The first round of the 2022 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament is in full swing.
Three No. 1 seeds were in action as the competition tipped off on Friday.
First, Aliyah Boston recorded her 25th straight double-double as No. 1 South Carolina stopped No. 16 Howard in a record-breaking defensive performance. Then, Hailey Van Lith scored 20 points as No. 1 Louisville blasted Albany.
But the real show came later when No. 1 Stanford took the court against Montana State. Enter, Francesca Belibi …
Belibi’s steal and high-flying dunk left fans — and her teammates — reeling.
Here are the top moments from the Round of 64 games held on Friday.
No. 1 Stanford 78, Montana State 37
Belibi’s dunk was the talk of this game. But Stanford’s dominance went far beyond that.
The defending champs led 20-0 after the first quarter and pushed the lead to 23-0 before allowing a basket. It was easy sailing from there.
No. 3 Iowa State 78, No. 14 UT Arlington 71
The Cyclones were challenged early in this one, trailing by eight after the first quarter.
But Ashley Joens stepped up big-time for Iowa State, scoring 36 points and grabbing 15 rebounds to thwart the upset attempt.
No. 1 South Carolina 79, No. 16 Howard 21
Skip to my lou
The top-seeded Gamecocks did not come to play any games. They led 22-2 after the first quarter and outscored the Bison 22-2 again in the second. Brea Beal pumped up her bench with this nasty euro step, leading to a finish in the first quarter.
The Gamecocks pulled down 69 boards, collected 12 steals and blocked five shots in the massive victory.
No. 1 Louisville 83, No. 16 Albany 51
It was in the Cards
Albany had some moments, as sophomore star Kayla Cooper showed a few slick moves on her way to a 14-point, six-rebound, four-assist outing.
But in the end, the Cardinals’ defense was just too tough, with Emily Engstler defending the paint like a demon. She finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, seven steals and a pair of blocks.
No. 8 Miami (FL.) 78, No. 9 South Florida 66
Every active Hurricane scored at least once for Miami, as storms of buckets rained down from a variety of sources.
Moulayna Johnson Sidi Baba breezed past her defender and knocked down this tough fadeaway for her only points of the affair. The ‘Canes closed the first quarter on a 9-0 run and led 44-33 at halftime.
No. 10 South Dakota 75, No. 7 Ole Miss 61
Maddie Krull was the only Coyote to play all 40 minutes in the affair, and she showed why her coach has the utmost confidence in her on this early layup in the post.
Krull finished the outing with 13 points, while Chloe Lamb led South Dakota in scoring with 20 points.
No. 10 Creighton 84, No. 7 Colorado 74
Dime me up!
Creighton and Colorado were immersed in a hotly-contested affair throughout most of the matchup. Creighton’s 19-10 advantage in the second quarter proved crucial, and dimes like this one fueled the Bluejays’ run.
No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast 84, No. 5 Virginia Tech 81
Out of the sky
Lofty shots that soar out of broadcast cameras’ field of view aren’t supposed to drop in. And yet, here we are in March.
Kendall Spray defied physics with her buzzer-beating shot late in the third quarter, and FGCU defied the oddsmakers with an upset over Virginia Tech.
No. 9 Gonzaga 69, No. 8 Nebraska 55
Hey soul sister
The Truong connection is as strong as ever, and the dynamic duo displayed its longtime comradery throughout this contest. On this play, Kaylynne found Kayleigh on the break, who splashed home a 3-ball from the right hash. Kaylynne registered six assists for the Zags in the win, while Kayleigh posted a team-high 20 points.
No. 2 Iowa 98, No. 15 Illinois State 58
Bread and butter
We know Caitlin Clark can score, but on this play, she showed off her passing prowess in the pick-and-roll with Monica Cziano. Iowa, one of the favorites to make a Final Four run, disposed of its opponent 98-58.
Clark had 27 points and 10 assists in the win.
No. 2 Baylor 89, No. 15 Hawai’i 49
Salt in the wound
Baylor was already dominating this game throughout, but when they start tossing in long-range buzzer-beaters like this one, it’s just not fair. Jordan Lewis scored 23, and NaLyssa Smith chipped in 21 as Baylor cruised into the second round.
No. 4 Maryland 102, No. 13 Delaware 71
That’s too easy
When the defense clears out for you like this, you can tell it’s going to be a nice day.
Ashley Owusu led the Terps to an easy win with 24 points and six assists, while Angel Reese added 15 points and nine rebounds.
No. 7 Utah 92, No. 10 Arkansas 69
All Hail McQueen!
Kennady McQueen was on fire from downtown, nailing six of her nine 3-point attempts and scoring 20 points as the Utes rolled to victory.
No. 8 Kansas 77, No. 9 Georgia Tech 58
Let it fly!
Holly Kersgieter nailed three of her four 3-point attempts, scoring 19 points as the Jayhawks cruised into the second round.
No. 6 Georgia 70, No. 11 Dayton 54
What a laser!
Makira Cook led Dayton with 21 points and four assists, including this dime.
But the Dawgs were ultimately too much, advancing behind the 19 points and eight rebounds of Jenna Staiti.
No. 2 Texas 70, No. 15 Fairfield 52
The Longhorns had little trouble with their first-round matchup, cruising past Fairfield thanks to an 18-point outing from Aaliyah Moore.
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