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Notre Dame makes 10 trip to Sweet 16

Women's NCAA Tournament 2nd round 2019: No 9 Michigan State vs No 1 Norte Dame at Purcell Pavilion on March 25, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)
Women’s NCAA Tournament 2nd round 2019: Arike Ogunbowale (24) No 9 Michigan State vs No 1 Norte Dame at Purcell Pavilion on March 25, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Notre Dame Women’s Basketball Team will make its 10th straight appearance in the Sweet 16 after a dominant win over Michigan State.

In the second round of the NCAAW Tournament, Notre Dame won on its own turf 91-63 of Michigan State. Irish forward Brianna Turner recorded a 14 point, 11 rebound double-double to become the Notre Dame leader in rebounds.

The Michigan State starters only combined for 25 points from three players, while Arike Ogunbowale scored 23 for Notre Dame. Four Notre Dame starters landed double digit scoring, Jessica Shepard, Jackie Young, Turner and Ogunbowale.

Women’s NCAA Tournament 2nd round 2019: No 9 Michigan State vs No 1 Norte Dame at Purcell Pavilion on March 25, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

Notre Dame (32-3), the number 1 seed, ran away with the game with a 14-0 run to end the first half. The defending National Champions controlled the post on both ends, winning both offensive and defensive rebounds. Notre Dame was up 26 points at the half, 52-26. Sydney Cooks and Shay Colley brought the same energy as they had in the Spartan’s win over Central Michigan, but Notre Dame big four kept them from finding success.

Notre Dame made 47.9 percent of its shots, including 30.8 from outside the circle and 68 from the foul line. Dwarfed in comparison, Michigan State shot 37.3 percent, 26.3 for three-pointers and 61.5 percent of free throws.

Ogunbowale now has over 2,500 career points at Notre Dame. She is the first to do so in history at Notre Dame. Michigan State loss was its worst in school tournament history.

Women’s NCAA Tournament 2nd round 2019: No 9 Michigan State vs No 1 Norte Dame at Purcell Pavilion on March 25, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

The Irish have beaten its last 11 opponents by 29.8 ppg, and will look to do so again against 4-seed Texas A&M in Chicago Saturday. A&M (29-7) won 78-76 from a clutch 3 over Marquette.

SCORES BY QUARTERS

ND: 25 27 21 18

MSU: 14 12 17 20

MSU: L. ALLEN 5 0 2/3 12; N. CLOUDEN 0 2 2/4 8; S. COLLEY 2 0 1/2 5; N. HOLLIE 1 0 1/2 3; S. COOKS 7 1 0/0 17; K/ BELLES 5 0 0/0 10.

ND: J. SHEPARD 9 0 1/2 19; B. TURNER 5 0 4/5 14; M. MABREY 1 0 0/0 2; A. OGUNBOWALE 6 2 5/6 23; J. YOUNG6 1 6/921.

Silvers, Not Manziel, Leads Memphis in OT Win Over Birmingham

AAF 2019: Birmingham Iron vs Memphis Express game on March 24, 2019. (Photo by Shane Cossey / fi360 News)
AAF 2019: Birmingham Iron vs Memphis Express game on March 24, 2019. (Photo by Shane Cossey / fi360 News)

Memphis, TN – Fans, waiting for Johnny Manziel (2) led the offense, were disappointed to see his limited usage.  But the Memphis Express (2-5) faithful were rewarded by a 31-25 comeback overtime victory over the Birmingham Iron (4-3) lead by quarterback Brandon Silvers (12).

Silvers clinch the victory in overtime with a 10-yard, goal-line pass to wide receiver Daniel Williams (86).  This came after the Iron’s OT attempt, that the AAF starts from the 10-yard line and doesn’t allow field goals, yielded two incomplete passes, a sack for an 8-yard loss and a final Hail Mary that fell ineffectually to the turf.

Silvers put up 266 yards passing, going 24 of 35 with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

AAF 2019: Birmingham Iron vs Memphis Express game on March 24, 2019. (Photo by Shane Cossey / fi360 News)

“Right now, Brandon is our quarterback, and I don’t want to start a quarterback controversy or what have you,” Singletary said. “I’m very very excited about what Johnny does and what he brings to the team, but Brandon’s our starting quarterback.”

