The Sweet 16 of the 2019 women's NCAA tournament is in the books. Baylor, Iowa, Notre Dame and Stanford each won Saturday. We compiled the top results, sights and sounds of the day.
The Elite Eight, which gets underway at noon ET Sunday (ESPN/ESPN App), will include all of the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds for the fifth time in women's tournament history and fourth time since the field expanded to 64 teams. It happened most recently in 2012.
Here's what you need to know:
The defending national champions got all they could handle from sophomore scoring whiz Chennedy Carter and the Aggies. But with senior Arike Ogunbowale scoring a career-high 34 points and the Irish outrebounding Texas A&M 44-28, Notre Dame prevailed. It's the second year in a row the Irish beat the Aggies by single digits in the Sweet 16.
Notre Dame shot 52.9 percent from the field, but had just two 3-pointers versus eight for Texas A&M. Carter had 35 points, going 13-of-34 from the field.
It was another tough tournament ending for the Aggies, but their entire starting lineup -- four sophomores and one junior -- returns next season. -- Mechelle Voepel
This matchup 😳 pic.twitter.com/X8E858u2fF— espnW (@espnW) March 30, 2019
Led by Alanna Smith's 13 points, Stanford outlasted Missouri State in the Sweet 16.
The second-seeded Cardinal earned a spot in Monday night's meeting with No. 1 Notre Dame for a trip to the Final Four. But it wasn't easy. Stanford, which advances to the Elite Eight for the third time in the last four years, shot just 25 percent from the field (17-of-68) and 10.3 percent on 3-point attempts (3-of-29).
Sophomore Kiana Williams, who has 87 3-pointers on the season, missed all 11 attempts from beyond the arc. And Smith, the Cardinal's leading scorer, was held more than six points below her average and was in foul trouble all game long.
Missouri State was the lowest seed left in the tournament. The Lady Bears shot just slightly better than the Cardinal.
The final game of the Sweet 16 marked the lowest combined score in a regional semifinal since 2013. -- Elizabeth Merrill
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is in the house at Wintrust Arena cheering on his little sister Anna, a guard for Stanford. Russell isn't much of a sitter. He stands and pumps his fist often. Oh, his wife Ciara is here too.
Top-seeded Baylor had just begun to dismantle South Carolina on Saturday at the Greensboro Coliseum when Iowa center Megan Gustafson was asked about facing the Lady Bears' inside tandem of Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox. No offense, Gamecocks.
"I think everyone in the country would look forward to that matchup," Gustafson said after posting 27 points and 13 rebounds in a semifinal victory over NC State.
As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. Baylor is playing at such a high level that not even the second-seeded Hawkeyes and their talented inside tandem of Gustafson and Hannah Stewart seem like a formidable opponent.
Baylor has too many weapons outside of Brown and Cox to stop its steamroll toward the Final Four for the first time since winning the title in 2012. Case in point: sophomore guard Didi Richards, who had a team-high 25 points on 11-for-14 shooting against South Carolina. Iowa, as talented as it is, likely would need five Gustafsons to make a difference on Monday. -- David Newton
No upset this time. Not even close to one. Unlike 2013, when top-seeded Baylor bowed out of the women’s NCAA tournament with a stunning Sweet 16 loss to Louisville, Saturday’s Sweet 16 game against South Carolina never was in doubt. Even as the Gamecocks trimmed a 26-point halftime deficit to 16 in the third quarter it was inevitable the top-seed Lady Bears were going to win – and win big. Too much inside power in Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox. Too much firepower by guard Didi Richards. Too much talent period in the 93-68 rout to set up a Monday showdown against second-seeded Iowa for a trip to the Final Four.
NC State coach Wes Moore couldn't say enough about the amazing 70 percent field goal percentage of Iowa star Megan Gustafson before Saturday's game. "There's no stopping her," he said.
Gustafson didn't disappoint. The 6-foot-3 senior made her first six field goals before her first miss with 6:32 left in the third quarter. She finished 10-for-13 from the field and 7-for-7 from the free throw line en route to a team-high 27 points. She was unstoppable despite being well defended early.
Gustafson also dominated the boards with 11 rebounds, tying Natalie Butler and Courtney Paris with 33 for the most double-doubles in a season in Division I history.
Iowa advances to the Elite Eight for first time since 1993. -- David Newton
Iowa star Megan Gustafson seemed to relish the idea of playing top-seeded Baylor for a chance to reach the Final Four. She put the Hawkeyes in position to do that on Saturday, scoring 27 points on 10-for-13 shooting from the floor and 7-for-7 from the free throw line in a 79-61 Sweet 16 victory over N.C. State. It was her 33rd double-double of the season, tying a school record. If the Hawkeyes are to continue advancing she may need a few more.
Looking ahead to Sunday
Walz says what about us?
Friendly reminder from Jeff Walz:— espnW (@espnW) March 30, 2019
STOP 👏 FORGETTING 👏 ABOUT 👏 WOMEN'S 👏 SPORTS 👏 pic.twitter.com/rtweRcJSmo
Hustle or hugs?
Here for this Christyn Williams hustle 👏 pic.twitter.com/EIPdzf8H2l— espnW (@espnW) March 30, 2019
Sorry for the hug I needed one at the moment 😂😂— Sabrina Ionescu (@sabrina_i20) March 30, 2019