NCAA women’s roundup: South Carolina cruises in opener

AP photo by Sean Rayford / South Carolina's Aliyah Boston reaches over Norfolk State forward Kierra Wheeler during an NCAA tournament first-round game Friday in Columbia, S.C.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Zia Cooke scored 11 points as overall No. 1 seed South Carolina moved five wins away from finishing a perfect season and repeating as national champion, opening the 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 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 Regional.

This was a colossal mismatch from the tip, just like so many other games South Carolina has 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 height or taller. The tallest Spartan on the bench? Larry Vickers, the team's 6-9 head coach, who walked onto Norfolk State's men's team and eventually became a team captain.

Kierra Wheeler led Norfolk State (26-7) with 13 points.

South Florida 67, Marquette 65, OT

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu scored 22 points, and Elena Tsineke's jumper with 31.2 seconds left in overtime put eighth-seeded South Florida ahead for good over ninth-seeded 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 single-season wins.

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 the score and forced the extra session.

The lead changed hands six times in overtime, the last on Tsineke's basket.

Maryland 93, Holy Cross 61

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Abby Meyers scored 16 points and Diamond Miller added 13 points and eight rebounds as second-seeded Maryland rolled over 15th-seeded 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 more than 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.

Arizona 75, West Virginia 62

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Cate Reese scored 25 points and Esmery Martinez had a double-double against her former team, helping No. 7 seed Arizona beat No. 10 seed West Virginia.

The Wildcats (22-9) started fast and never trailed. They entered the tournament on a three-game losing streak, but they also had a couple weeks off before this matchup and 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.

JJ Quinerly led West Virginia with 19 points.

Notre Dame 82, Southern Utah 56

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Forward Maddy Westbeld scored 20 points and led No. 3 seed Notre Dame past No. 14 seed Southern Utah.

Guard Sonia Citron chipped in 14 points and a season-high six assists for the Fighting Irish (26-5). The team's leading scorer, she transitioned into the team's primary facilitator with second-team AP All-America guard Olivia Miles out the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

Lauren Ebo had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Megan Jensen led Southern Utah (23-10) with 11 points.

Mississippi State 81, Creighton 66

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Jerkaila Jordan scored 20 points as No. 11 seed Mississippi State past No. 6 Creighton for its second NCAA tourney win of the week.

Jessika Carter, the Bulldog's 6-5 center, took advantage of the Bluejays' undersized front court with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Anastasia Hayes chipped in 12 points and seven assists, and Asianae Johnson and Ahlana Smith each added 10 points.

Lauren Jensen scored 22 points to lead Creighton (22-9), which made a run to the regional finals last season. Emma Ronsiek scored 21 points, shooting 3-for-6 from beyond the arc.

The Bulldogs picked up their second NCAA tourney victory in coach Sam Purcell's inaugural season. They defeated Illinois in a First Four matchup Wednesday.


LSU 73, Hawaii 50

BATON ROUGE, La. — Angel Reese had 34 points and 15 rebounds for her 29th double-double this season as No. 3 seed LSU defeated No. 14 seed 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 advantage most of the way.

Kallin Spiller and Daejah Phillips each scored 13 for Hawaii (18-15).

Michigan 71, UNLV 59

BATON ROUGE, La. — Emily Kiser had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Maddie Nolan added 18 points, and No. 6 seed Michigan beat No. 11 seed 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 the game.

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 Conference tournament title victory had tied a mark reached previously in the 1978-79 and 1989-90 seasons.

Utah 103, Gardner-Webb 77

SALT LAKE CITY — Alissa Pili tallied 33 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to power No. 2 seed Utah past No. 15 seed 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.

Jhessyka Williams scored 20 points for Gardner-Webb (29-5), which had a 21-game winning streak snapped and fell to 0-3 against Power Five opponents this season

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 3 1/2 minutes of the first quarter to spark their game-breaking run and held Gardner-Webb without a point for 4 1/2 minutes.

Princeton 64, N.C. State 63

SALT LAKE CITY — Grace Stone scored 22 points, including her fifth 3-pointer of the game with 4.7 seconds remaining, to lift No. 10 seed Princeton to a thrilling win over No. 7 North Carolina State.

Kaitlyn Chen, who also scored 22 points, made a 3 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 N.C. 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 (20-12) 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 of the court screaming in jubilation at their unlikely victory.


South Dakota State 62, Southern California 57, OT

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Myah Selland scored 29 points to lead No. 9 seed South Dakota State to the overtime victory over No. 8 seed 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 just 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 seven seconds in regulation. Selland then missed a tough jumper at the buzzer, sending the game into the extra period.

Selland scored nine consecutive points in overtime for the Jackrabbits, who opened the extra five minutes with an 11-2 run and never trailed.

They advanced to face No. 1 seed Virginia Tech, which beat the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the day's first game in Blacksburg.


Iowa 95, Southeastern Louisiana 43

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Caitlin Clark had 26 points and 12 assists, and Monika Czinano added 22 points as No. 2 seed Iowa defeated No. 15 seed Southeastern Louisiana.

Hannah Stuelke chipped in 13 for the Hawkeyes (27-6), who will play Georgia in the second round Sunday.

Clark, an AP 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 and 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), the Southland Conference regular-season and tournament champion, was making its first NCAA tourney appearance.

Georgia 66, Florida State 54

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Diamond Battles scored 21 points and Audrey Warren added 11 as No. 10 seed Georgia defeated No. 7 seed Florida State.

Jordan Isaacs had 10 points and Javyn Nicholson grabbed 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.

The Seminoles (23-10) had just eight players available for the tournament. The university announced Thursday morning that freshman Ta'Niya Latson and sophomore O'Mariah Gordon, both guards, were out for the season because of injuries.

Stanford 92, Sacred Heart 49

STANFORD, Calif. — Haley Jones scored 17 points for a top-seeded team missing star Cameron Brink because of stomach illness, and the Cardinal advanced to the second round of the NCAA tourney by beating No. 16 seed Sacred Heart.

Freshman Talana Lepolo dished out seven assists in her NCAA debut as Stanford advanced to face Ole Miss.

Stanford, earning a No. 1 seed for a third straight year, notched the program's 100th NCAA tourney victory — third all-time behind Tennessee and Connecticut. 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).

Ole Miss 71, Gonzaga 48

STANFORD, Calif. — Snudda Collins scored 15 points, and No. 8 Ole Miss leaned on its stingy defense to get past the first round of the NCAA tourney this time after last year's big disappointment, beating ninth-seeded Gonzaga.

Already tested twice by No. 1 South Carolina in Southeastern Conference play, 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 Bulldogs (28-5) were held to their season low in points.