Head coach Brady Sallee talks to women's basketball team members during a timeout during the game against Toledo Feb. 24 at Worthen Arena. Breanna Daugherty, DN
Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals give clues to Ball State women's basketball's postseason fate
Coming into Friday, Ball State women's basketball needed the conference powerhouses to knock off some bubble teams in order to increase its chances of receiving an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.
In the Big Ten alone, six teams are on the bubble, as well as a handful of teams from other conferences.
UPDATE: After all of Friday's results, Ball State's chances for an at-large bid likely increased, but not by much. Losses by Indiana and Rutgers helped Ball State, but wins by Nebraska and Minnesota hurt the team's chances.
Outside the Big Ten, Ball State and Buffalo got the breaks they needed. Every bubble team not from a one-bid league lost and several were prevented from marquee wins. For a full recap on today's action, scroll down.
Here's what happened in today's action:
No. 13 Ohio State 82 vs. Rutgers 57
With Rutgers listed on the "last four in" grouping of ESPN's bracketology, the team needed a win against Ohio State to boost its resume. However, Ohio State's red-hot shooting performance was too much to handle. The Buckeyes shot nearly 50 percent from the field and made six 3-pointers to likely dash the Scarlet Knights' tournament chances. Only one player scored in double figures for Rutgers. Tyler Scaife finished with 13 points in 21 minutes to lead the Scarlet Knights as the team shot just 32 percent from the floor.
Despite exiting the tournament on a sour note, Rutgers guard Tyler Scaife is staying optimistic.
"We don't think [about missing the NCAA Tournament], Scaife said. "We definitely think we're going to go into the postseason. I'm just ready to take a couple days off and get back at it."
Minnesota 90 vs. Iowa 89
Minnesota needed a win and it got the job done. Despite a Big Ten Tournament record 48 points, 19 made shots and 15 rebounds from junior center Megan Gustafson, the Gophers forced the Hawkeyes to commit 19 turnovers, which was the biggest difference in the game.
After the game, Minnesota head coach Marlene Stollings said the win should get her team into the NCAA field.
"We as a staff knew it probably had some NCAA Tournament implications with, but I certainly think that this win does get us into the NCAA Tournament, but I just want to make sure that we're not just happy to be in the tournament," Stollings said.
The Gophers had a balanced attack to get the job done with four players scoring with double figures.
No. 17 Maryland 67 vs. Indiana 54
Despite a valiant effort from Indiana, who beat Michigan State in 4 OTs on Thursday, well-rested No. 17 Maryland was just too much for the Hoosiers. Indiana's defense forced Maryland into 12 turnovers, but by late in the fourth it was easy to see that IU was very fatigued.
The Hoosiers even led late into the third quarter, but the Terrapins finished the quarter on a 11-2 run to take a 48-40 advantage into the final frame. Indiana senior guard Tyra Buss had 13 points, three rebounds and three assists to power its offense. However, Maryland made over 70 percent of its free throws, including its final nine-of-10 attempts from the free throw line to seal the victory.
After the game, Indiana head coach Teri Moren is hoping the committee looks at strength of schedule on Selection Monday.
"We have gone out and structured our schedule for it to be difficult, and like I said, strength of schedule, A, that's pretty, I would think, noteworthy," Moren said.
Nebraska 61 vs. Michigan 52
In a blow to other teams on the bubble, Nebraska did what it needed to against a Michigan team that likely did the same on Thursday night against Penn State. The win puts the Huskers in great shape for an NCAA bid, and helps make up for early losses in non-conference play.
The Huskers held Michigan to nearly 30 percent shooting from the floor and forced 15 turnovers.
Other notable results:
Jacksonville State 53 vs. No. 22 Belmont 63: Belmont survived a scare from Jacksonville State to advance in the OVC Tournament.
California 74 vs. No. 9 UCLA 77: Cal came up just short against UCLA. Even though they didn't get the win, the performance itself may be enough for the selection committee.
Virginia 47 vs. No. 5 Notre Dame 83: Usually, a loss to the Fighting Irish doesn't hurt, but when you lose by 36 it's a different story. Virginia now squarely on the bubble.
NJIT 62 vs. Florida Gulf Coast 83: FGCU advances in the A-Sun Tournament, which is good news for Ball State and other bubble teams.
USC 59 vs. No. 16 Stanford 69: USC couldn't complete the comeback against No. 16 Stanford. The Trojans are right on the bubble heading into Selection Monday.
Arizona State vs. No. 10 Oregon State (11:30 p.m.): The Sun Devils are another PAC-12 team searching for that marquee win to impress the committee.