SEATTLE – Tiffany Mitchell scored 24 points, Alaina Coates added 13, and top-seeded South Carolina took a while to pull away from No. 16 seed Cal State Northridge in a 73-58 win on Sunday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
South Carolina (28-4) were the new kids when it came to being a top seed in the NCAAs, garnering the achievement after never being higher than a No. 3 seed in the past. And while the Gamecocks didn’t play poorly against the champions of the Big West Conference, it took far longer than expected to finally dispatch the pesky Matadors.
South Carolina outscored Northridge 27-11 at the free throw line and had 20 second-chance points.
Janae Sharpe led Cal State Northridge (18-15) with 26 points, but was held in check for most of the second half.
OREGON STATE 55, MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE 36
SEATTLE – Sydney Wiese made six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 26 points, and ninth-seeded Oregon State ousted eighth-seeded Middle Tennessee State.
Wiese put on a shooting display midway through the second half, hitting five 3s in a six-minute span when the Beavers (24-10) blew the game open. Wiese made 7 of 15 shots, had five rebounds and four assists.
She was the only Oregon State player in double figures, and the only player finding offense on a night scoring was hard to come by.
Middle Tennessee was held to a season low in points and lost in the first round of the tournament for the sixth straight year.
Ebony Rowe, the Conference USA player of the year, led Middle Tennessee (29-5) with 17 points, but shot 7 of 23.
The Blue Raiders couldn’t overcome going scoreless the first five minutes and were playing catch-up from the very start.
NORTH CAROLINA 60, UT MARTIN 68
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Xylina McDaniel scored the go-ahead basket off an offensive rebound with 56 seconds remaining to help fourth-seeded North Carolina overcome an 18-point second half deficit and defeat UT Martin.
McDaniel scored 14 points, even converting a shot from sitting on the floor under the basket.
Karisma Tyson had a chance to win the game for UT Martin but her 3-pointer was off the mark.
North Carolina trailed 50-32 with 10:51 left in the game when Diamond DeShields ignited a 15-0 run. DeShields, the conference’s freshman player of the year, had 13 of her 15 points during the second half.
Heather Butler finished with 19 points for UT Martin, tying the all-time NCAA record for career 3-pointers made.
After the game, fans were forced to stay inside Carmichael Arena after police announced there was an armed and dangerous person near the campus.
MICHIGAN STATE 91, HAMPTON 61
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Freshman Aerial Powers had 26 points and 18 rebounds, Annalise Pickrel added 21 points and fifth-seeded Michigan State defeated No. 12 Hampton.
Branndais Agee had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Spartans, who shot 58 percent from the field in the first half to open a 32-point lead at the break en route to an easy win.
Michigan State (23-9) came into the tournament looking to avenge a 28-point loss to Nebraska in the Big Ten Conference semifinals and played inspired basketball almost from the opening tip.
The Spartans outscored the Pirates 46-30 in the paint.
Hampton (28-5), the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions, came in riding an 18-game winning streak and looking for its first NCAA tournament win but was limited to 35 percent shooting from the field.
Nicole Hamilton led the Pirates with 19 points.
PENN STATE 62, WICHITA STATE 56
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Maggie Lucas scored 22 points, rallying Penn State from an early scare in a 62-56 win over Wichita State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Lucas led the Lady Lions (23-7) back from an 11-point hole and becoming an unwanted piece of tournament history: A No. 3 seed has never lost a game to a 14.
The Shockers (26-7) tried to make it happen, but could never sustain the early spurt that would have allowed them to pull off one of the biggest upsets in tournament history.
Lucas, the two-time Big Ten player of the year, led Penn State’s 17-0 run to open the second half that spurred them into the second round for the fourth straight year.
FLORIDA 83, DAYTON 69
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Cassie Peoples scored 21 points and all five Florida starters scored in double figures, leading the Gators past Dayton in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
The 11th-seeded Gators (20-12) will play Penn State on Tuesday night in the Stanford Regional.
In a first round full of lopsided scores, the Gators pulled off a rare upset by a double-digit seed. Jaterra Bonds and Ronni Williams each had 15 points for Florida.
Andrea Hoover led the Flyers (23-8) with 22 points and Celeste Edwards scored 15 points. Hoover and Edwards helped the Flyers storm to a 15-point lead in the second before Florida started to rally.
The Gators shot at close to a 50-percent mark for most of the second half to wipe out the deficit and stun Dayton.
LOUISVILLE 88, IDAHO 42
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Sara Hammond led five players in double figures with 16 points and third-seeded Louisville rolled past Idaho.
Jude Schimmel had 14 points and Asia Taylor scored 13 for the Cardinals (31-4), who’ll face either Marist or host Iowa in the second round on Tuesday.
Louisville shook off a sluggish start with a 28-10 run late in the first half. The Cardinals then opened the second half with 23 points in eight minutes to push their lead to 63-30.
Ali Forde had 16 points for 14th-seeded Idaho (25-9), which was outrebounded 42-23.
IOWA 87, MARIST 65
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Theairra Taylor scored 22 points, Bethany Doolittle added 21 and Iowa blew out Marist.
Samantha Logic had 11 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the sixth-seeded Hawkeyes (27-8), who will face third-seeded Louisville on Tuesday for a trip to the Sweet Sixteen.
Iowa took control late in the first half and relied on strong shooting to advance to the second round for the second year in a row. The Hawkeyes shot 57 percent from the field and 12 of 25 from 3-point range
Emma O’Connor, Sydney Coffey and Madeline Blais each had 12 to lead the 11th-seeded Red Foxes (27-7), who were outscored 49-35 in the second half.
MARYLAND 90, ARMY 52
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Alyssa Thomas had 13 points and 14 rebounds, Lexie Brown scored 21 and No. 4 seed Maryland closed the first half with 20 straight points to roll past Army.
