Contagious chaos? Indiana is second 1-seed to fall in women’s tourney

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Destiny Harden’s instructions were simple.

There were six seconds left when No. 9 seed Miami called a timeout. No. 1 Indiana had just tied the game 68-68 at the famous Assembly Hall. The Hurricanes, making their first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1992, needed to come up with something to finish in front of a raucous crowd.

In the most intense moment of the final meeting, associate head coach Fitzroy Anthony told Harden exactly what to do.

“He told me to face up and win the game, excuse my language,” Harden later said on ESPN’s broadcast.

Harden took Anthony’s advice literally. He received the inbound pass in the paint, went up and sank a jumper that gave the Hurricanes a 70-68 lead with 3.3 seconds left. Jasmyne Roberts then scored the biggest win in program history when she stole the ball from Hoosiers point guard Chloe Moore-McNeil as the clock wound down.

“I always tell my team, ‘Act like you’ve been there before,’ but we haven’t,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “So we acted a bit stupid and we’re really happy and we enjoyed it.

“This was a great moment for us and it was fun, and it was time to let the pure joy flow.”

This March has been exceptionally crazy in both the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments. It was a tough week for Duke – both the men and women were upset in the second round. And also for Indiana, which probably has a new sour taste in its mouth because of Miami, which beat both its men’s and women’s teams in the last 24 hours. (It was just the 10th time that one school’s boys and girls teams eliminated both teams from another school in the same year.)

On the men’s side, No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickenson upset No. 1 Purdue in the first round, while fellow No. 1 seed Kansas lost to No. 8 Arkansas by one point in the second round It’s just the fourth time that blueblood Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina (the Tar Heels didn’t even make the tournament and opted out of the NIT) failed to reach the Sweet 16.

On the women’s side, it’s the first time since 1998 that two No. 1 seeds have been eliminated in the first two rounds. On Sunday, No. 8 Ole Miss stunned No. 1 Stanford at home — 24 hours later, Miami did the same to Indiana.

Which teams are left to fight for a national championship? On the Cinderella side, Florida Atlantic and Princeton are still in the works for the men’s tournament, while Ole Miss, Miami and Colorado are trying to crack more brackets in the women’s tournament.

When the Cardinal lost Sunday, it became the first No. 1 seed to miss the Sweet 16 since 2009 and just the eighth No. 1 seed to lose in the first or second round of the women’s tournament. Indiana has joined them in this category.

With their win, Miami advances to the second weekend of the tournament for just the second time in program history. To get there, the Canes had to come back from a 17-point deficit in their opener against Oklahoma State on Saturday, then knock off Indiana in a packed house on Monday. The Hoosiers, who won the Big Ten regular season title for the first time since 1983 this season, never led in the game. They made runs, outscored the Canes 19-8 in the third quarter and tied things four times in the quarter, but couldn’t get enough shots to fall down the stretch.

It looked like IU’s luck might change in the final seconds when Yarden Garzon hit a step-back three to tie the game at 68, but then Harden answered with his now-viral game-winning jumper.

Miami is now rewarded with a matchup against the nation’s leading scorer Maddy Siegrist and Villanova in the Sweet 16. The other matchup in the Greenville 2 regional is between No. 2 Utah and No. 3 LSU. The Utes won the Pac-12 outright title and the Tigers are led by Kim Mulkey and Angel Reese, who scored 25 points and grabbed 24 rebounds in a second-round win over Michigan.

No. 1 seed South Carolina still dominates its way through the Greenville 1 regional, No. 1 Virginia Tech and No. 2 UConn are still very much alive in Seattle 3, and Player of the Year candidate Catilin Clark and the No. 2 seed. Iowa is rolling past Seattle 4. If any other seed has to contend, watch out for the Hawkeyes, who have to play Colorado in the Sweet 16. The Buffaloes upset Duke in overtime to move forward

Even with all that excitement, you can’t help but think the women’s tournament is still destined for a rematch of last year’s national championship game between South Carolina and UConn. But the growing parity is a welcome change as we see top teams fall to relative newcomers to the tournament.

Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. He previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of “Strong Like a Woman,” published in the spring of 2022 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @LakenLitman.

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