Opening round goes to plan

DOUG FEINBERG AP Basketball Writer Published:

The opening round of the women's NCAA tournament went true to form.

Stars Brittney Griner and Elena Delle Donne shined. The top seeds cruised. There was a thriller or two, just not too many upsets.

Unlike the bracket-busting that happened over the first four days of the men's tournament, the women's field remained stable. The higher seeds went 28-4, including blowout victories by No. 1 seeds Connecticut, Baylor, Notre Dame and Stanford.

"Maybe that's just because the committee seeds well," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. "Maybe they really have a good handle on it."

It's hard to argue with that theory.

Over the past six seasons, only once has a team seeded 13 or lower been victorious in the tournament -- and that came last year when No. 13 Marist upset Georgia. There was the 1998 tournament in which No. 16 Harvard stunned No. 1 seed Stanford 71-67, but the 14s and 15s are a combined 0-152 since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1994.

There is no Florida Gulf Coast, which became the first men's team to reach the regional semifinals Sunday night. The women's talent pool isn't deep enough yet to see that sort of upset happen.

"I watch the men's games and I love it," said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey after her team beat Prairie View A&M by 42 points in its opener. "I don't compare. It's like comparing apples to oranges. The games are different. There's obviously more parity, more guys across the country that can play this game.

"There is more parity in the women's game, but you can't compare it to the men's game. There are so many guys who can flat out play, who can go to schools and can change programs."

Griner certainly has been a program-changer for Baylor. The 6-foot-8 senior, who is the second all-time leading scorer in NCAA history, had the 15th dunk of her career in the Lady Bears' easy victory.

Delaware needed a huge effort from Delle Donne to advance to the second round. The senior scored 33 points and led a second-half surge that carried the Blue Hens past West Virginia 66-53 on Sunday. Playing on their home floor before a sellout crowd, the sixth-seeded Blue Hens trailed 33-26 at halftime before bouncing back to extend their school-record winning streak to 26 games.

There were 4,532 fans in attendance, most of them clad in blue or yellow and cheering for Delaware. Not only were the parking lots jammed, but several people were pleading to purchase tickets from those waiting to enter the arena.

The Blue Hens did not disappoint.

"To win a game like this in front of our home crowd, which was electric, there's no other way to describe it other than I'm just totally thrilled for my players, this program, for the state of Delaware," coach Tina Martin said.

Ever since Delle Donne began playing at Delaware in 2009, interest in the program has soared. It reached its zenith Sunday in what might have been the most important basketball game played in the nation's first state.

"This was actually better than I could have even imagined," Delle Donne said. "Our fans were absolutely crazy. The atmosphere was amazing."

The game of the weekend though was in New York. Seventh-seeded Dayton outlasted St. John's 96-90 in double-overtime -- the first game in the NCAA tournament since 2000 that went that long.

"I'm going to enjoy this win," Dayton coach Jim Jabir said. "I'll be savoring this for a long time. It's one of the most complete games I've been a part of."

While St. John's fell short of pulling off the upset as a 10-seed, two other 10s did win. Creighton beat Syracuse and South Florida topped Texas Tech by one point in a thrilling game that no one saw the end of.

Viewers watching the final few minutes of the game on ESPN missed the end when the network's feed cut out. A fuse blew in the production truck, according to a statement put out by Texas Tech and the network.

Announcer Cara Capuano called the final 30 seconds over the phone. The feed finally came back after the final buzzer sounded, showing South Florida's cheerleaders celebrating the victory.

The only other lower seeds to win were ninth-ranked Iowa, which won on its home floor against Miami, and Kansas. The 12th-ranked Jayhawks won in Colorado. Despite the seeding, the Jayhawks weren't intimidated by the Buffaloes. After all the two schools had played many times when they were both members of the Big 12.

There is hope that the predictability of the tournament could end in the next round. In three of the past four seasons, at least one of the top eight teams hasn't advanced to the round of 16.

