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Codi Childs | | February 27, 2023

The 10 closest calls for 15-over-2 NCAA women's basketball tournament upsets

Watch the final seconds from every March Madness women’s title game

Since the DI women’s basketball tournament expanded from 32 to 64 teams in 1994, the No. 2 seed is one of the only top seeds to have never been upset in the first round, going 112-0 against No. 15 seeds. 

There have, however, been some close calls as 10 15-seeds have come within striking distance of history, losing by only single digits.

Here are the closest calls for 15-over-2 seeds in NCAA women's basketball tournament history, taken from

1 point -  (15) Long Beach State vs. (2) Oregon State in 2017

(15) Long Beach State vs. (2) Oregon State, 2017
The closest call we’ve seen between these two seeds came in a one-point game featuring Long Beach State and Oregon State in 2017. Long Beach led by two at the half and outscored the Beavers by four in the fourth quarter. The 49ers defended the perimeter well, holding Oregon State to just 12.5 percent from deep on 2-of-16 shooting, but struggled in the paint, getting out-rebounded by 15.

Down 56-55, with just over 10 seconds left, LBSU had possession of the ball and a final opportunity to secure the unbelievable upset. Guard Raven Benton, who scored a game-high 17 points, pulled up from the top of the key and hit the back iron, which was followed by an offensive rebound and missed heave from three that gave Oregon State the victory.

Year: 2017
Final score: 56-55
Point diff.: 1
Round winner was eliminated: Sweet 16

4 points - (15) Troy vs. (2) Texas A&M in 2021

In 2021, the most recent addition to this list, Troy came within four points of shocking Texas A&M to claim its first ever DI women's basketball tournament win. After going down by as many as 16 in the first half, the Trojans stormed back to take a 73-71 lead in the fourth quarter with 5:05 left to play.

However, Troy struggled to keep A&M off the line, fouling them 25 times in the game, as the Aggies' plus-80 percent free throw percentage on 20-of-24 shooting kept them in the match. 

With 4.5 seconds left, and Texas A&M up by two, a no-call on a backcourt violation led to an Aggies score to go up by four instead of giving Troy the ball back with enough time to tie or win the game. 

Year: 2021
Final score: 84-80
Point diff.: 4 
Round winner was eliminated: Sweet 16

MORE MADNESS: How the field of 68 DI women’s teams is picked for March Madness

5 points - (15) Butler vs. (2) Iowa 

Year: 1996
Final score: 72–67
Point diff.: 5
Round winner was eliminated: Sweet 16

5 points - (15) UTSA vs. (2) Baylor 

Monica Gibbs, UTSA women's basketball

In 2009, Baylor took the floor in the first round without head coach Kim Mulkey. After being rushed to the hospital following complications from a kidney stone, Mulkey was forced to forego her team's tournament opener.

Though UTSA went down by seven in the first half, the Roadrunners went on a 15-3 run to open the second half and guard Monica Gibbs sent the game into overtime by hitting two free throws with about 17 seconds remaining in regulation. Baylor's postseason experience shined in OT as Melissa Jones finished with a career-high 21 points and scored eight of Baylor's 18 overtime points to give her team the victory.

Mulkey returned to the sidelines for Baylor's second round matchup, as the Bears edged South Dakota State, 60-58, on a last second floater from guard Kelly Griffin, before ultimately getting bounced in the Sweet 16 by Louisville. 

Year: 2009
Final score: 87-82 (OT)
Point diff.: 5
Round winner was eliminated: Sweet 16

5 points - (15) Mercer vs. (2) Iowa 

Iowa women's basketball, 2019

The story of this game? Crazy stats. Despite shooting just 35-percent from the floor and sub-25-percent from three, Mercer took care of the ball, committing just three turnovers in the outing, which tied the team for the third-least in tournament history. Conversely, Iowa gave up the ball 24 times, but due to the heroics of Megan Gustafson, who scored 30 points and brought down 16 boards, the Hawkeyes were able to sneak by with the win.

Year: 2019
Final score: 66-61
Point diff.: 5
Round winner was eliminated: Elite Eight

6 points - (15) Oral Roberts vs. (2) Oklahoma

Year: 2001
Final score: 70–64
Point diff.: 6
Round winner was eliminated: Sweet 16

6 points - (15) McNeese vs. (2) Kentucky 

Year: 2012
Final score: 68-62
Point diff.: 6
Round winner was eliminated: Elite Eight

RELATED: Records for every seed in March Madness women's tournament from 1985 to 2022

8 points - (15) Missouri State vs. (2) Texas Tech 

Year: 2003
Final score: 67-59
Point diff.: 8
Round winner was eliminated: Elite Eight

8 points - (15) Valparaiso vs. (2) Kansas State

Year: 2004
Final score: 71-63
Point diff.: 8
Round winner was eliminated: Second round

8 points - (15) New Mexico State vs. (2) Stanford 

Stanford women's basketball vs. New Mexico State

New Mexico State spent much of this game looking like the higher seed after leading at the half, and being tied with Stanford after three periods. Aggie starters Brook Salas, Moriah Mack and Brianna Freeman were sensational, scoring 26 points, 15 points and 10 points, respectively, and contributing to the teams 50-percent shooting from three-point land.

Stanford looked lost for much of the opening minutes as the team entered the game having not played in two weeks. In the end, Stanford's size, offensive rebounding, and bench play (out-scoring New Mexico State's bench 24-4), helped the Cardinal snag the victory. Stanford went on to become the only No. 2 seed in the 64-team era to reach the Final Four after winning by single digits in the first round.

Year: 2017
Final score: 72-64
Point diff.: 8
Round winner was eliminated: Final Four

Here is the complete list:

Year Matchup Point Diff. Final score
2017 (15) Long Beach vs. (2) Oregon State 1 56-55
2021 (15) Troy vs. (2) Texas A&M 4 84-80
1996 (15) Butler vs. (2) Iowa 5 72–67
2009 (15) UTSA vs. (2) Baylor 5 (OT) 87-82 (OT)
2019 (15) Mercer vs. (2) Iowa 5 66-61
2001 (15) Oral Roberts vs. (2) Oklahoma 6 70–64
2012 (15) McNeese vs. (2) Kentucky 6 68-62
2003 (15) Missouri St vs. (2) Texas Tech 8 67-59
2004 (15) Valparaiso vs. (2) Kansas State 8 71-63
2017 (15) New Mexico State vs. (2) Stanford 8 72-64

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