In college basketball, the stakes are the highest in March. And sometimes, that brings the best out of the players. Here's a quick guide to some of the best performances in the NCAA women's basketball tournament:
- The most points scored by a player in a women's NCAA tournament game is 50, scored by Drake's Lorri Bauman in 1982 against Maryland.
- The most three-pointers in a single game is 9, shared by Connecticut's Kia Nurse (2017) and Purdue's Courtney Moses (2012).
- The most rebounds in a game is 27, grabbed by Texas A&M's Anriel Howard in 2016.
- The most steals in a women's NCAA tournament game is 14, swiped away by Old Dominion's Ticha Penicheiro in 1998.
- The most blocked shots in a single tournament game 14, denied by Baylor's Brittney Griner in 2010.
- The most assists in a women's NCAA tournament game is 18, dished by Rutger's Tasha Pointer in 2001.
- Connecticut has won the most women's NCAA championships with 11. Tennessee is next with 8.
In 2023, LSU won the first national championship in program history on the back of Angel Reese. Reese scored 15 points with 10 rebounds en route to her Final Four Most Outstanding Player Award.
In 2022, Aliyah Boston led South Carolina to its second NCAA tournament title, beating UConn 64-49. Boston had 11 points and 16 rebounds and was named Most Outstanding Player in the championship game.
In 2021, Stanford captured its third national championship — and it firsts since 1992. Led by Haley Jones, the Cardinal narrowly defeated Arizona 54-53. Jones secured an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double to help push Stanford over the Wildcats.
🏆 HISTORY: Schools with the most DI women's basketball national championships
In 2019, Chloe Jackson led Baylor to their third national championship in the final seconds against the defending champions, Notre Dame. Jackson was named MVP of the NCAA women's basketball tournament scoring 26 points and dishing 5 assists in the 82-81 victory.
In 2018, Arike Ogunbowale scored 145 points over six games, helping Notre Dame win the national title. That scoring total is the fifth most for a player in a single NCAA tournament. Also in 2018, Chennedy Carter of Texas A&M averaged 31.3 points over three games, giving her the fourth best per-game scoring mark in tournament history.
Here is a closer look at the best all-time performances by players in the women's NCAA tournament.
Most points in a single game
In the first ever NCAA women’s basketball tournament in 1982, Drake ran up against Maryland in the West Regional Final. The Terps won that game, but few remember the scoreline.
What remains memorable about that game is that Drake sophomore Lorri Bauman scored 50 points, which still remains as the single scoring record for a women’s NCAA tournament game. Bauman shot 21-of-35 from the field and went 8-of-11 from the free throw line as she scored 64 percent of her team’s points. What is perhaps even more impressive is that Bauman played all 40 minutes of the game and didn’t commit a single turnover. She also grabbed five rebounds. Additionally, Bauman accomplished this feat before the women’s game added the three-point line in 1987.
At 6-foot-3, Bauman would finish her college career as the first woman to score more than 3,000 points in Division I college basketball. She has since been passed on the all-time scoring chart by Patricia Hoskins, Brittney Griner, Jackie Stiles, Kelsey Mitchell and Kelsey Plum.
As a senior, Bauman topped her own personal scoring mark by scoring 58 points in a regular season win over Missouri State. Since then, two others have scored 60 points in a regular season game, but no one has surpassed Bauman’s mark in the postseason.
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Most three-pointers made in a single game
Kia Nurse and Courtney Moses were on fire during two separate performances in the NCAA tournament.
In a first round game in 2012, Moses connected on nine three-pointers in Purdue’s win over South Dakota State, setting an NCAA tournament record. But a few years later, in 2017, Nurse drained nine shots from behind the arc for UConn in the Huskies’ second round win over Syracuse.
Following those players, eight others have hit eight three-pointers in a single tournament game. Seven players have shot 100 percent from three-point range — on a minimum of five attempts — in a tournament game.
Most rebounds in a single game
No player in the women’s NCAA tournament has ever cleaned the glass quite like Anriel Howard, who grabbed a record 27 rebounds for Texas A&M in a 2016 first round win over Missouri State.
Howard, who is listed at just 5-foot-11, accomplished the feat as a freshman. She also tallied nine points, one assist and a block in the win for the Aggies.
IMPACT PERFORMER: @AggieWBB's 5-11 freshman Anriel Howard smashes the #ncaaW tournament rebound record! pic.twitter.com/u4lpgpZWXJ— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessWBB) March 19, 2016
In just three seasons in a Texas A&M uniform, Howard set program records for career rebounds, career rebounding average and career double-doubles. She was the first Aggie to grab more than 1,000 boards. A native of Atlanta, Howard transferred to Mississippi State for her senior campaign.
Now her Mississippi State teammate, Howard’s record was nearly broken by Teaira McCowan in 2018, when she corralled 25 rebounds in the Final Four against Louisville.
Most steals in a single game
In a first round lost to Old Dominion in 1998, St. Francis (PA) had a tough time scoring, mustering up just 39 points to the Monarchs’ 92.
A big reason why the Red Flash had problems putting the ball in the hoop was because of the defense of Ticha Penicheiro, who set a single game tournament record for steals that day, swiping away 14 possessions.
After being recently passed by Lamar’s Chastadie Barrs, Penicheiro is third all-time in career steals in NCAA history. Penicheiro and Barrs are the only two players in the history of women’s Division I college basketball to record at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 500 steals in a career.
Most blocked shots in a single game
Georgetown was no match for Baylor in the second round of the 2010 NCAA tournament and Brittney Griner was a big reason why.
The 6-foot-9 Houston, Texas native swatted away 14 of the Hoyas’ shots, setting a single game tournament record. Griner also tallied seven points and six rebounds in the lopsided 49-33 win. Had Griner not gotten into foul trouble in the first half — where she blocked just one shot in less than seven minutes of play — she may have extended the record.
It was an overall impressive performance from the Baylor defense, who limited Georgetown to 12-of-70 shooting on the day. That’s right, Griner blocked more shots than Georgetown made.
Most assists in a single game
Stephen F. Austin couldn’t stop Tasha Pointer from dealing out dimes in a first round matchup in 2001.
Pointer racked up a tournament record 18 assists for Rutgers in an 80-43 win.
A native of Chicago, Pointer is still the all-time leader in assists at Rutgers and helped take them to a Final Four.
Amna Subhan contributed to this article.