Florida Falls to Top-Seeded Baylor, 76-57
|women's BASkEtBALL RESULTS
|Baylor 76, Florida 57
|Duke 96, Vanderbilt 80
|Penn State 90, LSU 80
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (AP) -- It had been over a year since Brittney Griner dunked in a game.
She finally did it again -- this time in the NCAA tournament.
Griner became the second woman to dunk in an NCAA tournament game Tuesday night, slamming one down with her right hand early in the second half of top-seeded Baylor's 76-57 win over ninth-seeded Florida.
The 6-foot-8 junior phenom went nearly 12 minutes without scoring at the beginning of the game, but finished with 25 points, including the night's biggest highlight.
Odyssey Sims added 14 points for Baylor (36-0). Azania Stewart led Florida (20-13) with 14.
Candace Parker of Tennessee dunked twice in an NCAA tournament game in 2006 against Army. Griner's dunk was her first of the season and sixth of her career. Parker holds the career record with seven.
Baylor led 35-26 at halftime, but Griner was only beginning to assert herself. She scored eight points in the first half, including six in the final 3:56.
Griner began the second half with a turnaround and a layup. Then Kimetria Hayden came up with an offensive rebound near the basket and passed to an open Griner. The Baylor junior stepped toward the basket, stretched out her right arm and dunked for the first time since Feb. 19, 2011, at Texas Tech.
The Lady Bears led 41-28, and although Florida didn't crumble, the Gators were never really able to make a game of it down the stretch.
Baylor hasn't lost since falling in the quarterfinals of last year's NCAA tournament. The Lady Bears will face fourth-seeded Georgia Tech in the round of 16 on Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.
Griner began this tournament quietly, playing only 22 minutes in Baylor's first-round rout of UC Santa Barbara. She delighted the crowd Tuesday with her dunking display in warmups, at one point throwing down a two-handed effort and pulling herself up toward the rim.
When the game started, Griner was called for an early charging foul when she tried to dribble coast to coast following a defensive rebound. She didn't attempt a shot until about midway through the half and didn't score until a layup with 8:18 remaining.
The Gators used a zone defense to deny Griner the ball inside, and although Baylor led 26-11 at one point, Florida answered with a 9-0 run.
Griner then scored six quick points for the Lady Bears -- two free throws, a putback and a shot from out near the free throw line. The Gators kept answering for the rest of the half, but that stretch was a sign of things to come for Griner.
Griner went 8 of 14 from the field with nine rebounds and six blocks.
Florida beat Ohio State in the first round, defiantly holding off the Buckeyes in front of a partisan crown in northwest Ohio. They didn't back down from Baylor either. At one point in the second half, Deana Allen lost her left shoe while going to the basket. She hustled back and played an entire defensive possession without it.
Vanderbilt Falls to Duke, 96-80
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Losing in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament seems to have lit a fire under the Duke Blue Devils.
Haley Peters' career-high 25 points led five Blue Devils in double figures, and Duke turned in its best shooting performance of the season Tuesday night in routing Vanderbilt 96-80 to advance to the Fresno Regional semifinal.
The second-seeded Blue Devils (26-5) trailed only once before a display that included nine straight made baskets in the first half. Duke advanced to its 14th regional semifinal in 15 seasons.
Tricia Liston had 23 points for Duke. Elizabeth Williams had 13, and Chelsea Gray and Shay Selby each had 10.
Not even Memorial Gym, the Southeastern Conference's oldest gym with no air conditioning, gave seventh-seeded Vanderbilt (23-10) any help on a night the temperature reached 90 by halftime.
The only thing hotter was Duke's shooting.
Christina Foggie had 26 points for Vanderbilt. Jasmine Lister had 16, Stephanie Holzer scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Elan Brown 13.
Duke got beat badly as the No. 1 seed in 2009 when the Blue Devils had to play an early NCAA tournament game on the road at Michigan State in the second round. This team is coming off an opening loss at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, a defeat that snapped a 17-game winning streak in that event.
Vanderbilt was 14-1 here at Memorial Gym in the NCAA tournament with the lone loss coming the last time the Commodores hosted in 2006 to then No. 1 seed North Carolina. This time, the Commodores were trying to reach the regional semifinals for the first time since 2009, and they had the SEC's top scorer in Foggie in addition to the nation's sixth-best shooting team in the nation, averaging 46.4 percent.
The Blue Devils routed Samford by 35 in the first round. They didn't reach that against Vanderbilt, the 19th-winningest program in NCAA history making its 25th appearance in this tournament.
It just felt that bad as the Duke band chanted "Overrated" in the final minutes.
