South Carolina women roll in March Madness opener
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Zia Cooke scored 11 points as No. 1 South Carolina moved five wins away from a perfect season after opening the women’s NCAA Tournament with a 72-40 victory over No. 16 seed Norfolk State on Friday.
Aliyah Boston had seven points, nine rebounds and two blocks for the Gamecocks (33-0), who won their 39th straight game dating back to last year’s NCAA title run and moved to 11-0 in first-round games under coach Dawn Staley. They’ll face No. 8 seed South Florida on Sunday for a spot in the Sweet 16 in the Greenville, South Carolina Regional.
This was a colossal mismatch from the tip like so many other games South Carolina’s been a part of this season.
Norfolk State’s tallest player is freshman forward Skye Robinson at 6-foot-2. South Carolina has seven players that tall or taller. The Spartans’ tallest player on the bench? Larry Vickers, the team’s 6-9 head coach, who walked onto the Spartans’ men’s team and eventually became a team captain.
Kierra Wheeler led Norfolk State with 13 points.
No. 8 SOUTH FLORIDA 67, No. 9 MARQUETTE 65, OT
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu scored 22 points and Elena Tsineke’s jumper with 31.2 seconds left in overtime put South Florida ahead for good in a win over Marquette.
The Golden Eagles (22-11) had a final look to win, but Mackenzie Hare’s 3-pointer went inside the rim and rolled out with a second to play.
The Bulls (27-6), who didn’t lead for the game’s first 38 minutes, rallied several times including from 47-36 down in regulation to tie their mark for wins in a season.
The Bulls appeared to have the game won at the end of the fourth quarter, ahead 59-55 after Tsineke’s 3-pointer with 31.7 to play. But Hare’s two foul shots after a South Florida turnover tied things and forced the extra session.
The lead changed hands six times in overtime, the last on Tsineke’s basket.
No. 2 MARYLAND 93, No. 15 HOLY CROSS 61
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Abby Meyers scored 16 points and Diamond Miller added 13 points and eight rebounds as Maryland rolled to a victory over Holy Cross.
The Terrapins (26-6) scored the game’s first 14 points and advanced to face seventh-seeded Arizona on Sunday. Maryland was able to give its top players plenty of rest, with Miller, Meyers and Shyanne Sellers each playing a little over half the game.
Sellers had 13 points and eight assists, and Brinae Alexander led Maryland in scoring with 18 points.
Holy Cross (24-9) was led by Simone Foreman’s 13 points.
No. 7 ARIZONA 75, No. 10 WEST VIRGINIA 62
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Cate Reese scored 25 points and Esmery Martinez hadd a double-double against her former team, helping Arizona to a victory over West Virginia.
The Wildcats (22-9) started fast and never trailed, and will next play the winner of Friday’s Maryland-Holy Cross game. Arizona entered the tournament on a three-game losing streak, but had a couple weeks off before this matchup.
The Wildcats seemed refreshed early on, shooting 72% from the field in the first quarter. West Virginia was holding opponents to 61 points per game this season, but Arizona looked ready to breeze past that after just one quarter and a 28-17 lead.
The Mountaineers (19-12) eventually settled in. It was a seven-point game at halftime, and Arizona’s lead was down to three early in the third. Wildcats guard Shaina Pellington picked up her third and fourth fouls a few seconds apart in the third, but after two free throws by West Virginia made it 42-39, Arizona eventually pulled away again.
No. 3 NOTRE DAME 82, No. 14 SOUTHERN UTAH 56
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Forward Maddy Westbeld scored 20 points and led Notre Dame to a win over Southern Utah.
Guard Sonia Citron chipped in 14 points and a season-high six assists. The team’s leading scorer, she transitioned into the team’s primary facilitator with second-team Associated Press All-American guard Olivia Miles out the remainder of the season with an undisclosed knee injury.
Lauren Ebo had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Megan Jensen led Southern Utah (23-10) with 11 points.
JJ Quinerly led West Virginia with 19 points.
No. 11 MISSISSIPPI STATE 81, No. 6 CREIGHTON 66
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Jerkaila Jordan scored 20 and led Mississippi State to a win against Creighton.