Things were looking pretty dire for Memphis, halfway through the 3rd quarter, being down to the Iron 19 to 8.  The turning point came from a Birmingham series that was halted by a holding penalty.  The ensuant punt was blocked by Express linebacker DeMarquis Gates (58), scooped and returned for a touchdown by defensive back Terrell Bonds (21).  Reducing their deficit to 5.

The Iron score again in the fourth with a 4-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Luiz Perez (12) to tight-end Wes Saxton (83) to make it 25-14.  The Express answered by putting up a field goal, and with 24 seconds left in the game, a TD pass to Reece Horn (17) and subsequent two-point conversion pass to Brandon Barnes (80) tied it up and sent the game to overtime.  A first for the AAF.

Horn was the most productive receiver of the night with 113 yards off of 7 receptions.  Followed by Alton Howard (81) with 3 receptions for 55 yards and Williams’ 5 for 30.

AAF 2019: Birmingham Iron vs Memphis Express game on March 24, 2019. (Photo by Shane Cossey / fi360 News)

Rushing was low for the Express, with only 41 yards total.  In fact, Manziel had the highest rushing total for Memphis scrambling twice for 20 yards.  Manziel was in for the last series in the second quarter and two in the third.  Which resulted in a missed field goal attempt and two punts.  He went 3 of 5 for 48 yards and was sack twice for 11 yards.

“This is the best room I’ve ever been in,” said Manziel, “we came back and won the game, and that’s all that matters.”

Another area that Memphis is going to have to improve is their penalties.  They were penalized 14 times for a total of 111 yards.  Many of which coming at inopportune times, giving some stalled drives of Birmingham new life and hurting them on the scoreboard.

AAF 2019: Birmingham Iron vs Memphis Express game on March 24, 2019. (Photo by Shane Cossey / fi360 News)

The Express came away with a much-needed win before having to face a 6 and 1 Orlando Apollos team next  Saturday, March 30 in Memphis.  Birmingham also plays at home for their Sunday game against the Atlanta Legends (2-5).

Michigan State wins shootout in NCAAW first round

Women's NCAA Tournament 1st round 2019: No 9 Michigan State vs No 8 Central Michigan at Purcell Pavilion on March 23, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)
Women’s NCAA Tournament 1st round 2019: No 0 Shay Colley with the winning layup to put MSU up by No 9 Michigan State vs #8 Central Michigan at Purcell Pavilion on March 23, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Lady Spartan Shay Colley saved her team’s postseason run with a last second layup for the 88-87 win over Central Michigan.

With three minutes left on the clock, the two teams were tied with 80 on the scoreboard. The Chippewas struck first but Colley quickly made a field goal to bring the tie to 82. They traded two-pointers again until CMU’s Presley Hudson landed a shot outside the circle. Colley went to the post from the right side of the lane for the final basket of the game, the one that put MSU ahead.

Micaela Kelly took a shot of redemption with a second on the clock with no success.

“We were looking for a bucket to win the game and coach trusted me to make that last play and I did,” Colley said after the win.

Women’s NCAA Tournament 1st round 2019: No 4 Taryn McCutcheon dropping dimes off during the No 9 Michigan State vs No 8 Central Michigan at Purcell Pavilion on March 23, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

“It was probably a very entertaining game for our fans to watch,” Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant said. “As coaches, we could have probably used a little bit more span of a victory.”

Central Michigan (25-8)  and Michigan State ( 21-11) were the eighth and ninth seed respectively.

Three of Central Michigan’s shooters, Hudson, Kelly and Reyna Frost combined for 78 of the teams 87 points. Hudson shot 8-17 for 20 points and Kelly went 8-17, 24 points. Frost led the game with 34 points.

Michigan State were flawless from the foul line, draining all 11 of its shots. The Spartans led throughout the game, going up 25-20 at the end of the first quarter. Taryn McCutcheon got hot with three straight 3’s to get25. Central Michigan then scored seven straight to get back in the game.

