BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- When Miami Coach Katie Meier reached the locker room at halftime Saturday, her players were already discussing solutions.
When they returned for the postgame celebration, Meier was teary-eyed and reflective.
In 22 seasons as a head coach, she hadn't been around many victories as satisfying -- or as shocking -- as this one.
Haley Cavinder scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half and made what proved to be the decisive free throw with 8.9 seconds left to complete a 17-point second half comeback and send Miami into the second round of the women's tournament with a 62-61 victory over eighth-seeded Oklahoma State. It matched the fifth-largest comeback in NCAA tourney history.
"I wanted to remind them like when life gets hard and you're going through some stuff and it doesn't look really good, I want you to remember this moment," Meier said. "I really want you to look at your teammates and remember what it took for you guys to make the comeback you did."
In basketball terms, it took a more aggressive defense, a more selfless offense, a stronger commitment to covering up miscues and some good fortune in those wild, frantic final seconds.
The back-and-forth stretch run -- a missed free throw with 8.9 seconds left followed by Anna Gret Asi's three-pointer to make it a one-point game before a 5-second call on Miami's ensuing inbound play gave Oklahoma State one more chance -- tested the nerves and emotions of everyone.
But it wasn't actually over until Naomie Alnatas' 10-foot runner rolled off the rim at the buzzer, leaving the sixth-year guard and her teammates seated on the court, lamenting the collapse.
Asi led the Cowgirls (21-16) with 16 points and four three-pointers. Alnatas had 10 points and Taylen Collins grabbed 16 rebounds.
Cavinder wound up with eight rebounds and six assists while Jasmyn Roberts added 12 points.
Incredibly after facing a 37-20 halftime deficit, Miami (20-12) moves on to face top-seeded Indiana (28-3) on the Hoosiers home court.
The explanation for what happened depended on the perspective.
"I was really just trying to bring a sense of calm and peace to the chaos and felt it was a combination of some people tightening up and then some people being too lax," Oklahoma State Coach Jacie Hoyt said through a cracking voice and damp, reddened eyes. "I know in the future that's going to help me become a better coach."
Miami had a different take.
"I think that's March," Cavinder said. "It was nerve-racking, but we finished the game strong and yeah, it's something I'll remember forever."
FLORIDA GULF COAST 74,
WASHINGTON STATE 63
VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Maddie Antenucci's three-pointer bounced four times before going through the net as part of her game-changing spree from beyond the arc that sent Florida Gulf Coast into the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a win over Washington State.
Sha Carter scored 24 points and Tishara Moorehouse had 16 for the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament champion Golden Eagles (33-3).
The Eagles sent Washington State (23-11) home early after a surprising run to win the Pac-12 Tournament. Tara Wallack led the Cougars with 16 points.
CLEVELAND STATE 59
VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Maddy Siegrist became the fifth women's player in NCAA history to score 1,000 points in a season and the first-team AP All-American had 35 points to lead Villanova over Cleveland State.
The Wildcats (29-6) will play No. 12-seed Florida Gulf Coast (33-3) on Monday for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.
Villanova's 29 wins this season tie the 1981-82 team for most in program history.
The two-time Big East Player of the Year, Siegrist got hot early and reached her milestone 1,000th-point bucket in style. Siegrist followed her shot after she missed a jumper from the elbow, crashed the boards and stripped the ball from a Cleveland State defender that had grabbed the rebound. She tossed up a fadeaway and banked in the bucket.
Destiny Leo scored 25 points for the Horizon League Tournament champion Vikings.
TENNESSEE TECH 47
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Sydney Parrish scored 19 points and had eight rebounds to lead the top-seeded Indiana Hoosiers (28-3) past Tennessee Tech.
All-American center Mackenzie Holmes cheered on her Indiana teammates from the bench while resting a sore knee. Grace Berger had 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks and Lilly Meister added seven points and three blocks in her first career start.
Maaliya Owens had 17 points and nine rebounds to lead Tennessee Tech (23-10), which had won its previous eight games.