Jessika Carter, the 6-5 Bulldog center, took advantage of the Bluejays’ undersized front court, with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Anastasia Hayes chipped in 12 points and seven assists. Ahlana Smith and Asianae Johnson each added 10 points.
Lauren Jensen scored 22 points to lead Creighton (22-9), which made a run to the regional final last season. Emma Ronsiek scored 21 points, hitting 3 of 6 shots from beyond the arc.
The Bulldogs picked up their second NCAA Tournament victory in coach Sam Purcell’s inaugural season. Mississippi State defeated Illinois in a First Four matchup on Wednesday.
GREENVILLE 2 REGIONAL
No. 3 LSU 73, No. 14 HAWAII 50
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Angel Reese had 34 points and 15 rebounds — her 29th double-double this season — and LSU defeated Hawaii.
Flau’Jae Johnson scored 10 for LSU (29-2), which raced to a double-digit lead in the first quarter and maintained a comfortable lead most of the way.
The Tigers advanced to a second-round match-up on Sunday with sixth seeded Michigan (23-9), a 71-59 winner over 11 seed UNLV earlier Friday.
Kallin Spiller and Daejah Phillips each scored 13 for Hawaii (18-15).
No. 6 MICHIGAN 71, No. 11 UNLV 59
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Emily Kiser had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Maddie Nolan added 18 points, and Michigan beat UNLV, snapping the Rebels’ 22-game winning streak.
Leigha Brown scored 17 points for Michigan (23-9), which had lost three of its previous four games. The Wolverines used their advantages in size and physicality to build and keep a double-digit lead for much of their opening game in the Greenville 2 region.
Guard Laila Phelia, wearing a brace on her left knee and playing in her just her third game since missing seven with a leg injury, exerted her influence on the game defensively, grabbing a career-high 11 rebounds to go with her eight points — less than half of her scoring average of 16.9.
UNLV (31-3) came up one short of the longest winning streak in program history. Its Mountain West Tournament title victory had tied a mark reached previously in the 1978-79 and 1989-90 seasons.
No. 2 UTAH 103, No. 15 GARDNER-WEBB 77
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Alissa Pili tallied 33 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to power Utah past Gardner-Webb.
Jenna Johnson added 20 points and five assists for the Utes (26-4). Pili and Johnson combined to make 22 of 31 shots as the Bulldogs struggled to keep the duo from relentlessly attacking the basket.
Gardner-Webb (29-5) had a 21-game winning streak snapped and fell to 0-3 against Power 5 opponents this season. Jhessyka Williams scored 20 points for the Bulldogs.
Utah used a 14-0 run to carve out a 32-14 lead early in the second quarter. The Utes forced four turnovers over the final 3½ minutes of the first quarter to spark their game-breaking and held Gardner-Webb without a point for 4½ minutes.
No. 10 PRINCETON 64, No. 7 NORTH CAROLINA STATE 63
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Grace Stone scored 22 points, including her fifth 3-pointer of the game with 4.7 seconds remaining, to lift Princeton to a thrilling win over North Carolina State.
Kaitlyn Chen, who also scored 22 points, made a 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining to cut the Tigers’ deficit to 63-61 and then Madison St. Rose and Stone both came up with steals in the final minute to give the Tigers a chance.
On the North Carolina State’s final possession, the Tigers created chaos, as they had all game long, and knocked the ball loose to prevent the seventh-seeded Wolfpack from getting a shot off.
The Tigers (24-5), who held the Wolfpack scoreless for the final 5:43 of the game, ran to the center off the court screaming for jubilation at their unlikely victory.
SEATTLE 3 REGIONAL
No. 1 VIRGINIA TECH 58, No. 16 CHATTANOOGA 33
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Georgia Amoore scored 22 points, Elizabeth Kitley added 12, and top-seeded Virginia Tech rolled to a victory over Chattanooga.
Kitley added 14 rebounds while Amoore hit five 3-pointers for the Hokies (28-4), who won their 12th consecutive game.
Yazz Wazeerud-Din and Raven Thompson led Chattanooga (20-13) with 10 points each. The Moccasins were held to their lowest point total of the season.
