It's a sweet weekend for women's college basketball.
The NCAA women's tournament resumes Friday with Sweet 16 action and some of the biggest names in the collegiate game are set to hit the hardwood, including Villanova's Maddy Siegrist, LSU's Angel Reese, Iowa's Caitlin Clark and Louisville's Hailey Van Lith.
The first of four games in the regional semifinals ended with the No. 9 Miami Hurricanes reaching their first Elite Eight with a win over the No. 4 Villanova Wildcats.
Next, No. 3 LSU outlasted No. 2 Utah for its first trip to the Elite Eight since 2008, led by a feathered Kim Mulkey. Then Caitlin Clark, arguably the most exciting player in the sport, finally broke through to the Elite Eight as she led No. 2 Iowa past No. 6 Colorado.
The final game of the evening featured No. 5 Louisville vs. No 8 Ole Miss, which upset No. 1 Stanford on its home court.
Follow along for live updates throughout the rest of the day:
No. 5 Louisville leads No. 8 Ole Miss at the half
SEATTLE — Hailey Van Lith scored 10 points and Louisville shot 46% from the field in the first half, allowing the Cardinals to build a 34-29 lead at the break. Louisville held upset-minded Ole Miss to just 36% shooting.
The Cardinals’ bench was terrific in the first two quarters, outscoring the Rebels’ reserves 17-2. Myah Taylor and Marquesha Davis both scored 10 for Ole Miss.
The winner will play Iowa on Sunday for a trip to the Final Four.
— Lindsay Schnell
Caitlin Clark powers No. 2 Iowa into Elite Eight
SEATTLE — Another day, another 30-point game from Caitlin Clark.
Iowa’s junior guard, arguably the most exciting player in men’s or women’s college basketball this season, scored 31 and dished eight assists as the second-seeded Hawkeyes advanced to the Elite Eight with an 87-77 win over sixth-seeded Colorado at Climate Pledge Arena.
After a tight, back-and-forth first half that led to a 40-39 Colorado lead at the break, Iowa used a 25-point third quarter to break open the game. But toward the end, Colorado made it interesting.
After trailing by as much as 15 points late in the third quarter, the Buffs cut it to four with 1:49 to play on fast-break layup from Jaylyn Sherrod. But in typical Iowa fashion, Clark made something good happen for her team. She threaded a nice pass inside to Monika Czinano, and the senior post scored on a nifty hook shot to give Iowa a bigger cushion.
Quay Miller missed a 3 on Colorado’s next possession, and the Buffs started fouling shortly after. Iowa hit 7-of-8 free throws in the final 52.4 seconds to finish the win.
Colorado had plenty of opportunities to cut into Iowa’s lead but couldn’t capitalize. The Buffs outrebounded Iowa 40-32, and grabbed 21 offensive boards, but they could only turn those into 15 second-chance points (Iowa, meanwhile, scored 11 second-chance points of its own).
Colorado’s Frida Formann led her team with 21 points, but scored only two after halftime. Czinano added 15 points and seven rebounds for Iowa.
— Lindsay Schnell
Halftime: No. 6 Colorado leads No. 2 Iowa 40-39
SEATTLE – Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and Colorado’s Frida Formann traded shots in the first half, and to the surprise of nearly everyone in Climate Pledge Arena, it was the junior guard from Denmark who had the better first 20 minutes. Her team was better, too.
A steal by Colorado’s Tameiya Sadler with 25 seconds left — Iowa’s eighth turnover of the half — led to a layup, as the sixth-seeded Buffs took a surprising 40-39 lead over the second-seeded Hawkeyes going into the locker room.
Most of it was because of Formann. She scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-7 from 3. Aaronette Vonleh added eight points inside to help the Buffs, and a 22-15 rebounding edge also played a role.
Clark, a favorite for player of the year, was 4-of-11 and 2-of-5 from deep in the first 20 minutes. She picked up two quick fouls early, and sat for the beginning of the second quarter.
— Lindsay Schnell
Lil Wayne congratulates Cavinder twins after Miami's win
Hanna and Haley Cavinder have ‘a milli’ reasons to celebrate the University of Miami’s first ever trip to the Elite Eight after the Hurricanes' victory over Villanova earlier in the day.
Hanna Cavinder, who had two points and two assists in the win, shared a photo of herself and her sister on Facetime with Grammy award-winning rapper Lil Wayne.
