Monday, September 26, 2022

UConn begins quest for 12th title, overwhelms Mercer 83-38

STORRS, Conn. ( Associated Press) — Paige Bueckers started and scored 12 points as UConn began its run toward a 12th NCAA Tournament title with an 83-38 first-round rout of No. 15 seed Mercer.

Last season’s national player of the year played 25 minutes, the most in six games since coming back from a left knee injury that kept her out for more than two months. She also had five assists and four rebounds.

Christyn Williams had 13 points to lead the Huskies (26-5), who opened the tournament with a win for the 28th straight year. Dorka Juhasz added 10 points and nine rebounds.

Shannon Titus had 12 points to lead Mercer (23-7), which was making its fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Southern Conference champion Bears have never won an NCAA Tournament game.

The Huskies held Mercer to just 13 baskets on 56 shots (23%).

Mercer played much of the game without leading scorer Amoria Neal-Tysor (17 points per game), who went down hard on her left elbow while driving to the basket in the second quarter and had to be helped to the locker room. She finished with four points and came out for the second half with her arm in a sling.

BRIDGEPORT REGION

NORTH CAROLINA STATE 96, LONGWOOD 68

RALEIGH, NC ( Associated Press) — Raina Perez scored 16 points to lead five North Carolina State players in double digits as the No. 1 Wolfpack pulled away from No. 16 Longwood.

Perez made seven of her eight shots for NC State, which won a program-record 30th game this season. Jakia Brown-Turner had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Elissa Cunane tallied 13 points and seven boards. Diamond Johnson and Jada Boyd added 12 points apiece.

Longwood (22-12) got 25 points from Akila Smith and 19 from Kyla McMakin.

UCF 69, FLORIDA 52

STORRS, Conn. ( Associated Press) — Brittney Smith came off the bench to score a career-high 26 points and No. 7 seed UCF beat in-state rival Florida for the first time after 26 consecutive losses.

Diamond Battles added 18 points and Masseny Kaba had 14 for the Knights (26-3).

Nina Rickards had 17 points and Zippy Broughton added 12 for injury-riddled Florida (21-11), which played the second half without center Faith Dut. She went down just before halftime with a right leg injury.

KANSAS STATE 50, WASHINGTON STATE 40

RALEIGH, NC ( Associated Press) — Ayoka Lee had 20 points and 15 rebounds as No. 9 Kansas State overcame a frustrating defensive scheme to outlast No. 8 Washington State

Lee, a second-team Associated Press All-America selection, made just one shot from the floor in the first half but rallied in the second to lead the Wildcats (20-11) to their first tournament victory since 2017. Brylee Glenn added 14 points for Kansas State.

Washington State (19-11) was powered by Charlisse Leger-Walker’s 20 points on offense. Ula Motuga grabbed 14 rebounds and scored five points.

The Wildcats didn’t allow the Cougars to make a field goal in the final five minutes of the game.

INDIANA 85, CHARLOTTE 51

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. ( Associated Press) — Mackenzie Holmes scored 19 points to lead Indiana past Charlotte on the Hoosiers’ home court.

Serving as hosts for the first time in the women’s tournament, the third-seeded Hoosiers (23-8) used a 22-2 run across a nearly six-minute, first-half stretch to blow the game open.

The 6-foot-3 junior forward and second-team All-Big Ten selection made 9 of 15 shots to help IU shoot 54.7%. She also grabbed eight rebounds. Grace Berger added 18 points.

Octavia Jett-Wilson’s 19 points led the 49ers (22-9), who shot 37%.

PRINCETON 69, KENTUCKY 62

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. ( Associated Press) — Abby Meyers had career-high 29 points to lead No. 11-seed Princeton to its second-ever NCAA Tournament win, beating sixth-seeded Kentucky.

Kaitlyn Chen added 17 points for the Tigers (25-4), who have won 18 straight and never trailed after the first quarter.

Three-time All-American Rhyne had 17 points to lead the Wildcats (19-12), who entered the tournament winners of 10 straight, the last three against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.

Dre’una Edwards added 16 points and 12 rebounds, but the redshirt junior made just 6 of 15 shots as Kentucky shot just 35.7%

WICHITA REGION

VILLANOVA 61, BYU 57

ANN ARBOR, Mich. ( Associated Press) — Maddy Siegrist scored 25 points as 11th-seeded Villanova rallied to beat No. 6 seed BYU.

Kaitlyn Oriehl added 10 points and Lucy Olsen had nine for the Wildcats, who finished second in the Big East.

Paisley Harding scored 21 points for BYU with Teagan Graham adding 11. Shaylee Gonzales was held to eight points, missing 11 of her 14 shots.

TENNESSEE 80, BUFFALO 67

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ( Associated Press) — Alexus Dye scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as fourth-seeded Tennessee held off No. 13 seed Buffalo to remain perfect in the NCAA Tournament on their own floor.

Tennessee (24-8) improved to 24-0 in the first round at home

Senior Rae Burrell scored 15 points after halftime, including nine in the third quarter helping Tennessee to a 57-51 lead going into the final quarter. The Lady Vols sealed the victory, outscoring Buffalo 12-3 to open the fourth.

Tamari Key finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Burrell finished with 19 points.

Bulls junior guard Dyaisha Fair, the nation’s fourth-leading scorer, topped her scoring average with 25 points.

MICHIGAN 74, AMERICAN 39

ANN ARBOR, Mich. ( Associated Press) — Naz Hillmon had 24 points and 11 rebounds to help third-seeded Michigan beat No. 14 seed American.

Emily Kiser added 13 points and Leigha Brown had 11 for the Wolverines, who will face No. 11 seed Villanova on Monday in the second round.

American led 8-4 early before Hillmon and the Wolverines got going. Michigan scored 48 of its 74 points in the paint with Hillmon anchoring the interior offense. The Wolverines took the lead with just under two minutes left in the first quarter and never relinquished it, leading by as many as 39.

Lauren Stack finished with 10 points for Patriot League champion American.

SPOKANE REGION

OHIO STATE 63, MISSOURI STATE 56

BATON ROUGE, La. ( Associated Press) — Jacy Sheldon had 25 points and five steals, and No. 6 seed Ohio State overcame an early double-digit deficit to beat 11th seed Missouri State.

Sheldon also made 10 of 12 free throws for the Buckeyes (24-6), who didn’t take the lead for good until Taylor Mikesell made a 3-pointer from the left corner to make it 54-52 with 3:10 left.

Missouri State (25-8) got as close as 58-56 with 41 seconds left on a Brice Calip putback. But Sheldon responded with a layup and two free throws to help seal the victory for the Buckeyes.

Mikesell finished with 14 points for Ohio State.

Brice Calip scored 15 points, Ifunanya Nwachukwu grabbed 17 rebounds and Abigayle Jackson scored 11 points for Missouri State.

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More Associated Press coverage of March Madness: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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Nation World News Desk
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