Virginia Tech, which is making its third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, never trailed. The Hokies led by one late in the first quarter, but used a 17-0 run bridging the first and second quarters to pull away. Amoore scored eight points in that run.
No. 9 SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 62, No. 8 SOUTHERN CAL 57, OT
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Myah Selland scored 29 points to lead South Dakota State to an overtime victory over Southern Cal.
Selland scored 16 consecutive points spanning the fourth quarter and overtime for the Jackrabbits (29-5), who won their 22nd consecutive game despite shooting 35.2% (19 of 54) and committing 20 turnovers.
Destiny Littleton led Southern Cal (21-10) with 18 points.
Littleton tied the game at 47 on a 3-pointer with 7 seconds in regulation. Selland then missed a tough jumper at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.
Selland scored nine consecutive points in overtime for the Jackrabbits, who opened the extra session with an 11-2 run and never trailed.
SEATTLE 4 REGIONAL
No. 2 IOWA 95, No. 15 SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA 43
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Caitlin Clark had 26 points and 12 assists and Monika Czinano added 22 points as Iowa defeated Southeastern Louisiana.
Hannah Stuelke added 13 points for the Hawkeyes (27-6), who will play No. 10 seed Georgia in the second round on Sunday.
Clark, an Associated Press first-team All-American, added seven assists. She was 9 of 14 from the field.
The Hawkeyes, playing in front of a sellout crowd of 14,382, never trailed. They led 28-17 at the end of the first quarter and 54-32 at halftime. Iowa shot 60.6% in the first half, 60% for the game.
Iowa’s defense held the Lady Lions to just 25.4% shooting for the game, including 3 of 32 from the field in the second half.
Southeastern Louisiana (21-10), a No. 15 seed that was the Southland Conference regular season and tournament champion, was making its first NCAA Tournament appearance.
No. 10 GEORGIA 66, No. 7 FLORIDA STATE 54
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Diamond Battles scored 21 points and Audrey Warren added 11 points as Georgia defeated Florida State.
Jordan Isaacs had 10 points and Javyn Nicholson had 13 rebounds for the Lady Bulldogs (22-11).
Georgia led 43-40 with 2:03 left in the third quarter before going on a 14-0 run that extended three minutes into the fourth quarter. Florida State would get no closer than 10 points the rest of the game.
Florida State (23-10), a No. 7 seed, had just eight available players for the tournament. The university announced on Thursday morning that freshman guard Ta’Niya Latson and sophomore guard O’Mariah Gordon were out for the rest of the season because of injuries.
No. 1 STANFORD 92, No. 16 SACRED HEART 49
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Haley Jones scored 17 points for a Stanford team missing star Cameron Brink because of a stomach bug, and the Cardinal advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament by beating Sacred Heart.
Freshman Talana Lepolo dished out seven assists in her NCAA debut as Stanford advances to the second round Sunday against the winner of Friday’s second game between No. 8 seed Ole Miss and ninth-seeded Gonzaga.
Stanford, earning a No. 1 seed for a third straight year, notched the program’s 100th NCAA Tournament victory — third most all-time behind Tennessee and UConn. The Cardinal (29-5) have reached the Sweet 16 in 14 consecutive tournaments and haven’t lost in the first two rounds since falling to Florida State at home in 2007.
Freshman Ny’Ceara Pryor scored 12 points to lead cold-shooting Sacred Heart (19-14).
No. 8 MISSISSIPPI 71, No. 9 GONZAGA 48
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Snudda Collins scored 15 points and Mississippi once again leaned on its stingy defense to get past the first round of the NCAA Tournament this time after last year’s big disappointment, beating Gonzaga.
Now, bring on top-seeded Stanford on its home court.
Ole Miss will face the Cardinal (29-5) on Sunday for a spot at the Sweet Sixteen in Seattle next weekend. Stanford topped No. 16 seed Sacred Heart 92-49 in Friday’s first game at Maples Pavilion.
Already tested twice by No. 1 South Carolina, coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin’s Rebels showed off their signature defense that has held opponents to just 56.8 points per game by shutting down one of the nation’s top 3-point-shooting teams. The Zags (28-5) scored a season-low points.
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