) will play top-seeded Indiana on its home court Monday night with a ticket to the Sweet 16 at stake.

Cavinder also had eight rebounds and six assists while Jasmyn Roberts added 12 points and Destiny Harden had 11 points and five rebounds.

Anna Gret Asi led Oklahoma State with 16 points and four 3-pointers including one with 5.3 seconds to go that gave the Cowgirls a shot to win it. Alnatas had 10 points and Taylen Collins had 16 rebounds for Oklahoma State (21-12).

It was a wild second half.

The Cowgirls appeared to be in complete control when Lior Garzon banked in a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to close the half with a 37-20 lead.

But Miami scored the first 11 points of the third quarter and opened the fourth with seven straight to take a 47-44 with 8:07 to play. Miami extended the lead to 53-46 but couldn’t quite close it out.

Oklahoma State used a 10-2 run to retake a 56-55 lead with 3:22 to go, but Cavinder and Harden scored on layup and Ja’le Williams hit a short shot to make it 61-56 with 62 seconds left, setting up the frantic final seconds.

FLORIDA GULF COAST 47, WASHINGTON STATE 63

VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — Maddie Antenucci’s 3-pointer bounced four times before going through the net as part of her game-changing spree from beyond the arc that sent 12th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast into the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 74-63 win Saturday over No. 5-seed Washington State.

Sha Carter scored 24 points and Tishara Moorehouse had 16 for the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament champion Golden Eagles (33-3).

FGCU will play the winner of Saturday’s late game between fourth-seeded Villanova and No. 13 seed Cleveland State at the Wildcats’ on-campus arena, the Pavilion.

The Eagles sent the Shania Twain karaoke club out of Washington State (23-11) home early after a surprising run to win the Pac-12 Tournament. Tara Wallack led the Cougars with 16 points

Antenucci, who scored 11 points, turned into a sudden-scorer and turned a tight game into FGCU’s game to lose. She averaged only 4.1 points this season, but hit FGCU’s second 3 of the game in the third quarter for a 43-38 lead. Her second straight 3 only 35 seconds later made it 46-40 and started to put some separation in the game.

Her third straight 3 was one for the highlight reel. Her shot bounced twice straight up off the back rim, tapped twice off the front corner of the backboard and plopped through the net. The three 3s in a 1 minute, 12-second span were Antenucci’s first three shots and first points of the game.

The FGCU fans that filled a couple of sections inside the Pavilion erupted and Washington State called timeout. The Cougars never recovered.

Antenucci’s teammates took it from there. Moorehouse was fouled on a driving layup — Cougars guard Astera Tuhina slammed the ball in frustration — and she hit the free throw for a 58-47 lead. They took a 61-48 lead into the fourth quarter.

Florida Gulf Coast sent a basketball program back to the area 10 years after the men’s famed “Dunk City” team won two games as a 12 seed in Philadelphia and advanced to the Sweet 16.

FGCU coach Karl Smesko said he didn’t believe that magic could be recreated.

Unless, he joked, if the Eagles won.

Maybe Antenucci’s funky 3 can earn them some “Kerplunk City” fame.

With 4:14 left in the game, and the Cougars trailing 70-56, the school band belted out Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” to try and rally the team. The 1997 smash had become an anthem for the program and even caught the attention of Twain. The Cougars also had Twain’s “Let’s Go Girls” printed on the back of the warmup shirts.

They’re just not going to the second round.

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