Toledo took on Iowa State in the fourth quarter to become the second No. 12 seed in the women’s NCAA tournament to upset a No. 5 on Saturday afternoon.
The Rockets defeated the Cyclones 80–73 after outscoring Iowa State by 10 in the second quarter. That quarter gave Toledo a seven-point lead at halftime, and Toledo extended its lead to 15 in the third quarter before Iowa State pulled away.
The Cyclones cut Toledo’s lead to five with 7:17 to go, but never took the game away in a single possession after all thanks to Toledo’s excellent free-throw shooting. As Iowa State fouled Toledo in the final minute to extend the game, Toledo continued to make 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 on Saturdays.
The win is the first tournament win for Toledo since 1996 and came against longtime Toledo coach Bill Facinelli. The Iowa State coach was in Toledo from 1988–1995 and led the Rockets to three NCAA tournament appearances before being hired by ISU prior to the 1995–96 season.
Toledo became the fifth double-digit seed to earn an opening-round win in the women’s tournament, and its victory came after No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast defeated No. 5 Washington State. The two upsets of 12 over 5 are the biggest first round upsets 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 on Saturday and shot 35% from the field.
It was also the fourth opening-round loss to an NCAA tournament team from Iowa in three days. Six teams from the state made it to the men’s and women’s tournaments, and unless Drake pulled off a 12-5 upset over Louisville on Saturday night, Iowa and Caitlin Clark would be the only teams to make it to the second round.