UConn women rout Idaho by 68 in opener
By PAT EATON-ROBB
STORRS, Conn. — Connecticut has its swagger back.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis led six UConn players in double figures, and the top-seeded Huskies routed Idaho 105-37 on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The win follows two losses to Notre Dame this month that left the Huskies without Big East regular-season or tournament titles for the first time in 20 years.
“I wanted them to understand that this was the beginning of our third season,” coach Geno Auriemma said. “Let’s put everything behind us. And I think we did.”
Mosqueda-Lewis finished with 22 points, all in the first half. Morgan Tuck had 18, Moriah Jefferson chipped in 16, and Kiah Stokes scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. The Huskies (30-4) advanced to the second round for the 20th straight time in their 25th consecutive tournament appearance.
“Today was perfect for getting our legs back, our momentum, our confidence,” said center Stefanie Dolson, who had 10 points. “Having everyone be a part of it was definitely a good start.”
The Huskies will play eighth-seeded Vanderbilt on Monday. The Commodores beat Saint Joseph’s 60-54 earlier Saturday.
Stacey Barr had 14 points for Idaho (17-16), which was playing its second NCAA tournament game ever after upsetting Seattle for the Western Athletic Conference title.
“You think about coming in and playing UConn, then seeing them up close and in person, we certainly got the full show,” Idaho coach Jon Newlee said.
UConn led by as many as 74 in the second half before Idaho made five 3-pointers in the last 4 minutes, four by Barr.
That kept the Huskies from setting a record for biggest margin of victory in an NCAA tournament game. That belongs to Tennessee which beat North Carolina A&T by 74 points in 1994.
UConn had first-round wins of 71 points over Hampton in 2000 and 72 against Long Island in 2001.
“It’s kind of nice not to be put in the record book for something like that,” Barr said.
Connecticut put this one away early, opening the game with a 22-3 run and holding Idaho without a basket for more than 5 minutes.
The Huskies led 58-17 at the break, and it didn’t get better for the Vandals after halftime. UConn stretched the lead to 69-17 on a 3-pointer by Kelly Faris. Kiah Stokes’ jumper with more than 12 minutes to go, made it 78-18. The Vandals scored their first point of the second half on a free throw with 12:31 left.
A basket by little used Heather Buck pushed the lead past 70 at 93-22.
Connecticut shot 61 percent from the floor, while holding Idaho to 14 baskets on 53 attempts (26 percent).
UConn outrebounded Idaho 45-23, and outscored the Vandals in the paint 46-8.
“Our whole team had a lot of energy from start to finish,” Mosqueda-Lewis said.
UConn played the game without one of its key post players. Freshman Breanna Stewart injured her left calf in practice on Friday, and sat out as a precaution. She is expected to be ready to play on Monday.
The Huskies are trying for a record sixth consecutive trip to the Final Four and an eighth national championship. They have won 30 games for an NCAA record eighth straight season.
The 30th win came on Auriemma’s 59th birthday. The Huskies are 8-1 when playing on that day, the lone loss coming to North Carolina State in the 1998 regional final.
UConn is a top seed for the seventh straight year. The Huskies are 21-2 in first-round games, which doesn’t include the two seasons they received first-round byes.
They came in having won their last six first-round games by an average of 41 points.
The win was the 86th for the Huskies in the NCAA tournament, second only to Tennessee’s 112.
Idaho also lost in the first round in 1985, 74-51 to Cheryl Miller and Southern California.
This year’s team lost nine of its first 20 games this season, but finished strong, winning 14 of the final 20 and sweeping through the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
No. 8 VANDERBILT 60, No. 9 SAINT JOSEPH’S 54
STORRS, Conn. — Tiffany Clarke had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead Vanderbilt over Saint Joseph’s in the first round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.
Chatilla van Grinsven scored 14 points, all in the second half, for Saint Joseph’s (20-12). Natasha Clound and Ilze Gotfrida each chipped in 10.
Vanderbilt (23-8) led most of the way and was up 40-30 after Lister’s 3-pointer with 15:54 to play.
Saint Joseph’s would not go away, tying it at 48 on a layup by Van Grinsven with 6:48 to go. She had six points in the 8-0 run that closed the gap.
But Heather Bowe’s driving layup gave the Commodores the lead back, and Vanderbilt held it down the stretch.
No. 4 MARYLAND 72, No. 13 Quinnipiac 52
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Alyssa Thomas had 29 points and 13 rebounds, and Maryland spoiled Quinnipiac’s debut in the NCAA women’s tournament.
The Terrapins (25-7) trailed by nine in the first half, moved in front 27-23 at the break and dominated the second half against the smaller Bobcats, who couldn’t stop Thomas’ repeated forays into the lane.
Tianna Hawkins had 23 points and 16 rebounds for Maryland, which will next face the winner of the Marist-Michigan State game, held later Saturday.