“LIL WAYNE LUVS THE U,” she captioned the screenshot, which also features Haley Cavinder, who finished with seven points, three assists and four rebounds.
— Hanna Cavinder (@CavinderHanna) March 24, 2023
No. 3 LSU wins thriller over No. 2 Utah
The game was neck and neck the whole way, but the No. 3 LSU Tigers came out victorious over the No.2 Utah Utes, 66-63. Utah had a chance to take the lead with four seconds left in the game after going on a 7-0 run, but Jenna Johnson missed both of her free throws. LSU's Alexis Morris sealed the deal and sent the Tigers to their first Elite Eight since 2008 with her own pair of free throws.
The Tigers' LaDazhia Williams was the game's leading scorer with a career-high 24 points. She helped fill in for Angel Reese, who dealt with foul trouble early in the game but still finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds, her 31st double-double of the season. Utes guard Gianna Kneepkens led her team with 20 points.
Utah holds slim lead as LSU's Angel Reese comes alive
At the end of the third quarter, No. 2 Utah is barely ahead of No. 3 LSU with a score of 47-46. In the second half, the Tigers leading scorer Angel Reese has rebounded from her opening slump when she only had five points and sat out with some early foul trouble. She now has 14 points and 10 rebounds. It's her 31st double-double of the season, tying the SEC record.
Utah has lead at half in contentious game
The No. 2 Utah Utes are up 33-29 over the No. 3 LSU Tigers at the half in their Sweet 16 game. The first two quarters were a fierce battle as both teams swapped the lead. Utah's Dasia Young drained a three-point shot with 1:09 left before the break to further the slim lead. Utes guard Gianna Kneepkens is the game's leading scorer with 10 points. Forward LaDazhia Williams leads the Tigers with nine points.
LSU battling with Utah in first half
No. 3 LSU is battling with No. 2 Utah in their Sweet 16 matchup. The Tigers jumped out early with a 13-6 lead before the Utes went ahead 19-16 to open the second quarter. Utah sophomore Gianna Kneepkens is the game's leading scorer with 10 points. The Tigers' leading scorer Angel Reese has been held to five points.
LSU's Kim Mulkey arrives in head-turning pink frills for Sweet 16 game
Time for a drip check:
LSU forward Angel Reese might be known as the "Bayou Barbie" for her glamor, but head coach Kim Mulkey stole the show Friday with her latest style statement.
Mulkey showed up to the Tigers' Sweet 16 matchup against the Utah Utes in a sharp blazer that featured a floral and plaid pattern. Yes floral AND plaid.
But that's not all. The jacket had pink feathered fringe. And not underneath the arms in a Western style. On top of the arms. So Mulkey looked like she had the wings not of a peaceful flamingo, but of a powerful pink bird of prey ready to swoop in for the kill.
Outrageous fit for Kim Mulkey. LSU by 15 pic.twitter.com/2Qg6n6T7wS
— Doug Greenberg (@DougGreenberg) March 24, 2023
Final: No. 9 Miami outlasts No. 4 Villanova
The No. 9 Miami Hurricanes reached their first Elite Eight by beating the No. 4 Villanova Wildcats 70-65 despite a major comeback effort led by senior forward Maddy Siegrist, who had 31 points and 13 rebounds on the day. Miami coach Katie Meier's team finished with a 6-0 run in the last 27 seconds. For Miami, sophomore Jasmyne Roberts had a career-high 26 points and added nine boards.
"We just want it for each other," forward Destiny Harden said after the game.
Villanova erases 21-point deficit to take lead
Villanova erased a 21-point deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter after a 23-2 run. Maddy Siegrist led the charge and tied the game and then took the lead 60-59 with a pair of free throws.
Villanova goes on 14-point run to close in on Miami
After being down by as many as 21 points after the half, Villanova went on a 14-point run in the third quarter. Maddy Siegrist started off the action with a pair of free throws after being fouled by Destiny Harden. She made three more free throws, a jumper and a layup on the spree to give her a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds on the day. Miami is up 57-51 at the end of the third quarter.
Miami looking to continue historic run, leads Villanova at half
The Hurricanes, a No. 9 seed, lead the Wildcats at halftime in the Greenville Regional 2 bracket, using an 11-2 run to take a 46-33 lead into the break.
Miami, looking for its first trip to the Elite Eight, has made its living on the boards, outrebounding Villanova by 12. The Hurricanes are also shooting a blistering 59 percent from the field, consistently driving in the lane using their speed to get easy baskets.
