It’s playoff season and conference tournaments are the start of it all. The month of March brings out a new identity in teams and it’s a time where the best players in the country get to shine on the biggest stages.
Best Stat Lines
Caitlin Clark (then-No. 7 Iowa) vs then-No. 14 Ohio State – 30 points, 10 rebounds, 17 assists
Once again, Caitlin Clark makes the top of this list as she recorded a triple-double against No. 14 Ohio State to lead her team to win the Big Ten Tournament. The junior guard continues to strengthen her case for National Player of the Year through these dominant performances and her being the face of Iowa. After being named Big Ten Player of the Year, Clark lived up to that title dropping 30 points with 10 rebounds and 17 assists against Ohio State. She set an all-time Division I record of recording her third 30-point triple double in her career and the first player in Division I history to post a line of at least 30 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds. Clark has a bright future ahead of her. It sure looks like she is going to lead Iowa to do damage in the upcoming NCAA March Madness Tournament.
Maddy Siegrist (No. 11 Villanova) vs Creighton – 37 points, 11 rebounds
Maddy Siegrist has brought Villanova to new heights, being ranked at No. 10 on the national rankings this week. She led the Wildcats in the Big East Tournament, scoring 37 points with 11 rebounds against Creighton in the semifinal round. That was her 16th double-double performance as well as the 14th time that she has scored at least 30 points in a game all in just this season. The senior forward went 14-for-21 from the field, made 8-of-9 free throws with four assists and no turnovers. Siegrist has been the glue of Villanova this year and she has just continued to build her case for National Player of the year, having 984 points this season alone.
*Update: Villanova climbed the rankings to No. 10
Yvonne Ejim (No. 16 Gonzaga) vs BYU – 21 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals
Yvonne Ejim rose to the occasion for No. 16 Gonzaga, leading them to defeat BYU in the West Coast Tournament semifinals. The junior forward recorded a double-double and was the main player that the team leaned on. She scored 21 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and three steals. Ejim scored all of her 21 points inside the 3-point arc, lifting Gonzaga over BYU. The Zags went on to lose the WCC championship game by four points to Portland but despite the loss, Ejim scored another 21 points making for 42 points over two days.
No. 1 South Carolina defeats Tennessee 74-58
Coming to no surprise, No.1 South Carolina remains undefeated after becoming SEC Tournament Champions. The Gamecocks defeated Tennessee 74-58 in the finals. Zia Cooke led South Carolina’s offense with 24 points and Aliyah Boston with 18. Additionally, the Gamecocks set a school record with their 38th straight victory. Boston got off to a hot start, scoring 10 of South Carolina’s 21 points in the first quarter. As the game progressed, they slowly started pulling away from the Lady Vols, leading to getting the championship win; their first SEC title since 2021 after losing a shocking final to Kentucky last season. The Gamecocks are expected to get a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA March Madness bracket as they are looking to win back-to-back national championships.
*Update: Tennessee emerged as No. 23 on the rankings this week
Then-No. 7 Iowa dominates then-No. 14 Ohio State 105-72
In the Big Ten Tournament championship game, the then-No. 7 Iowa’s offense stepped on the gas to score 105 points to take down Ohio State. Behind Caitlin Clark’s 30 points, the Hawkeyes came out firing shots from the 3-point range, making it difficult for Iowa to compete. Iowa scored a season-high 61 points in the first half with Ohio State sitting at 24. The Hawkeyes bench stepped up as well with three players scoring in double figures. Iowa eased their way to become Big Ten champions with a 105-72 win, officially punching their ticket to the NCAA March Madness Tournament. Being one of the top teams in the country, Iowa is projected to be a two-seed on the bracket, but it’s definitely possible for them to grab the last one-seed spot.
*Update: Iowa climbed the rankings to No. 2 and Ohio State climbed to No. 12
Then-No. 8 Virginia Tech downs Louisville
For their first ACC Tournament title, Virginia Tech defeated Louisville 75-67. After hitting 14 3-point shots which is the most made in an ACC Tournament, Georgia Amoore was named the tournament MVP. Amoore finished the weekend with 21.7 PPG, 43.5% shooting (48.3% from the 3), 4.3 APG, 4.3 RPG. The ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley was also an offensive machine, putting up 20 points against Louville. At the start, the game was close but the Hokies relied on their 3-point shooting skills to get over the Cardinals. It was not an easy contest for either team, but Virginia Tech was able to pull away in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
*Update: Virginia Tech climbed the rankings to No. 4
The Selection Show for the NCAA March Madness brackets will air Sunday at 8 p.m. on ESPN. We will find out all the seedings and the locations of where these Top 25 teams will begin their playoff journey!