Women’s NCAA Tournament 1st round 2019: No 9 Michigan State vs No 8 Central Michigan at Purcell Pavilion on March 23, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

The second period barely went to Central Michigan. While MSU still led at half, 43-40, CMU scored 20 to MSU’s 18.

The Chippewas 26 point fourth quarter kept Michigan State from running away with the game.

Michigan State now takes on Notre Dame, the top seed of the Chicago Region.

MSU 88, CMU 87

SCORES BY QUARTER

MSU: 25 15 23 22

CMU: 20 20 21 26

CMU:  J. SMITH 1 0 0/0 2; R. FROST 15 1 1/1 34; P. HUDSON 6 2 2/2 20; M. KELLY 4 4 4/5 24; K. BUSSELL 2 1 0/0 7.

MSU: V. GAINES 4 0 0/0 8; J. ALLEN 3 0 4/4 10 N. CLOUDEN 4 1 5/5 16; S. COLLEY 5 1 0/0 13; T. MCCUTCHEON 0 4 0/0 12; S. COOKS 9 1 0/0 21; M. COOK 3 0 2/2 8.

Lady Irish, Ogunbowale suppress Bethune-Cookman

Women's NCAA Tournament 1st round 2019: No 16 Bethune-Cookman vs No 1 Notre Dame at Purcell Pavilion on March 23, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)
Women’s NCAA Tournament 1st round 2019: No 16 Bethune-Cookman vs No 1 Notre Dame at Purcell Pavilion on March 23, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame women Basketball team came in as a top seed for the NCAAW tournament, and cemented their spot with a 92-50 win over Bethune-Cookman.

The first round of the tournament saw 23 points from Irish guard Arike Ogunowale and a 22 point, 13 rebound double-double from Jessica Shepard.

Notre Dame (15-1 at home) made 54.5 percent of its shots, 36-66. Compared to BC’s 26.7 percent, the Irish compiler a highlight reel for the remainder of the games.

“March Madness is the most fun time of the year and it’s the last go around for us seniors,” Ogunbowale said. “We don’t want to leave anything behind. No regrets.”

Women’s NCAA Tournament 1st round 2019: No 16 Bethune-Cookman vs No 1 Notre Dame at Purcell Pavilion on March 23, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

The Lady Irish move on to the second round of the NCAAW tournament, and will take on Michigan State. MSU took out Central Michigan in an 88-87 shootout to advance. Notre Dame’s 31-3 schedule overshadows the Lady Spartans’ 21-11 season,

Notre Dame was on the board with six points before Angel Golden landed a three-point shot for the Lady Wildcats. Golden was responsible for 25 points, the most of any player in the game. She went 6-20 from outside the arc, but Bethune-Cookman only made nine of its 3s out of 34 shots.

Ogunbowale and Irish teammate Jackie Young combined for 5 three-pointers, adding up to 5/10.

A short run brought Bethune-Cookman to to 1 7-9 deficit, the closest it would come to Notre Dame. The end of the first quarter saw a 29-12 Irish lead.

Women’s NCAA Tournament 1st round 2019: No 11 Brianna Turner with a big block go No 12 Chasimmie Brown during the #16 Bethune-Cookman vs #1 Notre Dame at Purcell Pavilion on March 23, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

The second quarter saw even more dominance from the home team. Bethune-Cookman scored seven in the period, while Notre Dame added 22.

“Their starting five’s size is about the size of our men’s starting five,” Lady Wildcats coach Vanessa Blair-Lewis said. “It was tough for us to get the ball inside to any of our players.”

Notre Dame 92, Bethune-Cookman 50

SCORE BY QUARTER

ND: 29 22 23 18

BC: 12 7 16 15

ND: J. SHEPARD 9 0 4/4 22; B. TURNER 8 0 3/4 19; A. OGUNBOWALE 6 2 5/5 23; J. YOUNG 3 1 2/2 11

BC: C. BROWN 0 0 2/2 2; A. SCOTT 3 0 0/0 6; A. BALL 0 1 0/0 3; C. HARRIS 1 1 0/0 5; A. GOLDEN 1 6 5/7 25

Can a NBA player make a statistical difference?

