The 2022 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament concluded its Sweet 16 play on Saturday.
Top-seeded NC State narrowly escaped No. 5 Notre Dame, 2-seed UConn took down No. 3 Indiana to advance to its 16th straight Elite Eight, No. 1 Louisville cruised to a double-digit victory over 4-seed Tennessee and No. 3 Michigan outlasted 10-seed South Dakota in a last-second thriller.
Those four Saturday winners join Stanford, South Carolina, Texas and Creighton in the Elite Eight, which begins Sunday.
Here are the top moments from Saturday’s Sweet 16 games.
No. 3 Michigan 52, No. 10 South Dakota 49
She’ll take that!
South Dakota had the edge the entire first quarter, but Michigan swung the momentum its way to close out the frame thanks to this smooth steal and basket:
Neck and neck
Naz Hillmon made a layup to knot things up at 11 early in the second quarter, but the Coyotes were quick to regain the lead.
It was a back-and-forth battle, as both teams worked to keep an advantage over the other.
Within arm’s reach
South Dakota State held a two-point edge over Michigan, 26-24, at halftime. Coyotes center Hannah Sjerven led her team with 11 points at the break.
The teams traded shots as the third quarter got underway, with neither leading by more than five points the entire frame.
Hillmon came up with a clutch tip for two to keep things close late in the third.
It was a one-point game heading into the final quarter, 39-38.
Things came down to the wire in this one, as the teams battled until the final second.
The Wolverines had the edge, 50-48, with 15 seconds remaining, and they held on until the end.
No. 1 Louisville 76, No. 4 Tennessee 64
Tennessee was the first to strike in this one, but Louisville went on a 6-0 run to build an early lead.
Tennessee got a defensive boost from center Tamari Key, who came up with a huge block for the Lady Vols.
Cardinals forward Emily Engstler drained a 3-point jumper to start the scoring in the second quarter and give her team a nine-point lead.
Tennessee nailed a basket at the halftime buzzer to keep things close. Louisville held a 39-28 lead at the break.
Don’t blink! Or you might miss Tennessee guard Jordan Walker turning this smooth steal into two points.
Not so fast
The Lady Vols continued to leave it all on the court, charging back late in the third quarter to make it a five-point game heading into the final frame, 55-50.
Engstler made a wild jumper off the inbounds pass to extend Louisville’s lead late in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals held on, punching their ticket to the Elite Eight.
No. 2 UConn 75, No. 3 Indiana 58
Indiana got off to a quick start against UConn, but Azzi Fudd put an end to the Hoosiers’ early run with this shot from downtown.
At the buzzer!
Aleksa Gulbe showed off her range at the end of the second half. With the Hoosiers down 37-30, Gulbe drained a deep 3-pointer as the halftime buzzer sounded.
The Huskies went on a 16-0 run to start the third quarter, and they continued to pour it on in the final frame to seal the win.
No. 1 NC State 66, No. 5 Notre Dame 63
Steal. Dish. Basket.
NC State got out to an early lead in this one. Diamond Johnson stuffed the stat sheet with this play, recording a steal and an assist for the easy bucket.
A work of art
Notre Dame came storming back to take the lead in this contest. Olivia Miles added to the lead with this must-see take and finish, giving the Irish a 31-26 cushion.
Kai Crutchfield took things into her own hands with this momentum-shifting steal and basket.
Defense wins championships
With NC State trailing Notre Dame with under 20 seconds remaining in the game, Raina Perez came up with a huge steal and finish to give the Wolfpack the lead.
NC State held on to win and punch its ticket to the Elite Eight for the first time in 24 years.
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