The Terrapins (25-6) trailed 18-15 before taking control against the 13th-seeded Black Knights (25-8), champions of the Patriot League.
After Thomas capped a 9-0 spurt with two foul shots, Army got one free throw apiece from Kelsey Minato and Aimee Oertner, the last with 4:56 left in the half.
Those would be the Black Knights’ final points before halftime. Army went 10 minutes without a basket until Minato connected early in the second half to end the Black Knights’ 0-for-10 stretch.
TEXAS 79, PENN 61
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Imani McGee-Stafford had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and fifth-seeded Texas rallied from a 15-point, first-half deficit to beat No. 12 seed Penn, the Longhorns’ first NCAA win since 2008.
McGee-Stafford went 8 for 11 from the field and made all four of her free throws for the Longhorns (22-11), who shot 61 percent in the second half to end a skid of four consecutive first-round losses.
Alyssa Baron scored 25 points to lead the Quakers (23-6), who were trying to become only the second Ivy League team to win a game in the women’s tournament. The conference dropped to 1-22 all-time, although the one win was historic: Harvard over Stanford in 1997, the only victory by a No. 16 seed over a No. 1 in men’s or women’s tournament history.
LSU 98, GEORGIA TECH 78
BATON ROUGE, La. – Danielle Ballard scored 24 points and LSU led wire-to-wire in a victory over Georgia Tech.
Theresa Plaisance added 21 points and DaShawn Harden 17 for the Lady Tigers (20-12), who picked an opportune time to reach their highest point total of the season and led by as much as 20 in the second half.
Seeded seventh in the Louisville region, the Lady Tigers had the benefit of opening on their home court, where they are now 17-3 all-time in the NCAA tournament.
LSU next plays Tuesday night, again at home, against second-seeded West Virginia.
Sydney Wallace and Tyaunna Marshall each scored 20 for 10th-seeded Georgia Tech (20-12), but 6-foot-5 Nariah Taylor, who had 11 points, was limited by foul trouble, and LSU outrebounded Tech 57-30.
WEST VIRGINIA 76, ALBANY (NY) 61
BATON ROUGE, La. – Christal Caldwell scored 26 points, Bria Holmes added 20, and West Virginia defeated Albany 76-61 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday.
Averee Fields added 10 points for second-seeded West Virginia (30-4), which will try to win a second-round game for the first time in program history Tuesday night against No. 7 seed LSU.
Megan Craig led the 15th-seeded Great Danes (28-5) with 23 points. But the 6-foot-9 center was hampered by two quick fouls that limiter her playing time in the first half.
When Craig went to the bench, the Mountaineers went on a 16-2 run to take a 33-11 lead, and Albany never quite recovered.
Great Danes leading scorer and America East Player of the Year Shereesha Richards also got into foul trouble and was limited to only nine points before fouling out with four minutes remaining in the game.
UCONN 87, PRAIRIE VIEW A&M 44
STORRS, Conn. – Breanna Stewart led a balanced offense with 19 points and 10 rebounds as defending champion UConn routed Prairie View A&M.
Stewart was among five Huskies (35-0) who scored in double figures on coach Geno Auriemma’s 60th birthday, giving him his 92nd NCAA tournament win.
Moriah Jefferson had 14 points, four assists and five steals. Bria Hartley had 16 points.
LaReahn Washington scored 13 points to lead Prairie View. The Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament champions finish their season at 14-18.
The Huskies, who just completed their seventh undefeated regular season, are looking for a record ninth NCAA title. They will face Saint Joseph’s in a second-round game Tuesday night. The Hawks beat Georgia 67-57 earlier Sunday.
SAINT JOSEPH’S 67, GEORGIA 57
STORRS, Conn. – Erin Shields had 18 points and seven rebounds to lead ninth-seeded Saint Joseph’s to a win over eighth-seed Georgia in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Ashley Robinson added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks, who won in the tournament for the first time in 14 years. Natasha Cloud added 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Erika Ford had 16 points to lead Georgia, which finishes the season at 20-12. Merritt Hempe added 13 points and Krista Donald finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Hawks led most of the way, but Georgia was able to erase a 10-point deficit and led midway through the second half.
The Bulldogs ran out of gas after that, and Saint Joseph’s took control in the final 10 minutes.
JAMES MADISON 72, GONZAGA 63
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Kirby Burkholder had 28 points and 18 rebounds to lead No. 11 seed James Madison to a win over No. 6 seed Gonzaga.
A 3-pointer by Shaniqua Nilles put Gonzaga up by four points before James Madison (29-5) used a 12-0 run to take a 59-51 lead with 3 1/2 minutes left. Burkholder had six points and two steals in that stretch.
Gonzaga didn’t score for almost five minutes as James Madison took the lead.
The Bulldogs cut the lead to six points with 1:39 left, but Burkholder made a pair of free throws to extend the lead and James Madison held on for the win.
Gonzaga (29-5) was led by Sunny Greinacher, who had 17 points and Haiden Palmer added 14.
TEXAS A&M 70, NORTH DAKOTA 55
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Courtney Walker had 19 points and eight rebounds and No. 3 seed Texas A&M used a big run to pull away from tournament newcomer and 14-seed North Dakota and cruise to the win.
The Aggies, who won the national title in 2011, were making their ninth straight appearance in the tournament and North Dakota was one of five women’s teams in the tournament for the first time.
North Dakota didn’t look like a tournament rookie early. The game was tied late in the first half before Texas A&M (25-8) went on a 14-0 run which spanned the first and second halves to go on top 40-26 with 16 1/2 minutes remaining.
Madi Buck led North Dakota (22-10) with 22 points and nine rebounds.