Toledo held off Iowa State in the fourth quarter and became the second No. 12 seed to upset a No. 5 on Saturday afternoon in the women’s NCAA tournament.
The Rockets beat the Cyclones, 80-73, after outscoring Iowa State by 10 in the second quarter. That quarter gave Toledo a 7-point margin at halftime, and Toledo extended its lead to 15 in the third quarter before Iowa State started chipping away.
The Cyclones cut Toledo’s lead to 5 with 7:17 to go but never got the game within 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 final minute, Toledo kept making its free throws.
Toledo entered the game as one of the best free-throw shooting teams in the country. Toledo led the MAC at 78% from the line during the regular season and was 13-of-16 from the stripe Saturday.
The victory is the first tournament win for Toledo since 1996 and came against longtime Toledo coach Bill Fennelly. The Iowa State coach was at Toledo from 1988-95 and led the Rockets to three NCAA tournament appearances before he was hired by ISU ahead of the 1995-96 season.
Toledo became the fifth double-digit seed to score an opening-round win in the women’s tournament and its win happened just after No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast beat No. 5 Washington State. The two 12-over-5 upsets 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 from behind the 3-point line Saturday and shot 35% from the field.
It was also the fourth opening-round loss for an NCAA tournament team from Iowa in three days. Six teams made the men’s and women’s tournaments from the state and unless Drake pulls another 12-5 upset over Louisville on Saturday night, Iowa and Caitlin Clark will be the only team to make the second round.