Jasmyne Roberts has 12 points and five rebounds for the Hurricanes, while Maddy Siegrist, the nation's leading scorer, has 15 points and five rebounds for Villanova, the No. 4 seed.
When do the women's Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament games start?
The Sweet 16 for the NCAA women's basketball tournament begins Friday as No. 4 Villanova plays No. 9 Miami at 2:30 p.m. ET. Three games will follow with the final matchup (No. 5 Louisville vs. No. 8 Ole Miss) starting at 10 p.m. ET.
How to watch, stream women's Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament games?
The Sweet 16 for the NCAA women's basketball tournament tips off Friday with action at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C. and Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle:
►No. 9 Miami vs. No. 4 Villanova
Time/TV: Friday, 2:30 p.m., ESPN
►No. 3 LSU vs. No. 2 Utah
Time/TV: 5:00 p.m., ESPN
►No. 6 Colorado vs. No. 2 Iowa
Time/TV: 7:30 p.m., ESPN
►No. 8 Ole Miss vs. No. 5 Louisville
Time/TV: Friday, 10 p.m., ESPN
Watchability rankings: LSU-Utah is a must-see!
This game features two of the best bigs in the game in Utah's Alissa Pili and LSU's Angel Reese. Their teams are still playing largely because of these two, who can – and do – single-handedly dismantle an opponent.
Pili scored 33 points in the first round and had a double-double against Princeton in the second. Reese had a double-double in both games and was so dominant against Michigan in the second round she had double figures in both offensive and defensive rebounds.
What also makes this game intriguing is the contrasting styles. LSU makes a living off its defense – duh, its coach is Kim Mulkey – while Utah runs one of the country's most efficient offenses. Something is going to have to give.
– Nancy Armour, Lindsay Schnell
FULL WATCHABILITY RANKINGS: Women's NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 games
As dynamic and exciting as the Player of the Year front-runner is, Iowa has yet to make the Elite Eight, let alone the Final Four, since Caitlin Clark got to campus. Last year the Hawkeyes didn’t even get out of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, falling in the second round.
But with Stanford, seeded ahead of the No. 2 Hawkeyes in the Seattle 4 region, out of the tournament along with Duke and Texas, this is Clark and Iowa’s chance to make a statement. The seeds left in their region? Fifth-seeded Louisville, sixth-seeded Colorado and eight-seeded Ole Miss.
The Hawkeyes play Colorado on Friday night in a Sweet 16 matchup.
“Any time you are one of 16 teams that get to keep playing basketball, it's pretty special,” Clark said after Iowa held off Georgia. “(But) it wasn't a huge party or celebration in the locker room. This wasn’t our goal. It's one of the steps to reaching our goal, but it's not the be-all, end-all to us."
– Nancy Armour
Ole Miss coach wasn't school's first choice
Talk about winning the news conference.
Minutes after her team stunned No. 1 seed Stanford at Maples Pavilion to advance to the Sweet 16, Ole Miss coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin, affectionately known as “Coach Yo,” went viral in her postgame interview with ESPN.
“This is for the people with a dollar and the dream. I’m a little girl from the Bahamas that was given an opportunity,” McPhee-McCuin said, overcome with emotion. "I wasn't Ole Miss' first choice. But I was the right one. And I was naive enough to think that I could do it.”
McPhee-McCuin, perhaps the most quotable person left in either the men’s or women’s NCAA tournaments, pointed out that second, third and fourth choices happen in other parts of life, too.
“Listen, my husband wasn't first,” McPhee-McCuin said. “And I almost went in the transfer portal on him a couple times. But we're happily married and June 8th makes 16 years. So you take it how you get it and you make the most of it.”
– Lindsay Schnell
Memphis guard Jamirah Shutes was charged with assault after hitting Bowling Green senior guard Elissa Brett in the face following the team's 73-60 victory over the Tigers in the women’s NIT Super 16 on Thursday night.
After the final buzzer, players and coaches gathered to participate in the customary handshake line when Shutes stopped and exchanged words with Brett.
The 23-year-old Shutes, the team's leading scorer, then punched Brett in the face and was pulled away from the incident by the Memphis coaching staff.
According to an incident report obtained by USA TODAY Sports, the Bowling Green State University police investigated the incident and said the Memphis player struck Brett with a closed fist and she sustained "some swelling in their right eye" from the punch.
– Scooby Axson
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Women's NCAA Tournament live updates: Caitlin Clark paces Iowa win