Felicia Barron scored 13 for Quinnipiac (30-3), the Northeast Conference champions. The Bobcats had won 22 straight since a 74-57 defeat against Georgia Tech on Dec. 29.
No. 5 MICHIGAN STATE 55, No. 12 MARIST 47
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Kiana Johnson scored 16 points, Annalise Pickrel added 14 and Michigan State halted Marist’s string of first-round NCAA upsets.
Jasmine Thomas added 10 points for the Spartans (25-8). Michigan State advanced to the second round for the eighth time in nine NCAA appearances, a streak interrupted by a loss to Louisville on the same College Park floor a year ago.
Casey Dulin scored 13 points for the Red Foxes (26-7). Marist has made a name for itself by pulling first-round upsets as double-digit seeds, advancing to the second round as a No. 13 seed a year ago and as a No. 10 in 2011.
OKLAHOMA CITY REGIONAL
No. 2 TENNESSEE 83, No. 15 ORAL ROBERTS 62
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.— Meighan Simmons scored 18 points, and the Tennessee Lady Vols defeated Oral Roberts in their first NCAA tournament game of the post-Pat Summitt era.
Tennessee advanced to a second-round game against No. 10 seed Creighton (25-7).
The Lady Vols (25-7) got points from all 11 players and improved to 51-0 in NCAA tournament games on their home floor.
Tennessee is 49-1 in first-round and second-round games. The Lady Vols have played in every NCAA tournament since the event started in 1982 and have lost in the first two rounds just once, falling to Ball State in a 2009 opening-round game.
All of those wins came under Summitt, who stepped down last April after leading Tennessee to eight national titles and 18 Final Fours in 38 seasons.
No. 10 CREIGHTON 61, No. 7 SYRACUSE 56
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — McKenzie Fujan scored a career-high 24 points as Creighton held off a late Syracuse rally to beat the Orange and earn their first NCAA tournament victory since 1994.
After trailing by 10 points with less than five minutes remaining, Syracuse had a chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer in the final seconds, but Elashier Hall’s shot hit the right side of the rim. Creighton’s Sarah Nelson added two free throws with three-tenths of a second left.
Kayla Alexander, the leading scorer in Syracuse history, had 23 points and eight rebounds for the Orange (24-8). Carmen Tyson-Thomas added 13 points for Syracuse, which was seeking its first NCAA tournament victory ever.
Fujan shot 6 of 10 from 3-point range for Creighton (25-7) and had 17 points by halftime. Nelson added 17 points.
No. 3 UCLA 66, No. 14 STETSON 49
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nirra Fields led UCLA’s balanced offense with 13 points and the Bruins rolled to a win over Stetson.
The Bruins took an 11-0 lead and were never threatened by the Hatters.
Jasmine Dixon added 10 points and 10 rebounds and Atonye Nyingifa had 10 points and eight rebounds for the spread-the-wealth Bruins (26-7).
Victoria McGowan had 14 points and 14 rebounds for Stetson (24-9), with Sasha Sims adding 13 points
No. 6 OKLAHOMA 78, No. 11 CENTRAL MICHIGAN 73
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Joanna McFarland had 18 points and a career-high 17 rebounds and Aaryn Ellenberg scored 18 of her 22 points in the second half to lead Oklahoma to a victory over Central Michigan.
Despite 24 turnovers, the Sooners had just enough to hold off the Chippewas (21-12), who were making their third trip to the NCAA and first since 1984. Crystal Bradford had a sensational game for CMU with a career-high 36 points (on 14 of 31 shooting from the field) with 14 rebounds and seven steals.
Ellenberg, who held Oklahoma’s season (103) and career (272) records for 3-pointers made, hit 4 of 5 in the second half to rally her team, which was struggling to hold onto the lead. None was bigger than her shot behind the arc with 3:11 left and late in the shot clock to extend the lead to 71-60.
No. 3 TEXAS A&M 71, WICHITA STATE 45
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Kristi Bellock tied a career high with 18 points and Texas A&M routed Wichita State.
Playing in front of a hometown crowd, the Aggies used a big run at the end of the first half to erase a one-point deficit and take a 13-point lead into halftime. A 12-2 spurt early in the second half extended the lead to 52-29, and Texas A&M cruised to the victory.
Texas A&M (25-9), which won the national championship in 2011, is in the tournament for the eighth consecutive season. It was the first trip for Wichita State (24-10).
Michelle Price scored 12 points for Wichita State.
The Aggies will play Nebraska Monday night.
NEBRASKA 73, CHATTANOOGA 59
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Jordan Hooper made four 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 21 points, helping Nebraska rally from nine points down to beat Chattanooga.
Hooper also grabbed 12 rebounds and Lindsey Moore added 13 points for sixth-seeded Nebraska (25-9), which won for the 12th time in 14 games.
Taylor Hall scored 13 and Alex Black added 12 to lead the 11th-seeded Lady Mocs (29-4), who had won 19 in a row.