Tobias Harris (34) during the Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on January 18, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

Teams made significant changes to their rosters coming out of the NBA trade deadline but two teams that made newsworthy trades were the Los Angeles Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Clippers seemingly gave their best player Tobias Harris along with Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott to the 76ers in exchange for Wilson Chandler, Landry Shamet, Mike Muscala.

Then the 76ers traded a 2nd round pick in exchange for James Ennis from the Houston Rockets. Then acquired Jonathan Simmons from the Orlando Magic for Markelle Fultz.

These moves made at the trade deadline made it seem as though the Clippers had put themselves outside of the playoffs but in fact the Clippers have been able to increase their 3 point percentage by 2.95% taking it from 37.7% to 40.65%.

They also have raised their free throw percentage by .6% increasing it from 78% to 78.8%, while evidently increasing their 2 point percentage by an outstanding 23.1%.

The Clippers were only hurt in one category, the field goal percentage taking a hit by 11.1% decreasing it from 46.7% to 35.6%.

The 76ers in theory should have seen a massive increase in percentages seeing they added shooters like Harris. Although on paper the 76ers have seen decreases almost across the board in all but one category.

With the new additions settling in on the team they have dropped 1.6% in field goal percentage from 48.1% to 46.5%. Also dropping their 3 point percentage 5.3% from 37% to 31.7%. With the only gain in percentage being in the free throw percentage with an increase of 5% taking them from 76% to 81%. They again see themselves drop in 2 point percentages falling 1.6% from 54.4% to a 52.8%.

Looking at this data it brings up a question. With the moves made and players added to both squads who makes the difference?

It comes down to Los Angeles Clippers Landry Shamet who since joining the Clippers on the trade deadline as seen significant growth in 3 point percentage and free throw percentage.

Shamet has added 5% to his 3 point shooting raising it from 40.9% to 45.9% as well as increasing his free throw percentage by .9% raising it from 80.9% to 81.8%. Shamet only takes a slight 2.4% hit on his field goal percentage lowering it from 44.9% to 42.5%.

Shamet has been seeing an improvement in his shooting, unlike Philadelphia 76er Tobias Harris who has seen a steady decrease in numbers since joining the team.

Harris has seen only a .1% increase since joining the 76ers. He added a .1% increase to his field goal percentage going from 48.1% to 48.2%. Things worsen for Harris as he drops 4% in 3 point percentage 41.9% to 37.9%; and dropping another 2.1% from the line dropping under 90% from 90.3% to now 88.2%.

Now with the Clippers being the only team in the playoffs without an NBA All-Star and outshooting a team who has multiple it is safe to say new players can change a team shooting stats regardless of stardom.

The San Diego Fleet fall short at home to the Iron

AAF Commanders vs Fleet game action on February 24, 2019. (Photo by Nick Koza)

San Diego, CA –  The Birmingham Iron (4-2) defeated the San Diego Fleet (3-3), 32-29 to erase their perfect record at home during their matchup at SDCCU Stadium on Sunday evening.

With :03 left in the game, Iron kicker Nick Novak hit a 44-yard field goal to disrupt San Diego’s efforts to comeback from behind.

It was a hard fought battle between both teams until the very end.

The Birmingham Iron scored the first touchdown of the game behind quarterback, Luis Perez’s short 13-yard pass over the middle of the field to running back, Trent Richardson who pushed himself into the end zone during the first quarter.

A few drives later another short pass was completed to wide receiver, L’Damian Washington who slipped a defender and broke for 83-yards down the field for a touchdown with 8:56 remaining in the first half.

The Iron offense moved the ball effectively with a ton of short yardage throws and powerful runs by Trent Richardson when they needed it.

Coming into this game Trent Richardson led the league with eight touchdowns and receiving yards amongst running backs with 142 yards through week five.

Tonight, he added an additional 44-yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns.

Iron quarterback, Luis Perez remained solid for the Iron as he threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns.

Despite throwing two interceptions, Perez was poise under pressure and helped his team to victory in the city he grew up in.

“For me to get in and be able to pull off a win as a team like this in front of my hometown is a great feeling,” Perez said.

As for the Fleet, they struggled early on not producing much on offense.