BRIDGEPORT REGIONAL

KENTUCKY 61, NAVY 41

NEW YORK -- DeNesha Stallworth scored 18 points and Jennifer O'Neill added nine of her 12 points in the second half to lead Kentucky over Navy.

The Wildcats (28-5) trailed by one at the half before O'Neill, who grew up in New York, took over. She hit a quick 3-pointer to start a 12-2 run. The sophomore guard had seven points, a steal and an assist during the burst.

Kentucky had been off for 14 days since losing in the SEC tournament championship game and looked rusty early on. Two-time SEC player of the year A'dia Mathies didn't have a field goal for the first time in her career.

Alix Membreno and Jade Geif scored nine each to lead Navy (21-12), which was trying to become the first 15 seed to win a game in NCAA tournament history.

Kentucky will play Dayton on Tuesday.

DAYTON 96, ST. JOHN'S 90, 2 OT

NEW YORK -- Andrea Hoover scored a career-high 24 points and Dayton outlasted St. John's.

It was the first double overtime game in the tournament since 2000 when Vanderbilt beat Kansas.

Brittany Wilson hit a 3-pointer and Kelley Austria had a three-point play to make it 90-86 with 2:11 left in the second extra period. After St. John's failed to score, Olivia Applewhite added a basket with 47 seconds left to seal the win.

The Red Storm (18-13) trailed by 13 with 5:30 left in regulation before rallying. Nadirah McKenith hit a layup with one-tenth of a second left in regulation to force OT. Dayton's Amber Deane tied it with 15 seconds left in OT to force a second one

McKenith led her team with 22 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds before fouling out.

NORTH CAROLINA 59, ALBANY 54

NEWARK, Del. -- Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored a career-high 30 points, and North Carolina squeezed past Albany to stagger into the second round of the NCAA tournament.

North Carolina trailed 28-23 at halftime and 48-44 with just under 10 minutes left before rallying behind Ruffin-Pratt, who scored 17 of the Tar Heels' final 21 points -- including two clinching free throws with 10.8 seconds left.

Waltiea Rolle had 14 points and 14 rebounds for North Carolina (29-6), which will next face sixth-seeded Delaware (31-3) on Tuesday night. Delaware advanced with a 66-53 win over West Virginia.

DELAWARE 66, WEST VIRGINIA 53

NEWARK, Del. -- Elena Delle Donne scored 33 points and led a second-half surge that carried Delaware past West Virginia.

Playing on their home floor before a sellout crowd, the Blue Hens trailed 33-26 at halftime before bouncing back to extend their school-record winning streak to 26 games.

Delaware (31-3) had never won an NCAA tournament game before last year. The Blue Hens have yet to reach the round of 16, a milestone they will seek to accomplish Tuesday night against either North Carolina or Albany.

Delle Donne, a 6-foot-5 senior, scored 17 points after halftime. She finished 10 for 24 from the floor, went 12 for 13 at the foul line and had seven rebounds.

Ayana Dunning had 15 points and 10 rebounds for 11th-seeded West Virginia (17-14), which closed the season with a four-game losing streak.

NORFOLK REGIONAL

DUKE 67, HAMPTON 51

DURHAM, N.C. -- Tricia Liston scored 13 of her 20 points in the second half and Duke pulled away to beat Hampton.

Elizabeth Williams added 18 points and Haley Peters finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the second-seeded Blue Devils (31-2).

They watched Hampton trim their 19-point lead to six before recovering with a 23-8 run that gave them their 20th straight NCAA tournament-opening victory.

Keiara Avant had 18 points to lead 15th-seeded Hampton (28-6), and her jumper with just over 10 minutes left capped a furious 27-14 rally that pulled the Pirates to 46-40.

But Duke locked down defensively -- forcing Hampton to miss 12 of its next 15 shots -- and scored on five straight trips to regain some separation and end the Pirates' 19-game winning streak.

The Blue Devils play Oklahoma State on Tuesday night.

