Women's NCAA Tournament Round 3 Recap

Women's NCAA Tournament Round 3 Recap
by Tom Hindle
November 21, 2022

It was all a bit exhausting Sunday. There were full blooded games, extra time contests. There were hard tackles, memorable goals and a few mistakes, too. And at the end of it all, seven teams clinched a spot in the last eight of the NCAA Tournament. Here’s how most of it happened.

Alabama Comes Alive In Second Half to Beat UC Irvine

Alabama has never been here before — at least, not in recent memory. The Crimson Tide have built something under Wes Hart, creating a sustainable line of talent that has jelled to great effect this year. And Sunday, when its quality was questioned, Alabama delivered. After being blanked in the first half, Alabama scored three in the second, using a corner, penalty and close range finish to pick apart a resilient UC Irvine side. The Anteaters showed some attacking quality, and after Suus De bakker found the net to bring them within one, a comeback seemed possible. But Alabama stayed attacking, refusing to sit on a lead. And it was rewarded with its third goal — both a winning strike and slice of proof as to how this team might just win it all.

Florida State Beats Pittsburgh In Controlled Performance

At this point, Florida State has found numerous ways of winning games. There was the counter attacking display against Virginia, the controlled victory over North Carolina, followed by the chaotic shootout against Florida State. And Sunday afternoon was perhaps the steadiest Seminoles performance to date. They put three past a resilient Pitt side with relative ease, scoring in the second minute before adding two more early in the second half. Jody Brown was once again among everything, scoring and assisting in the win.

Virginia Beats Penn State in Overtime Thriller

This game could have been 5-4. Perhaps it should have. After Virginia and Penn State went to overtime at 2-2 — the conclusion of an exhausting 90 minutes — a steadier extra time seemed likely. But it never came. Instead, it was chaotic, swinging back and forth. Virginia grabbed the only goal, with Haley Hopkins finishing from close range, but should have scored two more. At the other end, Penn State was tantalizingly close to finishing one or two of its own. Quite appropriately, it all came down to a hectic final sequence. Virginia goalkeeper Cayla White dove to divert a cross away from goal. The ball fell awkwardly to a Penn State player, before ricocheting into the path of another. Then, it was hacked away, far downfield, with two players still running after it as time expired. What could’ve twice ended with the ball in the net instead finished with a straight sprint. But it was that kind of game.

Clinical Attack Leads Notre Dame Past TCU

With the quality of Korbin Albert in the final third, it’s easy to think that Notre Dame is a one-player team. But there is talent aplenty around her, something that was well on show Sunday evening. Olivia Wingate and Madison Mercado grabbed the goals as the Fighting Irish turned in a controlled performance to beat a threatening TCU team. There were some moments of difficulty, but Mackenzie Wood was calm when called upon.

Arkansas Beats Memphis On Penalties After 3-3 Thriller

Memphis enjoyed a solid first round with a 1-0 win over a strong Saint Louis team. But a more physical Arkansas side figured to be more of a challenge. And the Razorbacks delivered on that assumption. The two teams equaled each other over 110 minutes, locked at 3-3 after extra time. In the toss up of a penalty shootout, Arkansas had just enough to knock out the Tigers and take a spot in the last eight. Grace Barbara was the hero in the end, stretching far out to her right for a dramatic save that sent the Razorbacks through.

Duke Edges South Carolina

Wasn’t it always going to end up with the right foot of Michelle Cooper? The Duke forward has expanded her game this season, becoming a more cultured passer as well a top tier finisher. And Sunday night, she was inevitably crucial for the Blue Devils, bagging a brace to send them past South Carolina in a testy match. Duke enjoyed the majority of possession and peppered the South Carolina goal. But goalkeeper Heather Hinz was characteristically sharp, making eight saves to keep her team in the game. Payton Patrick pulled one back for the Gamecocks with 90 seconds remaining, but the damage was mostly done. Cooper showed up again. And it’s easy to wonder just how far they can go when she’s firing.

Turner, McMahon Lead UCLA Past Northwestern

UCLA had a real scare in the first round of NCAA Tournament play, pushed to penalties by UCF. Sunday night, the Bruins looked more like the team that rolled through the regular season. They turned to the quality of Reilyn Turner and Quincy McMahon for the goals, the forward and defender nabbing a goal each to round off a complete performance. UCLA goalie Lauren Brzykcy was rather comfortable throughout, only forced into one save as the Bruins held off a solid Northwestern team.

On Saturday:

North Carolina 3-2 BYU - The Tar Heels were relatively composed against a leggy BYU team, with Avery Patterson contributing three assists in a convincing win over one of last year’s finalists.

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