March Madness: Iowa State wins Big 12; every NCAA women's tournament auto bid
All automatic bids to the NCAA tournament have been claimed as women’s college basketball teams punched their tickets by winning conference tournament championship games. Yahoo Sports has all of the automatic NCAA tournament bids, along with recaps of the major college conference title games.
[Free bracket contests for women's & men's tourneys for shot at $25K]
NCAA tournament automatic qualifiers
Tennessee Tech, Ohio Valley Conference
Saint Louis, Atlantic 10
Virginia Tech, ACC
South Carolina, SEC
Iowa, Big Ten
Washington State, Pac-12
Gardner-Webb, Big South
James Madison, Sun Belt
UConn, Big East
Cleveland State, Horizon
South Dakota State, Summit
Sacramento State, Big Sky
UNLV, Mountain West
Southeastern Louisiana, Southland
East Carolina, AAC
Vermont, America East
Hawai'i, Big West
Middle Tennessee, Conference USA
Norfolk State, MEAC
Drake, Missouri Valley
Sacred Heart, Northeast
Holy Cross, Patriot
Southern Utah, WAC
Iowa State, Big 12
Big 12 championship: Iowa State wins 1st conference title in 22 years
The No. 3-seeded Iowa State Cyclones claimed their first Big 12 tournament championship since 2001 behind Ashley Joens' 28 points and 10 rebounds in a 61-51 win Sunday over top-seeded Texas.
Iowa State earns the conference's automatic NCAA tournament bid ahead of the Selection Sunday show (8 p.m. ET Sunday, ESPN).
Let’s hear it for your XII champions, @CycloneWBB! 🌪️
The Cyclones earn their 21st overall and fourth-consecutive NCAA tournament bid, as well as the school’s fourth @Big12Conference title, the first since 2001!#MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/2IgegOG4Lx
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessWBB) March 12, 2023
Joens also went 4-of-8 from 3 and had three assists and two steals.
Taylor Jones and Shaylee Gonzales each had 12 points for Texas. The Longhorns had 12 team blocks, which tied a conference record in a championship game.
West Coast championship: Portland stuns Gonzaga to win WCC
Portland is headed to the NCAA tournament.
The Pilots stunned No. 16 Gonzaga on Monday afternoon 64-60 to both win the WCC tournament and earn their first spot in the NCAA tournament in 26 years.
GOING DANCING!!!🚢🥳 pic.twitter.com/dhoUZ1cpKf
— Portland Pilots Women's Basketball (@PortlandWBB) March 7, 2023
Maisie Burnham dropped 19 points with six rebounds for the Pilots, who used a huge 12-0 run near the end of the third quarter to close a double-digit hole they fell into at halftime after scoring just eight points int he second quarter. They then hit four free throws along with an Alex Fowler layup in the final 37 seconds to seal the four-point win.
POR 61-59 GON | 37.8 left
ALEX FOWLER ‼️‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/lgn15DvIwD
— Portland Pilots Women's Basketball (@PortlandWBB) March 7, 2023
Yvonne Ejim led Gonzaga with 21 points and 14 rebounds after shooting 7-of-13 in the loss. Kaylynne Truong added 18 points and five assists. Gonzaga should still get into the NCAA tournament even with the loss. ESPN's Charlie Creme had the Bulldogs as a No. 8 seed before the loss, which only knocked them to 28-4 on the season.
Big East championship: UConn takes third straight tournament
It took them a little bit to get going, but Geno Auriemma's Huskies rolled to a Big East tournament title in Connecticut on Monday night.
UConn, behind a double-double from Aaliyah Edwards, cruised to a dominant 67-56 win over Villanova at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The win marks the third straight conference tournament title for the Huskies, all of which they've now won in dominant fashion.
THE UCONN HUSKIES ARE THE BIG EAST CHAMPIONS pic.twitter.com/FjLZVK6eCI
— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) March 7, 2023
UConn got off to a bit of a slow start, and held a one-point lead just after the midway point of the second quarter. That, though, is when the Huskies took off. They closed the half on a 9-0 run, and then pushed their lead to 25 points late in the third quarter after holding Villanova to just five points in the first six-plus minutes of the period.
By then, it was far too late for a Wildcats comeback. UConn simply held on to take the 11-point win despite scoring just four points in the final 6:45 of the game.
Maddy Siegrist led Villanova with 22 points and nine rebounds, and Lucy Olsen added 14 points. Villanova shot just 30% from the field as a team, and Siegrist and Olsen were the only players to score more than seven points for the Wildcats.
Edwards led UConn with 19 points and 15 rebounds, and Dorka Juhasz added 16 points and eight rebounds. Lou Lopez Senechal finished with 14 points after shooting 5-of-8 from the field.
Big Ten championship: Caitlin Clark, Iowa dominate Ohio State
Ohio State never stood a chance on Sunday afternoon.
Caitlin Clark made sure of that.
Clark and Iowa absolutely dominated the Buckeyes 105-72 at a Target Center that was full of Hawkeyes fans to win a second straight Big Ten tournament title. Clark finished with a triple-double, her fourth of the season and 10th of her career, with 30 points, 17 assists and 10 rebounds. It’s also the third 30-point triple-double in her career, which sets an all-time Division I record.
𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩 𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐩𝐥𝐞-𝐃𝐨𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐞 👑
30 points. 17 assists. 10 rebounds. @CaitlinClark22 x #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/5OwCbN5z8H
— Iowa Women's Basketball (@IowaWBB) March 5, 2023
The Hawkeyes outscored Ohio State 26-9 in the first quarter, and then took a 61-24 at halftime. Clark had 23 points and nine assists at the break, one point shy of matching Ohio State’s team total.
By then, it was over. Iowa rolled to the 33-point win and second consecutive tournament title. Iowa's win marked the most points scored in a Big Ten title game, and the largest margin of victory in the game's history.
Monika Czinano added 26 points and seven rebounds for Iowa in the win, as she missed just one field goal in 12 tries. Kate Martin added 13 points and three assists. As a team, the Hawkeyes shot 62.1% from the field and outrebounded Ohio State by 16.
Taylor Mikesell led the Buckeyes with 24 points after shooting 8-of-13 from the field, and Cotie McMahon added 23 points and seven rebounds.
Iowa entered the day as a projected No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Ohio State wasn’t far behind as a No. 3 seed. Whether that changes between now and Selection Sunday, and if Iowa’s final showing is enough to bump them up, remains to be seen.
Pac-12 championship: Washington State caps stunning run with a title
The biggest surprise of the day came in Las Vegas, where overlooked Washington State stunned the rest of the conference by taking home the tournament title via a 65-61 win over UCLA on Sunday.
It's WSU's first conference tourney win in program history. The Cougars were the 7 seed in the tournament and had to win four games in five days to pull off the championship. That included a massive upset of AP No. 3 ranked Utah in the quarterfinals and another win over No. 20 Colorado in the semis.
Not surprisingly, Charlisse Leger-Walker and Bella Murekatete led the Cougars on Sunday, as they have all season. Leger-Walker dropped 23 points, including 5-of-7 makes from 3-point range, while Murekatete added 21 points.
WSU was on the NCAA tournament bubble at the start of the Pac-12 tournament. Now it will enter the Big Dance as a dangerous mid seed.
SEC championship: Aliyah Boston, South Carolina win again
It was always going to be Aliyah Boston and South Carolina.
The Gamecocks never trailed on Sunday afternoon at Bon Secours Wellness Arena en route to a seventh SEC tournament title in nine years. They beat Tennessee 74-58 to get to 32-0 on the season behind 18 points from Boston.
🏆 CHAMPIONS 🏆 pic.twitter.com/IhDlD4nSVT
— South Carolina Women's Basketball (@GamecockWBB) March 5, 2023
While things were tight early, South Carolina shut down Tennessee’s offense after the opening period. The Gamecocks held the Vols to just 12 points in the second and then 11 points in the third, which gave them a 13-point lead entering the final period.
From there, the Gamecocks pushed their lead and rolled to the 16-point win in South Carolina. Boston finished with 18 points, 10 of which came in the first quarter, in the win for South Carolina. She added seven rebounds and shot 5-of-10 from the field, too. Zia Cooke led the Gamecocks with 24 points and five rebounds after shooting 8-of-17 from the field. Cooke accounted for half of South Carolina’s four 3-pointers.
Jordan Horston led Tennessee with 19 points and nine rebounds, and Rickea Jackson added 17 points and nine rebounds. The appearance in the title game marked the first for the Volunteers since 2015, when they also lost to South Carolina.
While there was little doubt, the Gamecocks will take a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
ACC championship: Virginia Tech dominates Louisville to win first title in program history
Virginia Tech has won the very first ACC title in their program’s history, defeating Louisville 75-67 in a game that Tech led for all but 8 minutes.
Tech made the first basket of the game and went up 6-2 before playing what would be its worst stretch of the entire game. Louisville went on an 8-0 run over two minutes that made it seem like Tech was going to be in a lot of trouble for the rest of the contest. But once Kayana Taylor made a 3-point jumper to break Louisville's scoring streak, Tech surged forward and didn't look back. Tied at 14-14 with under three minutes left in the quarter, it went on a 9-0 run that put it up 22-14 after a Cardinals scoring drought of nearly four minutes.
Virginia Tech’s lead only increased in the second quarter as Liz Kitley and sharpshooter Georgia Amoore combined for 28 total points in the first half, an eye-popping stat once you consider that Louisville ended the first half with 28 total points to Tech’s 38.
Louisville turned on the jets at the start of the third quarter, narrowing Tech’s lead and making it a three-possession game. It felt like the Cardinals could be mounting a comeback, but Tech’s offensive proficiency made it tough for them to string points together. Despite that, Louisville went into the fourth quarter down just seven points, hoping this fantastic block from Olivia Cochrane would spark the massive comeback it needed.
That's TOUGH, Olivia 😤
Battling as we head to the fourth
📺 ESPN #GoCards pic.twitter.com/MNusCXlzaH
— Louisville Women’s Basketball (@LouisvilleWBB) March 5, 2023
Tech put a stop to that pretty much immediately. It started the fourth quarter with three straight baskets, lifting it to a 58-44 edge, including a ridiculous stepback three from Amoore (who was named the player of the tournament). It took Louisville over three minutes to score its first basket of the fourth quarter, which was an indicator for how the rest of the game would go for the Cardinals. Virginia Tech kept pressing, closing it out to win its 11th straight game and the program’s very first conference title.