On the strength of a comeback in the second half on Tuesday, No. 4 Maryland edged out No. 3 Louisville, 76-73. The Terrapins are now the third team to advance to the Final Four.
No. 2 Stanford became the final team to join the party in Nashville, Tennessee, as the Cardinal used a dominant effort from the frontcourt to down North Carolina, 74-65.
Undefeated powerhouses Notre Dame and Connecticut already booked their tickets for the Final Four by pulling out double-digit victories on Monday.
Have a look at the results and upcoming schedule, and then we'll recap Tuesday's action.
Note: To view the complete bracket, visit NCAA.com.
|March 31||(1) Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Baylor||ND 88-69|
|March 31||(1) Connecticut vs. Baylor||UConn 69-54|
|April 1||(3) Louisville vs. (4) Maryland||Maryland 76-73|
|April 1||(2) Stanford vs. (4) North Carolina||Stanford 74-65|
|April 6||6:30 p.m.||(1) Notre Dame vs. Maryland||ESPN|
|April 6||9 p.m.||(1) Connectucut vs. Stanford||ESPN|
(4) Maryland 76 (3) Louisville 73
Maryland cleaned up a sloppy first half in Louisville, Kentucky to beat its higher-seeded opponent. Louisville's Shoni Schimmel had a solid look at a three as the clock expired, but her shot clanked high off the back rim and was off the mark.
Maryland was led by 22 points from forward Alyssa Thomas.
Louisville led 36-32 at halftime thanks in large part to its pressure defense. The Cardinals had 12 steals in the first half, which led to 15 turnovers from Maryland.
Following her masterful performance where she scored a career-high 33 points and a team-high 13 rebounds to help Maryland advance past No. 1 Tennessee, Thomas had three turnovers in the first half and nine points.
It was the Cardinals' Schimmel who stole the show in the first half. She had 14 points, four steals and four assists in the first half for the Cardinals.
Kendrick Haskins of Wave 3 was raving about Schimmel's skills in the open court:
Schimmel was not as efficient in the second half, but she was still producing. She finished with 31 points on 12-of-29 shooting. She also had four assists, five steals and seven turnovers.
The Cardinals extended their lead to seven in the opening moments of the second half, but that is when Maryland began to win the turnover battle and take the game over. Maryland actually led this game by 10 with less than a minute to go, but poor shooting from the charity stripe left the door open for a furious Louisville comeback.
Maryland will now advance to face Notre Dame on April 6. Although the undefeated Irish create an imposing challenge, Notre Dame will be a bit more vulnerable than anticipated. SportsCenter helps explain:
Notre Dame star F Natalie Achonwa will miss women's Final Four with torn ACL in left knee. She averages 20.5 PPG. (via @SBTribune)— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 1, 2014
Beyond that, Maryland has reason for confidence. On Jan. 27, they hosted Notre Dame and lost by just four, 87-83. In that game, Achonwa scored seven points and grabbed three rebounds.
No. 2 Stanford 74, No. 4 North Carolina 65
Stanford forwards Mikaela Ruef, Chiney Ogwumike and Bonnie Samuelson combined to score 50 of Stanford's 74 points on Tuesday and Samuelson didn't even start.
They also out rebounded the Tar Heels top three forwards 23-12 for the game. Ogwumike led the Cardinal in both scoring and rebounding with 20 and 10.
Still, this game was closer than the final score indicated.
North Carolina led at the half 36-30, and they jumped out to a big early lead by hitting five of their first six three-point shots. Brittany Rountee drilled a three with just over 12 minutes to go in the first half to give UNC a 22-9 lead, but Stanford didn't wilt and came back with a 8-0 run.
North Carolina dramatically cooled off after the hot start as the Tar Heels finished the game going 9-of-22 from distance. The biggest culprit was star Diamond Deshields. She went just 1-of-6 from distance, as she finished with 13 points and four rebounds. Deshields was questionable to play in this game after tweaking her ankle in the previous contest.
Allisha Gray led the Tar Heels with 19 points.
As the tweet by SFGate.com displays, Stanford was understandably ecstatic to be returning to the Final Four:
Stanford will now face the daunting task of trying to hand Connecticut its first loss of the season. The two actually met in the season's early stages on Nov. 11. UConn hosted and dominated, 76-57.