No. 7 OKLAHOMA STATE 73, No. 10 DEPAUL 56

DURHAM, N.C. -- Toni Young scored 20 of her 25 points in the first half to help Oklahoma State beat DePaul.

Liz Donohoe added 14 points for the seventh-seeded Cowgirls (22-10), who blew nearly all of a 16-point lead before taking back control with a 13-0 run. Young also grabbed 13 rebounds.

Oklahoma State shot 46 percent to earn its first tournament win in three years, sending the Cowgirls to Tuesday night's second round to face No. 2 seed and site host Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Anna Martin scored 12 points for the 10th-seeded Blue Demons (21-12).

IOWA 69, MIAMI 53

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Samantha Logic had 23 points with 11 rebounds and Iowa beat eighth-seeded Miami to snapping a two-game losing streak in the NCAA tournament.

Melissa Dixon added 13 points in the second half for the Hawkeyes (21-12), which will face top-seeded Notre Dame Tuesday night.

Iowa broke open a stalemate with an 18-3 run to jump ahead 58-44 with 7:07 left. Miami (21-11), which was up by seven early in the second half, shot just 3 of 19 from 3-point range and 30 percent overall.

Morgan Stroman had 15 points and Shawnice Wilson had 15 points and 18 rebounds for the Hurricanes, who committed 24 turnovers.

NOTRE DAME 97, TENNESSEE-MARTIN 64

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Jewell Loyd scored 27 points and top-seeded Notre Dame blew past Tennessee-Martin.

Kayla McBride had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Fighting Irish (32-1), who have won 27 straight heading into Tuesday's second-round matchup with either Iowa or Miami. Natalie Achonwa added 16 points.

Heather Butler scored 23 of her season-high 37 points in the first half to keep UT-Martin (19-15) in the game. But Notre Dame closed the first half on an 11-0 run and jumped ahead 60-33 with 17 minutes left.

Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins finished with just 10 points and six assists. But the Fighting Irish didn't need much from their star in the rout, outrebounding UT-Martin 49-14.

OKLAHOMA CITY REGIONAL

PURDUE 77, LIBERTY 43

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Courtney Moses scored 21 points, hitting 5 of 8 from 3-point range, and Purdue routed Liberty.

The Boilermakers (25-8) improved to 19-1 in the first round with their 16th straight victory to open the tournament.

Liberty (27-7) hadn't played a Big Ten team since 2005 when the Lady Flames beat Penn State for their first NCAA tournament win. Liberty had the nation's best rebounding margin with a 17.5 edge per game, but couldn't beat Purdue on the boards in ending a 14-game winning streak.

Sam Ostarello had 10 points and 17 rebounds for Purdue. KK Houser added 15 points.

Devon Brown led Liberty with 21 points.

LOUISVILLE 74, MIDDLE TENNESSEE 49

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Shoni Schimmel scored 20 points, and fifth-seeded Louisville beat Middle Tennessee for its fifth straight opening NCAA tournament win under coach Jeff Walz.

Louisville (25-8) will play No. 4 seed Purdue, a 77-43 winner over Liberty, on Tuesday night in the second round of the Oklahoma City Regional.

Middle Tennessee (25-8) had won seven in a row. The Blue Raiders have dropped six straight first-round NCAA games.

Monique Reid added 15 points for Louisville. Bria Smith had 10 points and 10 rebounds with six assists, while Jude Schimmel added 11 points.

The Cardinals now are 4-1 all-time against Middle Tennessee, and they jumped on the Blue Raiders from the start.

Kortni Jones led Middle Tennessee with 14 points, and Icelyn Elie added 13. Ebony Rowe had her 21st double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

BAYLOR 82, PRAIRIE VIEW A&M 40

WACO, Texas -- Brittney Griner had 33 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks and another dunk, and defending champion Baylor opened the NCAA tournament with an easy victory.

