March Madness: Tracking NCAA women’s tournament auto bids
Women’s college basketball teams are punching their tickets to the NCAA Tournament after winning the conference tournament championship games. Sportzshala Sports tracks all automated NCAA tournament bids as well as major college conference title games.
[Free bracket contests for women’s & men’s tourneys for shot at $25K]
NCAA automatic qualifiers
Tennessee TechOhio Valley Conference
St. LouisAtlantic 10
South Carolina, SPK
Gardner WebbBig South
James Madisonsolar belt
Sacramento Statebig sky
West Coast Championship: Portland beats Gonzaga to win WCC
Portland heads to the NCAA Tournament.
The Pilots stunned No. 16 Gonzaga on Monday afternoon 64-60 to win the WCC Tournament and earn their first NCAA Tournament seed in 26 years.
Maisie Burnham dropped 19 points with six rebounds for the Pilots, who used a huge 12-0 streak towards the end of the third quarter to close the double-figure hole they fell into at halftime after scoring just eight points in the second quarter. They then hit four free throws along with Alex Fowler’s layup in the last 37 seconds to seal the four-point win.
Yvonne Ajim led Gonzaga with 21 points and 14 rebounds after being down 7-of-13. Kaylynn Truong had 18 points and five assists. Gonzaga should still make it to the NCAA Tournament, even with a loss. ESPN’s Charlie Creme had the Bulldogs as the No. 8 seed before losing, reducing their season tally to 28–4.
Big East Championship: UConn takes the third tournament in a row
It didn’t take long for them to get started, but Geno Auriemma’s Huskies took the title at the Big East tournament in Connecticut on Monday night.
Connecticut, after a double-double by Alia Edwards, scored a dominant 67-56 victory over Villanova at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. This victory marks the third consecutive tournament title for the Huskies, and they have all now won in a dominant fashion.
UConn started off a little slow and held on to a one-point lead just after the middle of the second quarter. However, that’s when the Huskies took off. They ended the half 9-0 and then extended their lead to 25 points at the end of the third quarter, holding Villanova to just five points in the first six-plus minutes of the period.
By then it was too late for the Wildcats to return. UConn just held on to an 11-point win despite only scoring four points in the last 6:45 of the game.
Maddie Siegrist led Villanova by 22 points and nine rebounds, while Lucy Olsen added 14 points. Villanova only shot 30% from the field as a team, with Siegrist and Olsen being the only players to score over seven points for the Wildcats.
Edwards led UConn with 19 points and 15 rebounds, while Dorka Juhas added 16 points and 8 rebounds. Lou Lopez Seneschal finished with 14 points after 5 of 8 field goals.
Big Ten Championship: Caitlin Clark, Iowa Dominates Ohio State
On Sunday afternoon, Ohio State didn’t stand a chance.
Caitlin Clark made sure of it.
Clark and Iowa absolutely dominated the Buckeyes 105-72 at the Target Center, which was full of Hawkeyes fans, to win a second straight Big Ten tournament title. Clarke finished with a triple-double, fourth of the season and 10th of her career, with 30 points, 17 assists and 10 rebounds. It is also the third 30-point triple-double of her career, which sets a Division I record.
The Hawkeyes beat Ohio State 26–9 in the first quarter and then went 61–24 at halftime. Clark had 23 points and nine assists at halftime, one point behind Ohio State.
By that time it was all over. Iowa won with 33 points and a second straight tournament title. Iowa’s victory marked the most points scored in a Big Ten title game and the biggest margin in the history of the game.
Monica Chinano added 26 points and seven rebounds to Iowa in that win, after only allowing one field goal in 12 attempts. Kate Martin has 13 points and three assists. As a team, the Hawkeyes fielded 62.1% and were 16 ahead of Ohio State.
Taylor Mixell led the Buckeyes with 24 points on 8 of 13 field goals, while Coty McMahon added 23 points and seven rebounds.
Iowa entered that day as the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State wasn’t far behind as the No. 3 seed. Whether that changes from today to qualifying Sunday, and whether Iowa’s final performance is enough to lift them up remains to be seen.
Pac-12 Championship: Stunning Washington State Title Win
The biggest surprise of the day came in Las Vegas, where the forgotten Washington State stunned the rest of the conference by taking home the championship title by beating UCLA 65-61 on Sunday.
This is WSU’s first conference tournament win in the program’s history. The Cougars finished 7th in the tournament and needed to win four games in five days to win the championship. This included a massive loss to No. 3 AP-ranked Utah in the quarter-finals and another victory over No. 20 Colorado in the semi-finals.
No wonder Charlise Leger-Walker and Bella Murekatete led the Cougars on Sunday, as they did all season. Léger-Walker lost 23 points, including 5 of 7 hits from 3 points, while Murekatete added 21 points.
WSU was on the NCAA tournament bubble at the start of the Pac-12 tournament. He will now enter the Big Dance as a dangerous middle seed.
SEC Championship: Alia Boston, SC Wins Again
It will always be Alia Boston and South Carolina.
The Gamecocks were never behind on Sunday afternoon at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena en route to their seventh SEC tournament title in nine years. They beat Tennessee 74-58 to go 32-0 for the season, 18 points behind Boston.
While things had been tight before, South Carolina stopped the Tennessee offense after the first period. The Gamecocks held the Vols to just 12 points in the second and then to 11 points in the third, giving them a 13-point lead going into the final period.
From there, the Gamecocks extended their lead to a 16-point victory in South Carolina. Boston finished with 18 points, 10 of which came in the first quarter, as a result of South Carolina’s victory. She added seven rebounds and shot 5-of-10 from the field. Zia Cook led the Gamecocks with 24 points and five rebounds after 8 of 17 field goals. Cook accounts for half of South Carolina’s four three-pointers.
Jordan Horston led Tennessee with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Ricky Jackson added 17 points and nine rebounds. The appearance in the title game was the first for the Volunteers since 2015, when they also lost to South Carolina.
Although there was no doubt, the Gamecocks would take first place in the NCAA Tournament.
ACC Championship: Virginia Tech dominates Louisville and wins first title in program history
Virginia Tech won the very first ACC title in their program’s history, defeating Louisville 75–67 in a game in which Tech led all but 8 minutes.
Tech hit the first basket of the game and went up 6-2 before playing into the worst part of the game. Louisville went on to go 8–0 at two minutes, which made it look like Tech would be in big trouble for the remainder of the competition. But once Kayana Taylor made a three-point shot to end Louisville’s hitting streak, Thek charged forward and didn’t look back. Drawn 14–14 with less than three minutes left in the quarter, they went on a 9–0 streak that took the lead to 22–14 after the Cardinals had scored nearly four minutes.
Virginia Tech’s lead only increased in the second quarter when Liz Keatley and shooter Georgia Amour combined to 28 points in the first half, a mind blowing statistic considering that Louisville ended the first half with 28 points to Tech’s 38.