[WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT WATCH] Wednesday was the first day of play in several conferences, and it had major implications for several big programs on the bubble for NCAA Women's Tournament bids. For a rundown of the day's winners and losers ...
Oklahoma and Nebraska stayed in contention for at-large berths to the NCAA Women's Tournament with big wins in the Big 12 Tournament in San Antonio.
Oklahoma's 1-0 win over No. 21 Texas put the Sooners in the Big 12 semifinals for only the second time in their history and first time in a decade. Sophomore forward Caitlin Mooney scored the only goal in the 15th minute.
“I am extremely proud of our performance,” said Sooner coach Nicole Nelson, who was named the Big 12 Co-Head Coach of the Year earlier this week. “Caitlin is a great finisher. She has done a great job all year and is extremely composed in front of the goal.”
Oklahoma began the week at No. 50 in the latest NCAA Women's RPI, putting the Sooners right on the bubble. They will face Big 12 regular-season champion Texas A&M on Friday.
Nebraska, four spots below at No. 54 in the RPI rankings, got goals from four different players, including star Morgan Marlborough (17 goals and 12 assists), to beat Missouri, 4-1, and move on to the semifinals against Oklahoma State for the first time since 2005.
Texas Tech's 3-1 loss to Oklahoma State probably ended its season for the Red Raiders (No. 52 in the RPI index).
Wednesday's big loser in the ACC could be Virginia Tech, which dropped a 4-2 decision to defending national champion North Carolina in the conference quarterfinals in Cary, N.C.
In 2009, the NCAA took eight ACC teams. This year, seven ACC teams are pretty much assured of going to the NCAA Tournament: North Carolina, Maryland, Boston College and Wake Forest, the four ACC semifinalists, as well as Virginia and Florida State, both ranked in the Top 25 all season, and Duke, ranked No. 28 in the latest RPI.
Virginia Tech is No. 39 and Miami (Fla.) is No. 47, putting them both in line to earn berths if the NCAA women's soccer committee goes with nine teams.
Virginia Tech, which reached the round of 16 at the 2009 NCAA Tournament, has wins over Maryland and Boston College.
Miami, ninth in the ACC, didn't earn a ticket to the ACC party in Cary but could beat out Virginia Tech for a ticket to the Big Dance thanks to its wins over the Hokies, as well as Duke and Big East power West Virginia.
In Conference USA, SMU moved into the semifinals with a shootout win over Rice but the result goes down as a tie, which could be unsatisfactory for the Mustangs.
They began the week at No. 46 in the RPI rankings and may need to beat top C-USA top seed UCF in Orlando on Friday to wrap up an NCAA Tournament berth.