Griner's record 15th dunk was the first of several plays that drew big roars from the crowd with the game well in hand in the second half. The Lady Bears (33-1), the overall No. 1 seed, won their 31st straight game since an early-season loss to Stanford, another top seed. They'll play Florida State on Tuesday.

Odyssey Sims had 12 points and 10 assists, and Destiny Williams had nine points and 10 rebounds off the bench.

Gabrielle Scott led Prairie View with 14 points off the bench. The Lady Panthers (17-15) lost as a No. 16 seed for the third year in a row. Two of them were against Baylor in Waco, and the other was to Connecticut.

FLORIDA STATE 60, PRINCETON 44

WACO, Texas -- Leonor Rodriguez and Morgan Toles each scored 12 points and Florida State beat Princeton.

The Seminoles won their 10th straight first-round game and denied the Tigers their first NCAA tournament victory.

The eighth-seeded Seminoles (23-9) returned to the NCAAs a year after a seven-season tournament streak ended. Their last first-round loss -- one of just two in school history -- came in 1990.

Niveen Rasheed nine points on 3-of-15 shooting for the Tigers (22-7).

SPOKANE REGIONAL

STANFORD 72, TULSA 56

STANFORD, Calif. -- Chiney Ogwumike had 29 points, eight rebounds and three assists, and top-seeded Stanford pulled away in the second half from the 16th seed.

Amber Orrange added 14 points, six rebounds and three assists for the Cardinal (32-2), who needed more than a half to get rolling while playing at home in Maples Pavilion coming off final exams and a two-week layoff since winning the Pac-12 tournament.

Conference Player of the Year Ogwumike took charge in Stanford's quest for a sixth straight Final Four after her big sister, Nneka, became the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft and the league's rookie of the year with the Los Angeles Sparks.

Up next for Stanford is a second-round date with No. 8 seed Michigan.

MICHIGAN 60, VILLANOVA 52

STANFORD, Calif. -- Kate Thompson hit a key 3-pointer down the stretch and another late jumper to finish with 17 points, and No. 8 seed Michigan overcame a cold-shooting first half to beat ninth-seeded Villanova.

Jenny Ryan added 13 points, three assists and two steals as the Wolverines extended their season for another game by shooting 61.9 percent in the second half.

Michigan second-leading scorer Rachel Sheffer had 16 points and matched her career high with 13 rebounds for her sixth straight game scoring in double figures.

Laura Sweeney scored 16 points and Devon Kane added 12 to lead Villanova (21-11).

LSU 75, GREEN BAY 71

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Danielle Ballard capped a 16-point performance by hitting a key free throw with 4 seconds to go, and LSU held off Green Bay.

Theresa Plaisance also scored 16, Adrienne Webb 15 and Bianca Lutley 13 for sixth-seeded LSU (21-11), which saw an 18-point lead nearly evaporate in the second half, but survived to meet Penn State in the second round Tuesday.

Sarah Eichler scored 22 for No. 11 seed Green Bay (29-3), the Horizon League champion, which had its 24-game winning streak end as it was bounced from the tournament in the first round for the first time since losing to LSU in Baton Rouge in 2009.

Adrian Ritchie added 16 points for the Phoenix but fouled out with 3:05 left.

PENN STATE 85, CAL POLY 65

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Maggie Lucas scored 19 points, Alex Bentley added 18 and third-seeded Penn State overwhelmed NCAA women's tournament newcomer Cal Poly.

While the dynamic Lucas scored from all over the court, Penn State (26-5) also used its size advantage to assert itself inside on both ends.

The 6-foot-2 Mia Nickson, 6-3 Talia East and 6-4 Nikki Greene combined for 32 rebounds, and the Lady Lions outrebounded Cal Poly 52-40 overall.

Penn State outscored the Mustangs 44-28 in the paint.

Nickson finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds, Greene scored 11 points and East grabbed 12 rebounds for Penn State.

Molly Schlemer led Cal Poly (21-11), the 14th seed in the Spokane Region, with 24 points.

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