Ohio State, among the country’s best programs behind the arc, will meet a feisty Texas team — “Punch first, that’s always our motto,” Aliyah Matharu, a junior guard, said — that did not allow more than 56 points in either of its first two tournament games but is still carping over its communication on defense.
“One game at a time — that’s what we put in our team group chat,” said Matharu, whose team is a No. 2 seed. “We want to do one game at a time. We’re not going to think too far ahead even though you see a lot of upsets. It’s important to stay within us. It’s about our team, our teammates, each other, and I think if we do that, then we’ll be fine.”
The most seismic game of the next week may come on Monday, when N.C. State and UConn could meet in a regional final in Bridgeport. It has been a trying season for UConn, which has struggled with injuries and beat Central Florida by just 5 points on Monday, and N.C. State, which has not advanced beyond the round of 16 since 1998, is looking to prove that it can be more than a regular-season titan.
N.C. State will first have to maneuver around No. 5 Notre Dame, which on Monday demolished No. 4 Oklahoma, 108-64. And UConn will have to get past No. 3 Indiana, which defeated Princeton by only a point on Monday.
Teams from across the country, meanwhile, will keep peering up and down the brackets, looking to see which opponents might emerge from the chaos.
“We never look ahead,” Tara VanDerveer, Stanford’s coach, preaches to her team, “but we have to plan ahead.”