“These are self-inflicted wounds and these are things that we can control,” Fleet head coach Mike Martz said at the end of the game. “We have to clean all that up for us to have a chance to win.”

For a team that averages 124.4 yards per game rushing they could not hit the ground effectively only rushing for a total of 67 yards against a talented Iron defense who forced two turnovers.

There were many quick three and outs for the Fleet offense leaving their defense in tough positions.

Although, the Fleet defense had two takeaways with interceptions from outside linebacker Travis Feeny and free safety Demetrius Wright they could not find an answer for the Iron offense as they marched down the field consistently.

“We’re constantly learning,” Fleet defensive end Damontre Moore said. “We take what we did well and we also learn from what we did bad.”

However, the Fleet were able to keep the score close with touchdowns by tight end, Ben Johnson and running back, Terrell Watson who scored twice in the third quarter.

Later in the game the Fleet were knocking on the door of the endzone and another touchdown pass was thrown by Fleet quarterback Mike Bercovici to wide receiver Francis Owusu, to tie the game 29-29 with 4:36 left in the fourth quarter.

That touchdown gave the Fleet some hope with a potential overtime situation.

At least until the Iron offense rumbled down the field on the ensuing drive to set up the game winning field goal.

Oregon Ducks earn a ticket to the dance

PAC-12 Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Rick Gurrola / fi360 News)
Payton Pritchard during the PAC-12 Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Rick Gurrola / fi360 News)

Las Vegas, NV – When the odds have been stacked against you only have two choices, go with them or break them. The Oregon Ducks did just that by rattling off 8 wins in a row.

This 8th victory defeating No 1 seed Washington Huskies 68-48 to win the PAC-12 Championship and the automatic bid to NCAA’s Tournament.

March Madness has already began well before selection Sunday for the Ducks and many other teams playing in their perspective conference tournaments for automatic bids.

PAC-12 Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Rick Gurrola / fi360 News)

The Ducks were lead by guard Payton Pritchard who dropped 20 points, 7 assist and 6 rebounds.

“Everybody doubt us,” said Pritchard, “we just prepared like coach said and didn’t talk about the tournament.”

Washington went step for step with the Ducks in the first half only trailing by two points

28-26. Both teams needed to make some halftime adjustments to win.

The Ducks took charge of the second half by jumping out to a 11 point lead 39 – 28 12:00 2nd half.

Ducks coach Dana Altman let Pritchard loose to led them down the stretch again. The last four games his offense output was 7 points first round, 20 points quarterfinals, 18 points semifinals and 20 points championship game.

PAC-12 Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Rick Gurrola / fi360 News)

The look of defeat set in on the Ducks bench when the lead jumped to 20 with under 2:00 minutes to play in the game.

Washington began to press full court to disrupt Oregon offense but it was too little too late.

Coach Altman began to open up the bench at that point to reward his guys for a hard fought win.

PAC-12 Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Rick Gurrola / fi360 News)

As clocked ran down the Ducks began to celebrate more and more knowing what waited in the balance an automatic berth in NCAA March Madness bracket.

“Now we get to play again,” said Altman, “It’s all about the match ups….we can be a tough out.”

 

 

 

Does a NBA team need a star

Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. on March 06, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)
Tobias Harris (34) during the Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on January 18, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

As the smoke and hype settles down from the NBA trade deadline and teams are trying to make runs at a playoff spot some teams came out of the deadline without a star player. But that brings up a question every NBA fan has pondered, do you need star to make the playoffs?

 

Comparing two teams like the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers would not be fare. So this is going to be a comparison of the Los Angeles Clippers and their no star team currently seeded 8th in the Western Conference Standing against hometown rivals Los Angeles Lakers with their plethora of star talent currently seeded 11th.

 

Coming out of the trade deadline the Clippers traded away Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, Mike Scott for Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, 2021 1st round pick, 2021 2nd round pick, 2023 2nd round pick.

 

Montrezl Harrell (5) during the Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on February 25, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

On the trade deadline the Clippers had traded Averley Bradley for JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple of the Memphis Grizzlies. Then traded Mike Muscala for Michael Beasley and Ivica Zubac of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Clippers later waived Milso Teodosic, Martin Gortat, Michael Beasley.

