March 22, 2022
Daily Briefing — March 22, 2022: SUPREM-ACC-Y — ACC teams cruise to Sweet Sixteen
Oklahoma where the Mabrey comes sweepin' down the plain
It’s Tuesday, the barest day of the week. And also the last of these newsletters you’re getting until Thursday. Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, daily Watch List, and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 130 of college basketball awaits us on Friday, following a March Madness second round that ended with the ACC tying the Big Ten with four teams advancing to the Sweet Sixteen. N.C. State and Notre Dame crushed their opposition, while North Carolina suffocated Arizona early. If you prefer chaos, UConn and UCF, uh… played a game that was close. That’s definitely something that happened.
Win an autographed WNBA card!
During the month of November, new subscribers to The Next will be entered to win a signed trading card from six-time WNBA All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Phoenix Mercury.
In addition to the chance to win an autographed card, you will also be supporting the vital work of our staff. Our staff of writers, editors and photographers provide 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage about the game we all love. Your subscription helps to ensure the pipeline of young, diverse media professionals to write, edit and photograph this great game, continues and grows.
- Jantel Lavender: Signed a veteran minimum with Seattle, according to… me.
Visit our offseason trackers page to see all the other free agent moves and how they affect team’s caps, other front-office changes, and more — in neat, colorful fashion!
Monday, March 21 recap
(All rankings below reflect tournament seeding)
#5 North Carolina beat #4 Arizona, 63-45. The Wildcats went scoreless for 12 minutes between the mid-first and mid-second-quarters; Arizona shot 28.8% from the field and 25.9% from three, while taking 17 fewer free-throws. Big wing Alyssa Ustby led with a double-double of 12 points (5-13 FG, 0-1 3pt.) and 12 rebounds, plus four assists, four steals, and two blocks against three turnovers without sitting.
#6 Ohio State beat #3 LSU, 79-64. The Tigers led for most of the first 6.5 minutes, then entered the fourth quarter down 20. Buckeye point guard Jacy Sheldon led with 23 points on 9-for-17 shooting (2-5 3pt.), three rebounds, eight assists, and three steals against six turnovers.
Khayla Pointer was not the reason LSU lost: the fifth-year point guard dropped 32 points on 12-for-30 from the field (1-4 3pt.) and 7-for-13 from the line in her finale.
#1 N.C. State beat #8 Kansas State, 89-57, to reach its fourth-straight Sweet Sixteen. The Wolfpack shot 54.7% from the field and 47.4% from three. Point guard Raina Perez had 15 points on 6-for-11 from the field and 3-for-7 from three, six rebounds, and four assists.
#2 UConn beat #7 UCF, 52-47. The Knights led for almost 16 minutes, and there were eight lead changes. The reffing was most notably odd on some UConn post flops, UCF going to the line after Azzi Fudd tried to navigate an illegal screen, and a Brittney Smith free throw that was questionably deemed an illegal pump-fake. The teams combined to shoot 31.9% from the field and commit 45 fouls, while the Knights added 20 turnovers while shooting just 10-for-20 at the line.
Jackie Powell, our New York reporter, is going to vehemently disagree with me, but I’m in no way convinced this UConn team is any different than it was when it lost by 16 to South Carolina earlier in the season. (Editor’s note: this sneak attack while Jackie is sleeping WILL NOT STAND, Em. I agree with Jackie on this, in a hyper-competitive Big East, the Huskies finished top-15 nationally in virtually every statistical category. Also, read Jackie again on how it happened.)
#3 Indiana beat #11 Princeton, 56-55. The lead changed hands nine times; the Hoosiers had a 14-point lead in the mid-third quarter, but the Tigers went on a 23-8 run to take the lead. Then they made some mistakes and allowed five straight Indiana points.
#5 Notre Dame beat #4 Oklahoma, 108-64. The game was tied at seven after nearly three minutes, then the Irish ripped off 17 unanswered points to kick off a 28-4 run. Notre Dame combo guard Dara Mabrey had 17 points and five threes after only seven-and-a-half minutes — she finished with 29; wing Sonia Citron notched 25 points on 7-for-13 from the field (0-3 3pt.) and 11-for-11 from the line, six rebounds, three assists, and four steals against four turnovers.
#3 Michigan beat #11 Villanova, 64-49. The Wildcats trailed by two in the late third quarter, but Michigan scored 10-straight points to open the lead. Wolverine big Naz Hillmon led with a 27-point, 11-rebound double-double on 12-for-16 FG (3-6 FT) and seven offensive boards, plus five steals against four turnovers.
#4 Tennessee beat #12 Belmont, 70-67. The Vols led by 14 points in the mid-third quarter, and a little over 15 minutes later trailed by two with 31 seconds left. Then the Bruins left a three-point-shooter open, dropped a would-be-game-winning touchdown pass, and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Tennessee was led by combo forward Alexus Dye’s double-double of 20 points on 10-for-18 shooting and 11 rebounds (six offensive), plus two assists against four turnovers; Sara Puckett was the aforementioned “three-point-shooter,” whose game-winner was three of her 12 points on 5-for-8 FG (1-1 3pt.), along with four rebounds.
Based on the recent (non-)updates from the Vols around big wing Jordan Horston, their best player, who’s been sidelined with a fractured dislocated elbow for over a month, it very much seems like she’s not going to return this season.