The second round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament wrapped up Monday, setting the Sweet 16 that will continue on the road to Target Center. There were lots of Minnesotans involved: some leading the way to upsets, some keeping favorites on course and some dropping off the trail earlier than expected. Here's a look at how some of our state's top players and their teams fared.
Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota
The biggest surprise on the first weekend of play was No. 10 seed South Dakota, which scored a huge upset Sunday over No. 2 seed Baylor in the Wichita Regional. The Coyotes, with five Minnesotans on the roster, handed Baylor its first home nonconference loss in eight years and ended the Bears' 12-year run of Sweet 16 appearances.
Hannah Sjerven of Rogers stole the ball on the opening possession, then hit a three-pointer as the Coyotes built an 11-0 lead on the way to a 61-47 win. Sjerven, No. 5 on South Dakota's all-time scoring list, had a team-high 16 points after scoring 20 in a first-round upset of Ole Miss. Liv Korngable of Rochester Mayo had 11 points and five assists.
Lauren Jensen, Creighton
No Minnesota native made a more decisive shot last weekend than Creighton's Lauren Jensen. The former Lakeville North star, who began her college career with Iowa, blew up the Hawkeyes' hopes of a long tournament run when her three-pointer rattled in with 12 seconds remaining. That lifted the Bluejays, seeded 10th in the Greensboro Regional, to a 64-62 victory over No. 2 seed Iowa.
Jensen was at her best when the Bluejays needed her most. She scored her team's last nine points and made four of five shots in the fourth quarter. Her game-winner came under daunting circumstances, with Creighton trailing by a point and a full house of 14,382 roaring for Iowa at the Hawkeyes' home arena.
Another Minnesotan, guard Molly Mogensen of Farmington, has 23 points and nine rebounds in the tournament.
Paige Bueckers, Connecticut
No. 7 seed Central Florida didn't pull off the upset against No. 2 seed UConn, falling 52-47 in the Bridgeport Regional on Monday. But the Knights kept it close with a stifling defense, limiting the Huskies — and former Hopkins standout Paige Bueckers — to UConn's second-lowest offensive output of the season.
Bueckers finished with nine points and two assists in 33 minutes, the most time she's logged since returning Feb. 25 from knee surgery. Her playing time has sharply increased since the NCAA tournament began.
Monika Czinano, Iowa
One Minnesotan, Iowa center Monika Czinano of Watertown, was on the wrong side of Creighton's upset of the Hawkeyes. Though she had a team-high 27 points — making 12 of 20 shots, while the rest of the team made only 13 of 50 — Czinano missed a layup with three seconds left that would have tied the game.
She finished the tournament with 45 points on 18-of-26 shooting and continues to lead the nation in field-goal percentage (67.9). Czinano, a senior, announced last month she will return for a fifth year of eligibility.
Other Minnesotans in the Sweet 16
Other Minnesotans who helped their teams get to the Sweet 16 include North Carolina guard Alyssa Ustby of Rochester Lourdes, whose 25 points and 20 rebounds in two tournament games include a double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds) in Monday's victory over Arizona, and Iowa State forward Nyamer Diew of Marshall, who has seven rebounds, four blocked shots and 11 points in the tournament.