 

The Lakers walked out of the trade deadline with Reggie Bullock after a trade with the Detroit Pistons for Svi Mykhailiuk, 2021 2nd round pick. Then on the deadline traded Mike Muscala to the Clippers.

 

From the end of the trade deadline comparing the shooting stats through February the Clippers were behind the Lakers in three of the four percentiles, the Lakers led in Field Goal percentage 45.7% to 40.8%; 3 point percentage 34% to 22.7%; 2 point percentage 51.8% to 45.4%; the Clippers only led in one category free throw percentage 76.2% to 68.6%.

 

SGA (2) being guarded by Clay Thompson during the Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on January 18, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

In March as teams focus on making the playoffs and newly teamed players find their roles percentages switch as the Clippers now lead in three of the four percentiles 48% to 47.6% in field goal percentage; 44.8% to 28% in 3 point percentage; 74.4% to 70.7% in free throw percentage; the Lakers only lead in 2 point percentage with a margin of 58.7% to 49.3%.

 

As of now through the first two months of play the Lakers have been hit with injuries. But combining the two averages in the months since the trade deadline the Clippers still hold a three to four advantage leading in field goal percentage 48.6% to 46.6%; 3 point percentage 38.2% to 31.2%; 77.5% to 69.5% in free throw percentage; the Lakers still lead in 2 point percentage by a slimmer margin of 55% to 48.4%.

 

Injured LeBron James during a stop in play on the court. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

The playoff race is coming to a close with 13 games left in the preseason, the Clippers as of now have the 8th seed with the Lakers looking for a way to shoot themselves back into the bracket but injuries hold them off.

USC Trojans turnover the victory to No 1 seed Washington

PAC-12 Basketball Tournament USC Trojans vs Washington Huskies at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Rick Gurrola / fi360 News)
Jonah Mathews making a move during the PAC-12 Basketball Tournament USC Trojans vs Washington Huskies at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Rick Gurrola / fi360 News)

Las Vegas, NV – USC junior guard Jonah Mathews drained a three-pointer with 1:10 remaining to cut No.1 seeded Washington’s lead, 72-71. The Huskies took a six-point lead on a three-pointer by Dominic Green and a breakaway dunk by Matisse Thybulle. The Trojans tried to setup a tying shot in the final seconds but Nick Rakocevic threw the ball away.

Washington held off the Trojans in a 78-75 win in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals Thursday in Las Vegas.

“We obviously made a few mistakes in the last two and a half, three minutes, like we have many times this season,” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “Our players play hard. But our margin of error is so small that those crucial moments, whether it’s a turnover, defensive stop, made shot, free throw or last second shot haven’t gone our way this year.”

PAC-12 Basketball Tournament USC Trojans vs Washington Huskies at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Rick Gurrola / fi360 News)

The Trojans came back from being down by double digits but could not make plays when they needed and the Huskies defense clamped down.  Washington made 13-of-28 from three-point range to stay ahead of the USC.

“USC just kept coming back. You have to give them a lot of credit. They kept fighting back, fighting back,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said. “Our guys showed a lot of resiliency.”

Rakocevic, Mathews and Kevin Porter Jr. each scored 17 points to help the Trojans keep it close. Washington’s Jaylen Nowell scored 24 points and David Crisp added 18 points.

PAC-12 Basketball Tournament USC Trojans vs Washington Huskies at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Rick Gurrola / fi360 News)

Washington hit seven three’s to jump out to a 29-18 lead in the first half. USC went on an 8-1 run to pull within four but the Huskies utilized a 10-2 run to take a 12-point lead. Porter nailed a buzzer-beating three as the Trojans trailed 43-38 heading into halftime.

The top-seeded Huskies will play Oregon in the final Saturday after a 66-60 win over Colorado in the semifinals.

GUSTAFSON SCORES 45 IN IOWA’S B1G TOURNAMENT WIN

Women's BIG TEN Tournament 2019:Maryland vs Iowa at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)
Women’s BIG TEN Tournament 2019:Maryland vs Iowa at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

INDIANAPOLIS — The women’s B1G tournament favorite, the Terrapins of Maryland, were picked apart by Megan Gustafson and the rest of the Iowa Hawkeyes.

