Sixteen games are in the books. What are five takeaways from the opening day of the women's NCAA tournament?
1. New York, New York
A record seven teams from the state of New York made the NCAA tournament field this year, and two of them -- No. 12 seed Albany and 10th-seeded St. Bonaventure -- pulled the day's biggest surprises.
One year after nearly knocking off Duke in Durham, losing by just two points, the Great Danes finished the job against fifth-seeded Florida, upsetting the Gators 61-59. And this wasn't some upstart grabbing an early lead with some improbable shot-making and then holding on.
Albany scored 15 of the game's final 17 points -- with Shereesha Richards, the best player in school history, on the bench after fouling out -- to pull the stunner. The Gators led by 17 points at one point in the second quarter, but could not contain Albany point guard Imani Tate, who scored 28 points and added eight rebounds, five assists and four steals.
The upset marked the first NCAA tournament win as a Division I program for Albany.
Meanwhile, the Bonnies traveled all the way to Corvallis, Oregon, to pick up the third tournament victory in program history, a 65-54 upset of seventh-seeded Oklahoma State. St. Bonaventure, whose tallest rotation player is 6-foot-1, surprisingly outrebounded the Cowgirls. What wasn't shocking was that Oklahoma State shot 34 percent from the field, the exact number that all of the Bonnies' opponents averaged on the season, which ranked 13th-best among field goal percentage defense in the country. Not bad for one of the last teams in the tournament field.
Albany remains in New York for its location and opponent, meeting fourth-seeded Syracuse in the Carrier Dome on Sunday. St. Bonaventure gets two more days far away from home in the Pacific Northwest and has to play No. 2 seed Oregon State on the Beavers' home floor.
2. Mids not so major
Albany and St. Bonaventure notwithstanding, a number of other mid-majors had winnable games -- or at least reasonable upset opportunities -- and did not deliver. George Washington, Princeton, Green Bay and James Madison all lost on neutral courts. GW did it as a higher seed to Kansas State (9 vs. 8). James Madison was blown out by DePaul and was never really in the game.
Chattanooga had to play on the road at Mississippi State and played competitively, but came up short. Princeton, the first at-large selection from the Ivy League, was also in its game, leading after one quarter against West Virginia, but lost 74-65.
Green Bay actually led for much of the game against Tennessee before faltering late. George Washington let a halftime lead disappear almost immediately in the second half before falling to Kansas State.
It was largely a day of good efforts from the mid-majors -- with few actual results. And for a group always trying to make a case for more bids or higher seeds down the road, it was not a good showing.
3. Hot in the desert
Katie Hempen opened Arizona State's win over New Mexico State with two 3-pointers -- and the Sun Devils never looked back. The senior finished a perfect 6-for-6 from 3-point territory -- which ties an NCAA single-game record -- and scored 20 points in ASU's comfortable 74-52 win over the Aggies.
"We knew they were going to run at her hard. She was ready. She side-stepped, she shot-faked and she did everything she needed to do to make sure that she took good, clean looks," ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said. "And when she's got good, clean looks, she's not always perfect from the field but she's pretty good."
Hempen's long-range accuracy wasn't the only good sign for the Sun Devils. Their offense struggled at the end of the regular season and into the Pac-12 tournament, but on Friday, Arizona State made 54 percent of its field goals and assisted on 18 of its 30 field goals. The Sun Devils gave New Mexico State no chance of an upset with Hempen making five 3-pointers in the first half to help build a 21-point lead at the half.
In one of the more anticipated second-round games, Arizona State hosts Tennessee on Sunday, with a second straight Sweet 16 at stake for the Sun Devils.
4. SEC comes through
Sure, Florida suffered the most notable loss of the day, but SEC teams otherwise delivered, going 4-1 on the day. As expected, South Carolina, the top seed in the Sioux Falls Region, won comfortably against Jacksonville, but the rest of the SEC teams in action were not givens. Tennessee had to claw its way to a six-point win over Green Bay in Tempe thanks largely to freshman Te'a Cooper.
Auburn, which failed to even score 50 points in either of its SEC tournament games, put up 68 in an 11-point win over St. John's in a game the Tigers were considered a slight underdog.
Mississippi State was playing at home, but faced giant-killer Chattanooga. That was another battle, but the Bulldogs won 60-50.
The other four SEC teams play tomorrow. Kentucky and Texas A&M are expected to have easy times much like South Carolina did on Friday, but Missouri against BYU and Georgia against Indiana are in games that are considered toss-ups.
5. Goodbye to an Army great
Kelsey Minato had an incredible playing career at Army. She appears to have an equally incredible future ahead of her. Friday became the bridge to those two lives, but it was not the final game the three-time Patriot League Player of the Year wanted.
Syracuse blew out Minato and her Cadet teammates at the Carrier Dome almost from the opening tip. They were down 23-4 after one quarter and Minato failed to score. The score was never close, the outcome never in doubt. Minato finished with 10 points, only getting on the board midway through the third quarter, on just 3-of-14 field goals. And Minato's counterpart, Syracuse junior point guard Alexis Peterson, outplayed her, leading the Orange with 24 points.
Still, Minato ended her highly impactful career as the all-time leading scorer in school and conference history. Next comes graduation, commission as second lieutenant and artillery training -- or that might all wait if she gets selected in the WNBA draft.