Duke is the nation's fourth-best shooting team, averaging 47.1 percent. The Blue Devils finished with a season-high 65.6 percent (42 of 64) and also outrebounded Vanderbilt 30-29 despite few misses. They also had 11 steals in forcing Vanderbilt into 18 turnovers that Duke turned into a 28-14 scoring advantage.
With their size, the Blue Devils also dominated in the paint 46-30 with so many easy layups and short jumpers.
The Commodores' lone lead came at 14-13 on a 3-pointer by Foggie with 14:49 left in the first half, and Gray answered back with a 3 to put Duke ahead to stay.
Peters hit seven of her first eight shots in scoring 15 of Duke's first 27 points. Once Liston scored on a layup, the Blue Devils connected on 13 of 17 shots. They came out of a timeout with Gray hitting a jumper for the ninth straight good basket. Gray's bucket made it 31-20 with 9:48 left, and Duke led by as much as 26 on back-to-back 3s by Gray and Liston late in the half. Only a pair of 3s by Brown trimmed the lead to 56-32 by halftime.
Vanderbilt got within 65-46 on a 3 by Foggie with 13:26 left. Peters scored, and Vanderbilt only managed to whittle down the score in the final three minutes as Duke coasted to the win.
LSU Loses to Penn State, 90-80
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Maggie Lucas's sizzling start and composed free throw shooting down the stretch provided the latest example of why Penn State has performed so well in its opponents' arenas all season long.
Lucas scored 30 points and fourth-seeded Penn State moved on to the third round of the women's NCAA tournament with a 90-80 victory over No. 5 seed LSU on Tuesday night.
Ariel Edwards scored 15 points and Mia Nickson had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Lions (26-6), who will play Connecticut in Kingston, R.I., on Sunday in the regional semifinals. That game will be the first third-round appearance for fifth-year Penn State coach Coquese Washington.
LaSondra Barrett had 18 points and 12 rebounds for LSU (23-11), while Krystal Forthan added 15 points and Bianca Lutley 14 points and 10 rebounds. Barrett's nine made free throws made her LSU's all-time leader with 497, surpassing Sylvia Fowles' 494.
Lucas was 7 of 12 shooting, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range. The Lady Lions' leading scorer also hit all 11 of her free throws, including eight in the final 1:10 of the game to ensure there would be no miracle comebacks for the Lady Tigers.
The game was close most of the way and included 10 ties.
LSU took its largest lead, 50-44, early in the second half, when Barrett scored four points during a 9-2 run that concluded with Theresa Plaisance's 3.
Penn State, which was 10-3 on the road this season, seized momentum right back with a six straight points, tying it at 50 on Nickson's free throws. The teams then stayed within a basket of each other until Edwards' floater and Nikki Greene's short jump hook put Penn State ahead 67-61 with 5:25 to go.
LSU briefly got as close as 67-65 on Jones' inside basket, but Nickson scored inside, then Edwards and Bentley each made free throws to push Penn State's lead to eight. LSU was able to get as close as three points twice after that, the last time on Barrett's three-point play that made it 76-73, but Zhaque Gray hit a layup soon after and Penn State started hitting free throws to close it out.
Gray and Alex Bentley each scored 10 for Penn State, which shot 44.6 percent (29 of 65). Adrienne Webb scored 11 and Plaisance 10 for the Lady Tigers, who shot 37 percent (27 of 73) and were hurt by 18 turnovers.
The virtual LSU home-game opened with a boisterous crowd overwhelmingly dressed in purple and gold on its feet in anticipation of the Lady Tigers' first basket. They remained standing for nearly three minutes while LSU had missed three shots and turned the ball over on its first four possessions.
Penn State raced to a 9-0 lead, beginning with Lucas' 3 from the corner. Nickson followed with a pair of free throws and a tough inside bank-shot over Courtney Jones, then Lucas hit a floater in the lane, after which LSU coach Nikki Caldwell called timeout.
LSU finally scored on Jeanne Kenney's runner, then quickly turned a defensive stop into transition free throws by Jones.
Penn State led 14-7 after Lucas' second 3, but Forthan responded with a 3 of her own that ignited an 11-2 run. The spurt was capped by Lutley's spin move and layup, giving LSU its first lead at 15-14.
Neither team was able to build much of a gap for the rest of the half.
Lucas wound up draining five of her six 3-point attempts during the opening 20 minutes, and she had 19 points before halftime. But while Lucas started 6 of 8 shooting, the rest of her team started 6 of 23. The Lady Tigers had an 18-5 advantage in bench scoring during the first half and hit 11 of their first 12 free throws, the last of which by Webb put LSU ahead 37-36 at halftime.