Baylor Bears

Top Big 12 Takeaways From Second Round Women’s NCAA Tournament Games

Texas forward DeYona Gaston.

The Big 12 Conference wrapped up the second round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament with three games on Monday. Here are our thoughts on the second round.

Don’t forget we have the entire schedule, results and broadcast channels for the tournament here.


Cardinals Rule (Texas)

By the end of the third quarter, No. 5 seed Louisville had outscored No. 4 seed Texas 16-4 to end the quarter and take a 21-point lead, en route to a 73-51 second-round win.

It was not the way Texas (26-10) drew it up. Louisville handled Texas’ vaunted man-to-man defense couldn’t turn over the Cardinals (25-11), which allowed the Cardinals — and not just top scorer Hailey Van Lith — to torch Texas.

It also gave the Cardinals a rare sweep of a Top 25 team like Texas. The two teams met in a non-conference tournament and Louisville won that game, 71-63, so it knew what to expect.

Van Lith led the Cardinals with 21 points, but all nine Cardinals who played meaningful minutes scored points, as their ability to move the ball around the perimeter kept the Texas defense on its heels most of the night.

Texas guard Rori Harmon had 10 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals before leaving late in the game with a lower leg injury. Forward DeYona Gaston added 12 points and was Texas’ most capable scorer in the second half, which wasn’t saying much.

The Cardinals were up 14 points at halftime, 37-23. The Cardinals committed just two turnovers in the half, robbing the Longhorns of chances to score off mistakes. Van Lith had 10 points but all nine Cardinals scored by halftime. Texas struggled, as the Longhorns had nine turnovers by the break and were shooting 35 percent.

Texas and Louisville were tied 16-all after the first quarter. But Texas was down seven points and committed seven turnovers while having difficulty containing Van Lith, who paced Louisville with eight points in the first 10 minutes.


Baylor Falls (Eventually)

The Baylor Bears needed to emulate what they did in their come-from behind win over Alabama on Saturday — hit as many 3-pointers as possible. And Baylor had 14 of them in that game.

By game’s end Baylor didn’t have quite as many, but the reality was the Bears (20-13) couldn’t slow down UConn’s Azzi Fudd in a 77-58 loss to the Huskies (31-5).

Fudd finished with 22 points and she outscored Baylor in the third quarter, when the Bears scored just 15 points.

Baylor had the game tied, 46-46, after a 3-pointer by Jaden Owens with 5:13 left in the third quarter. Fudd led the Huskies on a 16-2 run that was only interrupted at the end of the third quarter by a layup by Baylor’s Darianna Littlepage-Buggs. By then UConn had a 12-point lead.

By game’s end Baylor had 12 3-pointers, with Owens and Ja’Mee Asberry each with four. Asberry — who finished with seven 3-pointers against Alabama on Saturday — led with 15 points, while Owens had 14 points. Bella Fontleroy added 12 points.

Baylor was unable to take advantage of the fact that UConn forward Aaliyah Edwards was on the bench in foul trouble for most of the third quarter. She finished with 19 points.


A Wild One in LA

At one point, Oklahoma was down 18 points. At one point, Oklahoma was up by one entering the fourth quarter.

And then No. 4 seed UCLA’s Charisma Osborne stepped in and took care of that in an 82-73 Bruins win over No. 5 seed Oklahoma.

Osborne scored a career-high 36 points, with 13 of them coming in the fourth quarter after she stepped on a camera and turning her ankle, which required her to leave the game for about three minutes.

It was the last twist in a game that had plenty of them. The Sooners (26-7) got off to a horrible start, committing 13 first-half turnovers and falling behind by as much as 18 points before going into the locker room down 13.

In the third quarter, it was all Ana Llanusa and Oklahoma. The Sooners went on a 22-6 run to end the third quarter and take a one-point lead over the Bruins. But all the energy expended to close the gap seemed to sap the Sooners in the fourth quarter.

The Bruins outscored the Sooners in the last 10 minutes, 29-19, and it was a slow bleed. The quarter became a foul fest, as the Sooners and Bruins combined to lose five players to foul trouble in a game in which 55 fouls were called.

Osborne not only scored 36 points, but she was a perfect 12-for-12 from the free-throw line, with much of that coming in that last quarter.

For Oklahoma, it was the end of the line for their three super-seniors — Llanusa, Madi Williams and Taylor Robertson. Williams was indefatigable and finished with 24 points. Llanusa had 15 points. Robertson, women’s college basketball all-time leading 3-point shooter, had just two points. Skylar Vann came off the bench to add 14 points.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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