Leads are so overrated.
Day 2 of the NCAA women’s tournament was wild, with Baylor, Ohio State and Miami all coming back to win after being down 16 points or more. That’s the most in a single day of the women’s tournament, and it matches the record for the entire tournament that was set in 2017.
Coming from behind has become Ohio State’s trademark, so the Buckeyes’ erasing a 16-point lead against James Madison was almost to be expected. Not to be outdone was Miami, which outscored Oklahoma State 42-24 in the second half as the Hurricanes stormed back from a 17-point deficit.
And then came Baylor. It was held to a season-low four points in the first quarter by Alabama, and the game was so lopsided at one point Alabama’s Brittany Davis was single-handedly outscoring the Lady Bears.
But sticking with the day’s theme, Baylor outscored Alabama 48-33 in the second half and made free throws down the stretch to clinch the 18-point comeback. It matched the third-largest rally in NCAA tournament history.
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“That’s March,” Miami’s Haley Cavinder said. “It’s a 40-minute game, so we just stuck with it. … It was nerve-racking, but finished the game strong. It’s something I’ll remember forever.”
We all will. Once our heart rates recover, that is.
Here’s a look at the other winners and losers from Day 2:
It was as if Sheldon had never been away.
In her 10th game of the season, and first start since Feb. 5, Ohio State’s senior guard came an assist shy of her fifth career double-double. She had 17 points and nine assists, along with five rebounds and four steals in a team-high 36 minutes in the third-seeded Buckeyes’ comeback win over James Madison.
“Being out there is awesome,” Sheldon said. “We have a great team, great chemistry, so playing with them is just fun.”
A foot injury has limited Sheldon, an AP All-American honorable mention last year, for much of the season. She appeared in one game between Dec. 1 and the Big Ten Tournament, and was on limited minutes during the tournament.
But healthy now, she could be a big factor for the Buckeyes.
“She’s the person on our team that makes everybody better,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. “Everybody gets a little bit better when Jacy’s on the court.”
Florida Gulf Coast
It’s probably time to stop seeding the Eagles as a 12.
Certainly Washington State, FGCU’s latest 5-seed victim, would agree. One year after upsetting fifth-seeded Virginia Tech, FGCU again busted brackets with a 12-over-5 win, beating WSU 74-63 (it wasn’t as close as the score implies). It was actually FGCU’s third time pulling off a 12-5 upset; the Eagles started this trend in 2018, with a win over Missouri.
What was impressive Saturday was how FGCU won: The Eagles lead the nation in 3-pointers made per game, averaging almost 12 per contest. Saturday they dominated the paint instead, scoring 50 inside to Washington State’s 26. They only hit five 3s, which means they’ll be due in the second round vs. Villanova. FGCU has never won a second-round game. Does that change this year?
When you have Siegrist, you don’t need much else.
The country’s leading scorer had almost half of Villanova’s first-half points – she had 22, `Nova had 42 – and finished with 35 as the fourth-seeded Wildcats cruised to a 76-59 win over Cleveland State.
Siegrist’s prolific scoring is hardly a surprise. She came into the tournament averaging 28.9 points per game, more than a point higher than anyone else, and dropped a career-high 50 on Seton Hall last month.
The Buffaloes are into the second round for the first time since 2003.
There was a time, back in the 1990s and early 2000s, when Colorado was a team to be reckoned with come March. The Buffaloes made the tournament 10 times in a 13-year span from 1992 to 2004, getting all the way to the Elite Eight in 1993, 1995 and 2002.
But after bowing out in the first round in 2004, Colorado would make only one appearance until last year. Now it’s built on that resurgence by winning its first game in 20 years.
Talk about Coug’ing it.
Thirteen days removed from winning the school’s first-ever Pac-12 championship in any sport, Washington State got blown off the floor by No. 12 seed FGCU, 74-63. The Eagles used a 30-point third quarter to get separation, and shot a blistering 56% from the field in the win. Meanwhile WSU star Charlisse Leger-Walker, who came in averaging 18.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.4 steals, was a non-factor. The junior guard was a miserable 2-of-10 from the field, finishing with just five points before fouling out with 5:25 to play.
There’s an argument to be made that the Cougars were overseeded as a 5 — they finished seventh in the Pac-12 regular season — but still, what a letdown.
The St. John’s coach, in his 11th season with the Red Storm, had a terrific year, finishing 23-9 and earning two wins over ranked teams. St. John’s won a play-in game over Purdue earlier this week, then took sixth-seed North Carolina to the brink before falling 61-59 in a thrilling first-round game.
With 1.5 seconds left, St. John’s senior Danielle Patterson went to the line for 3, which would have tied the score (at the time, St. John’s trailed 61-58). Patterson, an 81% free throw shooter, missed the first two attempts before making the third.
But in the ensuing timeout, Tartamella berated her for not purposely missing the third. Why didn’t he coach her before she took the shot?
At a time when we’re having national conversations about what’s appropriate and what’s not in coaching, how bullying and teaching are not close to the same thing, and the difference between unhealthy vs. uncomfortable environments, going after a kid on national TV — who is no doubt beating herself up already — is pretty tone deaf.
Follow Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour and Lindsay Schnell @Lindsay_Schnell