NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament 2019: UConn Upsets Louisville in Elite 8 Play

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2019

Connecticut guard Katie Lou Samuelson (33) knocks the ball from Louisville forward Sam Fuehring, center, and Louisville forward Bionca Dunham (33)  during the first half of a regional championship final in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The 2019 NCAA women's basketball tournament moved on to Elite Eight play Sunday, with two teams set to earn a place in the Final Four.

The No. 2 Connecticut Huskies and No. 1 Louisville Cardinals got things underway, with the No. 2 Oregon Ducks and No. 1 Mississippi State Bulldogs bringing the action to a close.

In both cases, the lower-seeded teams could rely on something of a home-court advantage. UConn and Louisville tipped off in Albany, New York, while Oregon only had to travel a few hours north to Portland from Eugene.

Here are the Sunday's Elite Eight scores and an overview of how the games unfolded.


2019 NCAA Women's Tournament Schedule/Results (Elite Eight)

No. 2 Connecticut def. No. 1 Louisville, 80-73

No. 2 Oregon def. No. 1 Mississippi State, 88-84



The full bracket for the 2019 women's NCAA tournament can be viewed at NCAA.com.


No. 2 Connecticut 80, No. 1 Louisville 73

The Huskies are headed to their 12th straight Final Four following an 80-73 win over Louisville.

Connecticut looked to have the game in control after Katie Lou Samuelson hit a three-pointer with 3:02 remaining to take a nine-point lead, 72-63.

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Samuelson then sank two free throws at the 1:47 mark to make it an 11-point game. The Cardinals then embarked on a 10-1 run, however, with Arica Carter's layup trimming the deficit to two points.

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Louisville nearly forced a turnover on Connecticut's next possession. The Cardinals trapped Samuelson immediately after the inbound near half court, and she was inches away from a backcourt violation before Bionca Dunham committed a foul. 

Samuelson gave the Huskies some breathing room, increasing their advantage to four points.

Napheesa Collier fouled Asia Durr at the other end of the court to send the Cardinals star to the charity stripe. Durr is an 82.9 percent free-throw shooter but finished 6-of-10 from the line Sunday. Two of those misses came with 20 seconds remaining.

Sam Fuehring collected Durr's second miss, but Megan Walker blocked her putback attempt at the rim. Collier recovered the rebound, effectively ending Louisville's comeback.

Samuelson led all scorers with 29 points, while both Collier (12 points, 13 rebounds) and Walker (13 points, 12 rebounds) earned double-doubles.

Durr led Louisville with 21 points and narrowly missed out on a double-double of her own, grabbing nine rebounds. The senior guard did struggle to cope with all of the attention she received from the UConn defense, shooting 7-of-19 from the field and 1-of-6 from beyond the arc.

Many were surprised when the selection committee made Connecticut a No. 2 seed in the Albany Region. The perceived slight might have been a blessing in disguise for the Huskies, who have clearly carried a chip on their shoulder.

Now, UConn is two games away from a 12th national title.


No. 2 Oregon 88, No. 1 Mississippi State 84

This was the third straight Elite Eight appearance for Oregon, which fell just short of making the Final Four in 2017 and 2018. Considering she's eligible for the 2019 WNBA draft, this tournament was likely Sabrina Ionescu's last shot at reaching the national semifinals.

If this is indeed her final year with the Ducks, Ionescu is going out in style. She had 31 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in an 88-84 win over Mississippi State.

The Naismith Trophy finalist rose to the occasion in the fourth quarter, hitting clutch shot after clutch shot. Every time Mississippi State thought it was clawing away at the deficit late in the game, Ionescu responded with a back-breaking jumper.

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Andra Espinoza-Hunter connected on a three-pointer for the Bulldogs to make it a four-point game, 86-82, with 13 seconds remaining. Yet there was Ionescu again to hit two free throws to all but lock up the win for Oregon.

Satou Sabally scored 22 points and collected seven rebounds, and Ruthy Hebard had 14 points and five boards. Neither Sabally nor Hebard could match up physically with the 6'7" Teaira McCowan. Instead, they used their speed and scoring range to draw McCowan away from the basket. Oregon succeeded in forcing McCowan to switch on pick-and-rolls as well.

The Bulldogs center still finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks. She appeared to fade as the game went on, though, considering she had 12 points and 10 boards by halftime.

Oregon awaits the winner of the Baylor Lady Bears' matchup with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Regardless of the Ducks' opponent, their ability to slow down an elite post player bodes well since both Baylor (Kalani Brown) and Iowa (Megan Gustafson) turn to skilled frontcourt stars as big parts of their respective offenses.