No. 4 SOUTH CAROLINA 74, No. 13 SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 52
BOULDER, Colo. — Ashley Brunner had 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead South Carolina to a victory over South Dakota State.
The Gamecocks (25-7), who won a school-record 11 Southeastern Conference games this season, used their superior athleticism and stout defense to make quick work of the 13th-seeded Jackrabbits (25-8), the Summit League regular season and tournament champs.
Guard Ieasia Walker, the SEC defensive player of the year, finished with 15 points. She also helped hold South Dakota State to 33 percent shooting in the first half as the Gamecocks raced to a 44-26 halftime lead on the strength of 61 percent shooting and 10 forced turnovers.
South Carolina will play Kansas on Monday.
KANSAS 67, COLORADO 52
BOULDER, Colo. — Angel Goodrich and Carolyn Davis each scored 14 points and 12th-seeded Kansas upset No. 5 seed Colorado on the Buffaloes’ home floor.
Kansas (19-13) used a 15-0 spurt spanning halftime to take control and advance to face fourth-seeded South Carolina on Monday at the Coors Events Center.
The Buffaloes (25-7) saw their first trip to the NCAA tournament in nine years come to an unexpected end.
The Buffs, ranked 19th, were favored, but they missed Rachel Hargis’ presence in the post. The junior center sprained her right knee in practice a week ago and didn’t play, robbing Colorado of an inside player to counter Kansas’ size down low.
They also missed plenty of shots — Arielle Roberson and Chucky Jeffery, their two leading scorers, combined to shoot just 5-for-29 from the floor. Roberson finished with 11 points and Jeffery eight. Brittany Wilson also had 11 for the Buffs.
Chelsea Gardner and Charlicia Harper each scored 12 for the Jayhawks and Monica Engelman added 10 points.
No. 2 CALIFORNIA 90, FRESNO STATE 76
LUBBOCK, Texas — Brittany Boyd scored 21 points and added a career-high 13 rebounds to lead California over Fresno State.
Layshia Clarendon added 19 points and Gennifer Brandon had 17 points and 12 rebounds for California (29-3).
The Golden Bears fell behind early against the 15th-seeded Bulldogs, but found their footing midway through the first half to advance to play the winner of Texas Tech and South Florida.
Ki-Ki Moore scored a career-high 33 points on 12-of-28 shooting and Rosie Moult added 15 to lead Fresno State (24-9).
The Bulldogs kept it close with their 3-point shooting, making 12 of 29 from beyond the arc. Moult hit 4 of 11 and Taylor Thompson hit 3 of 6 from 3-point range.
California outrebounded the Bulldogs 51-28, and will play South Florida on Monday night.
SOUTH FLORIDA 71, TEXAS TECH 70
LUBBOCK, Texas — Inga Orekhova scored 20 points, including five 3s, to lead No. 10 South Florida past host Texas Tech.
Andrell Smith added 13 points in the win over the seventh-seeded Lady Raiders.
Texas Tech led most of the way, but three straight field goals by Smith with about 13 minutes left gave South Florida a 46-44 lead.
Christine Hyde hit back-to-back baskets to tie it at 59 and Orekhova hit her final 3 to tie it at 66 with 1:09 left.
Smith hit two free throws, Tiffany Conner added one and Alisia Jenkins hit two with four seconds left to make it 71-67 and seal the win for the Bulls (22-10).
Hyde scored 20 points and Chynna Brown added 17 to lead Texas Tech (21-11).
No. 5 IOWA STATE 72, No. 12 GONZAGA 60
SPOKANE, Wash. — Chelsea Poppens scored 19 points, Hallie Christofferson scored 11 of her 18 in the second half, and Iowa State ended Gonzaga’s dominance at home in the NCAA women’s tournament.
Gonzaga went 4-0 the past two seasons playing on its home floor at the McCarthey Athletic Center during the NCAAs in reaching the round of 16. Iowa State (24-8) finally solved beating Gonzaga at home thanks to dynamic shooting from behind the 3-point line and an awful shooting performance by the Bulldogs.
Brynn Williamson hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points for the Cyclones, who will play Georgia on Monday.
Taelor Karr led Gonzaga (27-6) with 15 points, but the Bulldogs shot just 32 percent.
GEORGIA 70, MONTANA 50
SPOKANE, Wash. — Jasmine Hassell scored 16 points, Shacobia Barbee added 13, and fourth-seeded Georgia used a big run midway through the second half to pull away from Montana.
Jasmine James added 11 points for the Lady Bulldogs (26-6).
Georgia led 38-36 with 15 minutes remaining before going on a 21-6 run to grab control and earn a bit of redemption after being upset by Marist in the first round a year ago.
Torry Hill led 13th-seeded Montana (24-8) with 11 points. But on a night the Lady Griz needed to hit all their open looks, they shot just 29 percent and committed 20 turnovers
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