The first round featured a lot of chalk, but it also gave us an incredible Oregon State-Boise State game and showed us how potent the Lauren Cox-Kalani Brown combo can be.
The Round of 32 is set after a chalky Day 2 in the 2019 women’s NCAA tournament. The second day gave us more of the same—a lot of top seeds dominating—but also gave us some great games between Kentucky and Princeton and a pulse-pounding OT finish between Oregon State and Boise State. So let’s dive into the results and analyze some of the next round’s action.
Points of Interest
We all knew that Baylor was good, I even picked them as my champion, but watching Lauren Cox and Kalani Brown pick Abilene Christian apart in the post was thrilling. The two Bears bigs are going to be hard to hard to score on—just ask the Wildcats, who failed to get anything going offensively until the Bears were already ahead by nearly 20. Next up for Baylor is a date with Kristine Anigwe and Cal, who, despite the final score, had a torrid time dealing with UNC in the early going.
UNC center Janelle Bailey really limited Anigwe in the first half, limiting her to two points. But Anigwe’s tenacity in snaring rebounds in traffic helped her respond in the second half with 16 points and 12 rebounds, proving why she could be a hot commodity in the WNBA draft. Watching her deal with Cox and Brown will be fascinating in the next round.
During a day in which many games were close at halftime but got significantly more lopsided in the fourth quarter, Oregon State-Boise State deserves a mention. The Broncos were looking for their first NCAA tournament win in their history and almost got it in Corvallis. Boise State had Oregon State on the ropes, repeatedly dealing what looked like multiple finishing blows and led by four with 17 seconds left. Then Mikayla Pivec hit a jumper to bring the Beavers within two with 13 seconds left.
A held ball on the ensuing inbounds play went to Oregon State, who tried to lob the ball to Katie McWilliams, who was fouled on the attempt. Her two free throws tied the game up and forced overtime. The resulting extra time proved to be a free throw making contest for the Beavers as they made all 10 given free throws to bring home the win. Oregon State fans will breathe a sigh of relief after the narrow win but likely cringe with the sight of a more-than-capable Gonzaga team.
Best Thing I Saw
Speak on it, Kalani. Make sure you listen all the way until the end.
Game to Watch: Iowa-Missouri
Sophie Cunningham? Megan Gustafson? Yeah, go ahead and sign me up for that. Two players with unlimited buckets in their repertoire who nearly suffered first-round upsets? It’s going to be interesting how Iowa and Mizzou respond to be taken to the wire in their respective games.
It’s been clear for a while that Gustafson is going to have to carry most of the offensive load for the Hawkeyes but Mackenzie Meyer is a force to be reckoned with, especially behind the arc. Expect a lot of threes and at least two awe-inspiring plays from two of the best seniors in the country trying to keep their teams alive.