Women’s NCAA tournament 2023: Chalk dominates Day 1 as SEC goes 5-0

Chalk dominated the majority of opening day of the 2023 women’s NCAA tournament, with the SEC shining brightest thanks to a 5-0 record on Friday.

No. 1 overall seed South Carolina handled Norfolk State, pulling within five wins of an undefeated season and back-to-back national titles, while 3-seed LSU took care of business versus Hawaii.

What was less obvious heading into March was how the middle-of-the-pack SEC teams would fare. But No. 8 seed Ole Miss, 10th-seeded Georgia and 11-seed Mississippi State — which became the first First Four team to make it to the second round — all advanced.

It has been a tougher week for the ACC, as three star players — Florida State’s Ta’Niya Latson, NC State’s Diamond Johnson and Notre Dame’s Olivia Miles — were ruled out either for the entire tournament or, in Johnson’s case, the weekend. Notre Dame didn’t have much trouble routing Southern Utah 82-56, but 10th-seeded Princeton beat 7-seed NC State on Grace Stone’s go-ahead 3-pointer with less than five seconds remaining.

Even the “upsets” weren’t surprises. No. 10 seed Georgia taking down Florida State was conceivable, if not predictable, given Latson’s injury. Same with NC State’s loss sans Johnson. No. 9 seed South Dakota State bested No. 8 USC 62-57 in overtime, but it was an 8-9 matchup. Most stunning was 6-seed Creighton’s loss to the Bulldogs after their Elite Eight run last year. Could Mississippi State, which plays tough defense and can produce both inside-out, assume the r