For the first time since 1998, the round of 16 in the N.C.A.A. women’s tournament will be played without two of its No. 1 seeds.
No. 9 seed Miami, after blitzing Indiana early then holding on for dear life during an onslaught led by Mackenzie Holmes, will instead head to the tournament’s second weekend for the first time since 1992, two years before the bracket-defining expansion that built up the tournament to 64 teams.
Destiny Harden hit an inside shot with 4 seconds left, moments after Yarden Garzon had tied the game twice with 3-pointers in the final minute. A final, panicked attempt by Indiana to avoid the upset ended with the ball being stripped, sending the Hurricanes across the floor to hug each other and celebrate.
Indiana, behind only the reigning champion South Carolina when the 68-team field for the tournament was revealed, tied the game at 60 with 3 minutes left after building up most of its comeback in the third quarter. That was when Holmes, the leading scorer this season for the Hoosiers, took over with a series of driving layups and tough shots that reversed a frustrating first half in which she scored only 4 points.
Indiana fell into its deep hole almost purely because of its poor shooting, with Holmes missing seven of her first nine shots. Miami led 41-29 at halftime.
Before this season, the last time a No. 1 seed missed the round of 16 in the women’s tournament was in 2009, when Duke lost to Michigan State in the second round. It also happened in 2006, when Ohio State lost to Boston College, and 1998, when Texas Tech lost in the second round and Stanford lost in the first, to No. 16-seeded Harvard. — Oskar Garcia
Ohio State got a dramatic game-winner from Jacy Sheldon.
Ohio State needed to mount a big comeback to win its first-round game in the women’s N.C.A.A. tournament. On Monday against North Carolina, the Buckeyes needed to withstand one — and needed a shot from its senior leader to bail them out.
No. 3 seed Ohio State led by 12 points in the fourth quarter, but the sixth-seeded Tar Heels strung together an impressive rally and had tied the game with 9 seconds left.
That’s when Jacy Sheldon stepped up.
With time winding down, Sheldon took a pass on the wing, drove through traffic and pulled up for a floater in the paint. The shot went down with 1.8 seconds left, and Ohio State ended North Carolina’s tournament run, 71-69.
Ohio State seemed well in control before the game turned with just under seven minutes left. Deja Kelly, the Tar Heels’ leading scorer, was carried off the court with an injury, yet somehow North Carolina turned it on without her, scoring 9 straight points in just two minutes. Kelly came back and helped the Tar Heels take a 1-point lead, its first and only lead of the game.
Sheldon scored the next 3 points, with a layup and a separate free throw. Kelly then hit a jumper to tie the game, setting the stage for Sheldon’s finish.
In its first-round game, Ohio State trailed by 16 points to James Madison before eventually winning, 80-66, on its home court.
Sheldon played just six games during the regular season while battling a leg injury, but she returned for the Big Ten Conference tournament. She finished Monday’s game with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. — Sara Ziegler
Villanova cruised to the round of 16.
VILLANOVA, Pa. — As the third quarter came to a close with Villanova leading by 16, its jubilant fans cheered to a small Florida Gulf Coast contingent, “We can’t hear you,” knowing the game was effectively over.
Fifth-seeded Villanova cruised, 76-57, as its star Maddy Siegrist had big help in the form of guard Lucy Olsen, who filled the stat sheet with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. Siegrist wasn’t bad either, notching 31 points for her 36th straight game with at least 20 points, a Division I record.
Villanova advanced to the round of 16 for the first time in 20 years, and the second time in program history.
Siegrist exited the game with just under two minutes left to deafening roars from the home crowd and a big embrace from her coach, Denise Dillon. It could, perhaps, have been Siegrist’s last game at Finneran Pavilion; she is projected to be a top pick in the W.N.B.A. draft but still has a year left of college eligibility.
“If this is my last game at home, I know that’s a great way to go out,” Siegrist said.
After the win, Villanova players gathered at midcourt and took turns dancing as the rapper Lil Uzi Vert’s song “Just Wanna Rock” blared through the arena.
For a short while, it seemed like the Wildcats were in danger. F.G.C.U., which led Division I in made 3-pointers, kept things close and flustered Siegrist, who missed shots that are typically automatic for her. Villanova was also without Christina Dalce for much of the half after she picked up two quick fouls.
When Dalce started the second half, she immediately gave Villanova the boost it needed with her size, disrupting Florida Gulf Coast’s offense. She eventually picked up a fourth foul to the delight of the visiting Eagles, but their 15-point hole was already too steep. — Kris Rhim
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