Four unranked teams survived the odds and are still dancing at the 2017 Division III NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. Babson College, Marymount University, of Arlington, Va., UMass.-Dartmouth and SUNY Paltz upset squads ranked in the D3Hoops and Women Basketball Coaches Association polls top 25 to advance to the Sweet 16 March 10.

Experts proved wrong

One of the Cinderella stories ends when UMass and SUNY meet at 5 p.m. in St. Louis. The Hawks (20-8) upset Bowdoin 62-61 in the first round, then shot 50 percent from the field 9-of-15 on threes and hit 20 of 24 free throws topping Ithaca 83-80 in round two.

Lindsay Bettke led all scorers in the game with a career-high 26 points. Three other Hawks reached double figures on the scoring sheet.

Alicia Kutil’s 20 points and 10 caroms paced UMass (24-5) to a convincing 71-63 win over No. 11 Montclair State in round two. The game will go down in history for two reasons. It is the first time the Corsairs ever beat a ranked opponent, and it moved the team to its first Sweet 16.

Babson (24-5) travels to Amherst College for the sectional round of the championship. The Beavers already upset Messiah and FDU-Florham, 63-62, in overtime to advance. Babson gave the Purple and White all they could wanted in a 67-62 loss in Amherst Nov. 20. Top-ranked Amherst is 29-0 and has the nation’s stingiest defense allowing just 40.3 points per game.

Marymount (24-5) will test Bear Bryant’s theory that offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships, when it heads to Minnesota to clash with No. 2 St. Thomas. The Tommies are 19th in the nation in scoring (74.7 ppg). The Saints will counter with the nation’s 17th-ranked defense (51.4 ppg).

Powerhouses meet

Washington University (Missouri) (25-2) and UW-Oshkosh (26-2) square off on Friday at 7. The Titans gave up less than 50 points per game this year. The Bears, led by Madeline Homoly’s 14.6 ppg and 6.8 rpg, average 77.6 ppg.

Tufts (27-2), with the country’s second toughest defense (42.2) plays the University of Scranton (26-3) on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

in a rematch of last year’s sectional. Washington hosts both games. This is an opportunity for the Lady Royals to avenge last season’s Sweet 16 elimination at the hands of the Jumbos.

No. 16 Whitman (27-4) heads to St. Paul, Minnesota, for a sectional against No. 7 Trinity (Texas) University (28-1). Expect a high scoring affair as both teams average about 75 ppg. Finally, Christopher Newport’s (26-2) game against Hope (22-4) will be played at Northern Ohio. The game was originally scheduled for SUNY-Geneseo, but that squad must play the undefeated Polar Bears.

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