Nobody’s bracket saw this coming: seventh-seed Washington and Syracuse are headed to the Women’s 2016 NCAA Basketball Championship Final Four. This marks the first trip for either program. The only things normal about the tournament are Connecticut is still undefeated and Baylor is in the hunt.
Washington will not let any evil step sisters stop their trip to the dance. The Huskies stunned Stanford 85-76 March 27 to advance to the Final Four. Chantel Osahor tied her career best with 24 points and took down 18 rebounds. Kelsey Plum added 26 points and eight assists.
The Orange punched their ticket routing Tennessee 89-67. Alexis Peterson did most of the damage with 29 points. Briana Butler added 18 more. Cornelia Fondren contributed 13 points off the bench. Syracuse shot 46 percent from the floor and 47 percent from three-point range.
UConn and Texas, the first and second seeds from the Bridgeport region, are set to face off March 28 at 7 pm. The only common opponent the teams have played this season is Kansas State. Connecticut beat K-State 97-57 in November.
The Longhorns bested the Wildcats twice in conference play. The first game was 66-51 at the Texas pulled off a 58-51 nail bitter in Austin after shooting just 1-16 from 3-point range in February. Bing gives the Huskies a 70 percent chance of winning.
Baylor (36-1) meets Oregon State (31-4) at 9 pm. Both teams beat Idaho this year. OSU held the Vandals to 4 points in the first quarter in a 69-44 rout in December. Idaho got off to a slow start against the Bears in the first round of March Madness and were embarrassed 89-59.
The quarterfinals are April 3. The championship game is April 5 in Indianapolis.
A couple of women from Northern Virginia are still playing in the Women’s National Invitation Basketball Tournament quarterfinals. Kelly Loftus (Mount Vernon) and Ruth Sherrill (Thomas Edison/Hofstra) will be on the floor.
Loftus will lead Hofstra (25-8) into the March 28 game when the Pride faces Florida Gulf Coast (31-5) in the quarterfinal round at 7 pm from Alico Arena in Fort Myers.
Hofstra stopped UVA (18-16) 65-57 March 21. Faith Randolph (Good Counsel) was held to 13 points on 4 of 14 shooting and was forced into a team high 6 of the Cavs 25 turnovers. Randolph also pulled down 10 caroms. Loftus came off the bench to provide the Pride with 7 points. Loftus averaged 12.8 ppg to lead Hofstra this season. She missed several games due to injury.
Ruth Sherrill (Thomas Edison/Hofstra) and her Temple Owls (23-11) are also alive in the WNIT final four. The Owls hit the road to play at Michigan (20-13) on March 28. The game tips off at 7 pm. Sherrill played 5 minutes when Temple topped Ohio (26-7) 75-61 March 24.
Oregon (22-10) and UTEP (28-4) were in a close game to decide the first entry into the semifinal game a press time. The winner advances to the final four which is scheduled for April at 3 pm.