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Women's March Madness: Top Seeds Punching Their Sweet 16 Tickets

South Carolina, Texas, Iowa, and USC blazed through their tournament openers.

Last Friday marked the beginning of Women’s March Madness. This year's opening matchups set the stage for another unforgettable tournament. The competing teams have showcased amazing skills and relentless determination. Let’s dive into some of the most triumphant victories this competition has brought. 

No. 1 seeds South Carolina and Texas both won their games to advance to the Sweet 16. The South Carolina Gamecocks remain undefeated despite the absence of two of their starters, Kamilla Cardoso and Bree Hall, in their first-round matchup against Presbyterian. Freshman phenom MiLaysia Fulwiley took charge instead, scoring five of 10 3-point attempts against Presbyterian and 20 points against UNC. After routing No. 16 seed Presbyterian 91-39 and beating No. 8 seed North Carolina 88-41, the Gamecocks advanced. The ladies will play Indiana today for the chance to advance to the Elite 8. 

Texas also had big wins against the No. 16 and No. 8 seeds in its region. After the team defeated Drexel 82-42, it took down Alabama 65-54 with the help of its star forwards, Madison Booker and Aaliyah Moore. They led the team in scoring with 21 points each. Moore sealed the deal for the Longhorns with a huge defensive play in the fourth quarter, helping the ladies advance to the Sweet 16. Today, they’ll face off with the No. 4 seed, Gonzaga.

No. 1 seeds Iowa and USC also secured victories in their first and second round games, punching their Sweet 16 tickets. Despite a rough start in the Iowa Hawkeyes’ tournament opener, Caitlin Clark earned her 65th career double-double. She contributed 27 points and 10 assists. Iowa dominated the boards with a 50-37 rebounding edge. Kate Martin collected 14 rebounds and 15 points to help the team win over Holy Cross. 

In the second round, Iowa hosted No. 8 seed West Virginia. Martin was once again one of Iowa’s leading rebounders with 10 rebounds, beaten only by Hannah Stuelke’s 11. Clark scored 32 points, breaking another scoring record (this one for single-season points) with 1,113 points in 2023-24. The Hawkeyes pulled off a 10-point win against the Mountaineers, whose powerful defense made it difficult for them to get shots up. Iowa will meet Colorado today in the Sweet 16 for a chance to further its championship dreams. 

The University of Southern California defeated No. 16 seed Texas A&M Corpus Christi 87-55 in its tournament opener. The USC Trojans dominated defensively and offensively, closing the third quarter on a 20-5 run and forcing 19 turnovers. Guards JuJu Watkins and McKenzie Forbes led the team in scoring with 23 points each. 

In its next game, USC faced off with No. 8 seed Kansas, beating the Jayhawks 73-55. Watkins and Forbes brought momentum early in the game. Watkins finished the game with a double-double, recording 28 points and 11 rebounds. In addition, Forbes scored 20 points to contribute to the Trojans’ win. The dynamic duo led USC to its first Sweet 16 since 1994. The Trojans will meet the Baylor Bears this weekend. 

With the Sweet 16 on the horizon, teams are working overtime to put on their best performances. The stage has been set for an exciting championship full of heavyweights. As fans eagerly await the next round, one thing is certain: the Women’s NCAA tournament never fails to deliver an epic show. 


Edited by Ella Chang

Social media content created by Daryl Batt

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