WBB Tournament: First weekend in review

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament didn't go well for the state of Texas. Just one of the five teams that made the tournament will be playing in the Sweet 16 and just two teams even made it to the second round.

Let's recap what happened.

UIW loses to Howard

The Cardinals were the most improbable tournament team in the state. Third among the Texas schools in the Southland during the regular season, the team went on a conference tournament run to earn a spot in the big dance.

Of course, when a team that finished under .500 makes the tournament, they're not getting a good seed. UIW ended up in the First Four, where the Cardinals took on Howard.

Tiana Gardner had another strong showing with 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting with six rebounds, but the team shot 37.25% from the floor. Howard shot worse, but 22 offensive rebounds for Howard set up second chances, which doomed the Cardinals.

UT-Arlington Comes Up Short

A 14-seed has never won an NCAA tournament game. UTA continued that streak with a loss to Iowa State, but it looked for most of the game like an upset was coming.

The Cyclones have felt all season like a team that could go cold and lose at any point. And when UTA led by eight after the first quarter, the Cyclones were officially on upset alert.

Iowa State would claw their way back as the game went on, but UTA kept fighting. Starr Jacobs finished with 19 points. Terryn Milton was impressive with 11 points, six rebounds and four assists.

There were some questionable whistles and non-whistles in the game, but let's not get too far into the officiating weeds. Iowa State's defense clamped down in the second half, switching more and stifling drive opportunities for UTA.

The Mavs have been impressive this season. Next year, they head to a tough WAC conference, but depending on what SFA's roster looks like and what UTA's roster looks like, there could be a shift in power atop the conference.

SFA Fades Late

Everything we expected about SFA/UNC was true for three quarters. SFA's consistency was on display. Zya Nugent was draining threes. The defense was making stops.

And then UNC won the fourth quarter by 15, leading to a 79-66 Tarheels win.

Another year of SFA getting a 12-seed and losing in the first round to a good team.

UNC did a good job of keeping Stephanie Visscher from getting going, holding her to six field goal attempts. She had just one assist.

And UNC has former Duncanville star Deja Kelly, who scored 28 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists.

UNC beat Arizona on Monday to advance to the Sweet 16. If you're a Longhorn hater who needs a team to root for going forward, consider UNC.

Baylor...well...

Round 1 for Baylor went exactly as expected, with an 89-49 win over Hawaii. NaLyssa Smith had 21 points and 14 boards. Jordan Lewis scored 23. Queen Egbo double-doubled. Even Kendra Gillispie got to play 10 minutes in the blowout win.

It looked like the Bears were rolling.

And then, South Dakota struck.

A 2/10 matchup isn't where you expect to see Baylor struggle, but the South Dakota defense was just suffocating all game long. Baylor scored just four points in the first quarter and while they kept it mostly even from there, Nicki Collen's team could never mount a real run. Ja'Mee Asberry shot 1-for-9. Lewis was 2-for-12. Smith had just 10 points and eight rebounds.

South Dakota just didn't give Baylor any room to breathe. Every possession was a struggle. The half-court offense couldn't do anything. Even when the Bears managed to get a decent look, it didn't fall.

Was it a disappointment based on this team's standards? Yes. Is the future weird for Baylor as NaLyssa Smith is set to head to the WNBA? Also yes. But for taking over Baylor after it had a recruting class, losing some key pieces to the transfer portal, and installing a whole new system in Waco, Nicki Collen's first season at Baylor was mostly a success.

Texas is back...next weekend

At least one Texas team made the Sweet 16.

The Longhorns beat Fairfield 70-52 in the first round, then beat Utah 78-56 in the second round.

The thing we knew Texas would do in this tournament was play defense. That's held true.

The thing I was worried about was the offense. But Aaliyah Moore shot 9-for-10 against Utah. Rori Harmon had 11 points and eight assists. Aliyah Matharu missed just one shot.

I'll spend more time on Texas later this week when previewing their Sweet 16 meeting with Ohio State, but the team's sharing the ball well offensively and continues to look like a Vic Schaefer team on the other end. Texas is dangerous. And the three-seed in their region, LSU, has already been knocked out.

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