No. 2 Iowa( 26-6) defeated no.1 Maryland (28-4) 90-76 for the Hawkeyes’ third conference title.

Gustafson was voted the Most Outstanding player of the tournament and set a championship game record with 45 points, half of the team’s total. This was her second tournament 40 point game, another record for the Big Ten. Her 48 points in last year’s tournament is the current high in scoring.

“Every time is special. I mean, these guys, this is a bond that we’ll carry with us for the rest of our lives,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said after her team’s win. “They will always be Big Ten champs, and we will always carry this journey together, and that is something nobody can take away from us ever.”

Gustafson came into the tournament knowing her team was capable of winning. “I wanted to win a Big Ten championship. That was it. … This is what I wanted coming to Iowa. I wanted a Big Ten championship. I just couldn’t be more proud of how our team played, and it’s a dream come true. That’s for sure.”

Women’s BIG TEN Tournament 2019: Kaila Charles #5 driving passed #10 Megan Gustafson for 2 of her 36points during the Maryland vs Iowa at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

Not to be forgotten, Maryland finished the regular season with a B1G-best 28-4 record. Kaila Charles was responsible for 36 points for the Terrapins, shooting 15-30 from two-point range and 6/7 from the free throw line.

Iowa’s first period performance put them in position to stay ahead of Maryland throughout the game. From trailing 0-5 in the first minutes, Iowa at one point led 9-21. Hannah Stewart and Gustafson were the main fuel in the 15-25 lead to end the first period.

Maryland then doubled its 15 points in the second period, outscoring Iowa 30-25. By the halftime buzzer, the scoreboards read Iowa 51, Maryland 45. Iowa was making 63.3 percent of its shots in the first half, compared to Maryland’s 48.6 percent. Maryland was working hard to stay within striking distance of the Hawkeyes, but would not lead the game again.

Women’s BIG TEN Tournament 2019: Maryland vs Iowa at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

Though Iowa lost 15 turnovers to Maryland’s 16, the Hawkeyes scored twice as many points off turnovers.

Iowa’s lowest scoring period was the third. Gustafson and Kathleen Doyle were the only two scorers and combined for 18 points. Both teams focused on scoring from the baseline as no long range shots landed in the third.

In the final period, Maryland refused to back down despite growing point difference. Iowa was sent to the line for 12 shots and made 10 of them. Tania Davis went 6/6 from the foul line to extend the lead for Iowa’s 14 point win.

Maryland won the rebound game in the fourth period, but only landed 37.5 percent of its shots.

“[It] just continues to speak volumes of Kaila and just her will to win,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said of Charles’ team-leading performance. “Her competitiveness could not to be denied.”

Women’s BIG TEN Tournament 2019: Megan Gustafson #10 with the jump hook over #34 Brianna Fraser for 2 of her 45 points during the Maryland vs Iowa at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

“She’s just that good. I mean, she’s just that good,” Frese said of Gustafson. “The first time we played them, we tried to run a lot of triangle-and-two and different looks at her, and it didn’t pay off. All the supporting cast hurt us. And again tonight, just trying to figure out who you couldn’t guard. I just think Iowa is a great team. You know, if you stop one, they know how to go to their other options.”

Women’s BIG TEN Tournament 2019: Congrats Iowa you are now Big Ten ChampionMaryland vs Iowa at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

SCORES BY QUARTER

IOWA: 25 26 18 21 – 90

MD: 15 30 15 16 – 76

IOWA: STEWART 3 0 2/2 8; GUSTAFSON 17 0 11/14 45; MEYER 0 2 1/2 7; DAVIS 1 1 9/10 14; DOYLE 4 1 2/2 13; SEVILLIAN 0 1 0/0 3.

MD: JONES 2 0 0/0 4; LEWIS 2 0 1/2 5; CHARLES 15 0 6/7 36; MIKESELL 2 0 2/2 6; WATSON 1 2 0/0 8; AUSTIN 2 0 2/2 6; FRASER 0 0 2/4 2; VUJACIC 1 1 0/0 5; OWENS 2 0 0/0 4.

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