No. 12 Toledo tees off No. 5 Iowa State

Toledo fought off Iowa State in the fourth quarter to become the second No. 12, upsetting a No. 5 in Saturday afternoon’s women’s NCAA tournament.

The Rockets defeated the Cyclones 80-73 after beating Iowa State by 10 points in the second quarter. In that quarter, Toledo had a seven-point lead at halftime, and Toledo extended their lead to 15 in the third quarter before Iowa State began to lose.

With 7:17 to go, the Cyclones cut Toledo’s lead to five, but never managed to get the game back to a single possession after that, thanks to Toledo’s excellent free-throw shooting. As Iowa State kept fouling Toledo to extend the game in the last minute, Toledo kept making free throws.

Toledo entered the game as one of the top free-throw shooting teams in the country. Toledo led the MAC with 78% from the line in the regular season and was 13 of 16 from the Stripe on Saturday.

The victory is the first tournament win for Toledo since 1996 and came against longtime Toledo manager Bill Fennelly. The Iowa State coach was in Toledo from 1988-1995 and led the Rockets to three NCAA tournament appearances before being signed by the ISU ahead of the 1995-96 season.

Toledo became the fifth double-digit seed to achieve a win in the opening round of the women’s tournament, and his victory came shortly after No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast defeated No. 5 Washington State. The two surprises 12 over 5 are the biggest of the first round so far.

While Iowa State shot better than the ISU men on Friday — the Cyclones shot 23% from the field in their loss to Pitt — it wasn’t much better. ISU was just 6 of 31 behind the 3-point line on Saturday, shooting 35% from the field.

It was also the fourth opening round loss for an NCAA tournament team from Iowa in three days. Six teams from across the state made up the men’s and women’s tournaments, and unless Drake pulls off another 12-5 upset over Louisville on Saturday night, Iowa and Caitlin Clark will be the only teams to advance to the second round.

Toledo head coach Tricia Cullop reacts during a play in the first half of a first round college basketball game against Iowa State at the NCAA tournament on Saturday March 18, 2023 in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne) .

Tricia Cullop and Toledo were the second No. 12 to beat a No. 5 on Saturday afternoon. (AP Photo/Wade Payne) No. 12 Toledo tees off No. 5 Iowa State

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