Tennessee Tech of the Ohio Valley Conference was the first women’s college basketball team to punch its ticket to the NCAA tournament after winning its conference championship on Saturday. Championship Sunday will have seven more automatic qualifiers to earn spots in the tournament. Yahoo Sports is tracking four of the major conference championship games Sunday, plus the Big East on Monday and the Big 12 tournament this week.
Virginia Tech has won the very first ACC title in their program’s history, defeating Louisville 75-67 in a game that Tech led for all but 8 minutes.
Tech made the first basket of the game and went up 6-2 before playing what would be their worst stretch of the entire game. Louisville went on an 8-0 run over two minutes that made it seem like Tech was going to be in a lot of trouble for the rest of the contest. But once Kayana Taylor made a three-point jumper to break Louisville’s scoring streak, Tech surged forward and didn’t look back. Tied at 14-14 with under three minutes left in the quarter, they went on a 9-0 run that put them up 22-14 and didn’t end until Louisville’s Mykasa Robinson made a layup one minute into the second quarter — a Cardinals scoring drought of nearly four minutes.
Virginia Tech’s lead only increased in the second quarter as Liz Kitley and sharpshooter Georgia Amoore combined for 28 total points in the first half, an eye-popping stat once you consider that Louisville ended the first half with 28 total points to Tech’s 38.
Louisville turned on the jets at the start of the third quarter, narrowing Tech’s lead and making it a three possession game. It felt like the Cardinals could be at the start of a comeback, but Tech’s offensive proficiency made it tough for them to string points together. Despite that, Louisville went into the fourth quarter down just seven points, hoping this fantastic block from Olivia Cochrane would spark the massive comeback they needed.
Tech put a stop to that pretty much immediately. They started the fourth quarter with three straight baskets, lifting them to 58-44, including a ridiculous stepback three from Georgia Amoore (who was named the player of the tournament). It took Louisville over three minutes to score their first basket of the fourth quarter, which was an indicator of how the rest of the game would go for the Cardinals. Virginia Tech kept pressing, closing it out to win their 11th straight game and their program’s very first conference title.
Who: But. 1 seed South Carolina vs. But. 3 seed Tennessee
Where: Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina
When: 3 pm ET
Big Ten championship
Who: But. 2 seed Iowa vs. But. 4 seed Ohio State
Where: Target Center in Minneapolis
When: 5 pm ET
Who: But. 5 seed UCLA vs. But. 7 seed Washington State
Where: Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas
When: 5 pm ET
Semifinals: But. 1 seed UConn vs. But. 5 seed Marquette, 3 pm ET Sunday (FS1) and No. 2 seed Villanova vs. But. 3 seed Creighton, 5:30 pm ET Sunday (FS1)
Championship: Semifinal winners, 7 pm ET Monday (FS1)
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut
Thursday, March 9
Big 12 first round at Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City
But. 8 Texas Tech vs. But. 9 Kansas State, 6 pm ET (Big 12 Now)
But. 7 Kansas vs. But. 10 TCU, 8:30 pm ET (Big 12 Now)
Friday, March 10
Big 12 quarterfinals at Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City
But. 4 Oklahoma State vs. But. 5 West Virginia, noon ET (ESPNU)
But. 1 Texas vs. TBD, 2:30 pm ET (ESPNU)
But. 2 Oklahoma vs. TBD, 6 pm ET (Big 12 Now)
But. 3 Iowa State vs. But. 6 Baylor, 8:30 pm ET (Big 12 Now)
Saturday, March 11
Big 12 semifinals at Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, 1 pm ET and 3:30 pm ET (Big 12 Now)
Sunday, March 12
Big 12 championship at Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, 2 pm ET (ESPN2)
NCAA tournament automatic qualifiers
Tennessee TechOhio Valley Conference
Saint LouisAtlantic 10
ACC: Virginia Tech
Big South: Championship, No. 5 Gardner-Webb vs. But. 8 High Point, 6 pm ET Sunday (ESPNU)
Big Ten: Championship, No. 2 Iowa vs. But. 4 Ohio State, 5 p.m. ET Sunday (ESPN)
Pac-12: Championship, No. 5 UCLA vs. But. 7 Washington State, 5 pm ET Sunday (ESPN2)
SEC: Championship, No. 1 South Carolina vs. But. 3 Tennessee, 3 p.m. ET Sunday (ESPN)