STORRS, Conn. -- Vanderbilt's Tiffany Clarke poured in 16 points and grabbed 12 boards to pace the Commodores to a 60-54 victory on Saturday Saturday over Saint Joseph's in the opening round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
Guard Jasmine Lister chipped 14 points for eight-seed Vanderbilt, who will now square off against either top seed Connecticut or 16 seed Idaho on Monday night.
#2 UT Advances With 83-62 Win Over ORU
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- No. 2 seed Tennessee won its 51st consecutive home game in the NCAA Tournament with a 83-62 victory over No. 15 seed Oral Roberts on Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Lady Vols (25-7) will take on No. 10 seed Creighton (25-7) in the first-ever meeting between the teams on Monday night at 7 p.m. That game will air on ESPN2, ESPN3 and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.
The Lady Vols are 49-1 all-time in first-round games, with the lone loss coming in 2009 to Ball State. Tennessee -- the only team to play in all 32 tournaments -- remained perfect in home games in the NCAA Tournament dating to the start of the event in 1982 including a 39-0 mark at Thompson-Boling.
Junior guard Meighan Simmons led Tennessee with 18 points. She added five rebounds and three steals. Ariel Massengale netted 13, for her best scoring game in more than a month, and handed out six assists. Cierra Burdick also added 13 to go along with eight rebounds.
SEC Freshman of the Year Bashaara Graves scored in double-figures for the 28th time in 32 games during her rookie campaign with 11 points. She also grabbed seven rebounds. All 10 Lady Vols to play scored.
Oral Roberts, the Southland Conference champion, finished 18-13, after making its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance. All-time leading scorer Kevi Luper (game-high 20 points) finished her career with 2,867 points to stand 14th on the all-time NCAA women's scoring list. Luper was the second active leading scorer behind Brittney Griner of Baylor, who has 3,203 points heading into the NCAA Tournament.
For the Golden Eagles, Savanna Buck and Taylor Cooper also scored in double-figures with 15.
With 10 blocked shots -- all in the first half -- Oral Roberts tied a Thompson-Boling Arena for blocks by a Tennessee opponent in any game. The mark was set by Baylor set in 2011. Six-foot-three-inch center Sarah Shelton swatted six shots, one shy of the TBA record for blocks by a Tennessee opponent. The mark of seven is held by three players, most recently Baylor's Brittany Griner in that game from 2011.
Up 13 at halftime, Tennessee continued to add its lead as the second half unfolded. UT tallied the first 11 points of the half to take a 24-point lead at 55-31. The Golden Eagles missed 13 consecutive shots as the Lady Vols took command. Oral Roberts didn't score for the first 5:34 of the second half until Christian Key canned a 3-pointer.
Freshman Nia Moore, making her NCAA Tournament debut, put home her first postseason points for a 77-51 lead with six minutes remaining.
The Lady Vols finished the game off in style and gave Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick her first postseason win in charge of the Lady Vols.
Tennessee held a 44-31 lead at halftime. Simmons was all over the court in the first half as she scored 14 points, grabbed four rebounds and came away with three steals. All eight Lady Vols who played in the first half scored. UT held a significant advantage in the speciality stats after the first 20 minutes: points off turnovers (15-1), second chance points (11-2), bench points (10-2) and points in the paint (18-11). Oral Roberts was led by Cooper, who had 10 points.
Senior Kamiko Williams connected on a 3-point play with 1:33 left in the first half to give the Lady Vols a 43-28 advantage.
A straight away 3-pointer by Massengale with 4:24 left pushed the Tennessee lead to 36-24.
After Oral Roberts opened the game with a 6-2 lead, Tennessee went on an 11-1 run to take a 13-7 lead on a layup by Simmons with 14:33 left in the first half. A 3-pointer by Taber Spani and layup by Isabelle Harrison extended the surge to 18-4 and put the Lady Vols ahead, 20-10 with 11 minutes left in the first half.
Gamecocks Roar Past Jackrabbits 74-52 in NCAA First Round
BOULER, Colo - No. 17/14 South Carolina found offense early in a 74-52 victory over South Dakota State in NCAA Tournament first-round action at Coors Events Center. The Gamecocks (25-7) shot 60.7 percent from the field in the first half and dominated the defensive glass, allowing the Jackrabbits just three offensive boards on 16 missed shots. Senior Ashley Bruner led the way with 12 points and seven rebounds in the opening 20 minutes of play and finished with her eighth double-double of the season.
Both teams got off to a rocky start after a timing issue slowed down the start. The Gamecocks struggled shooting and with turnovers, but the defense kept things close. South Dakota State led 14-13 with 12:00 to play, but would score just 12 points the rest of the way as South Carolina imposed its will on the game in the second half of the period.
Bruner put the Gamecocks on top with a move on the left block to start a 13-5 run that put the Gamecocks up 26-19 with eight minutes to play. Defensive rebounding limited the Jackrabbits to just one shot per possession, and the resulting transition made for easier offense for South Carolina. Aleighsa Welch hit a jumper in the lane, and Ieasia Walker delivered a transition layup to make it a 19-14 Gamecock advantage.
The Jackrabbits stayed within five until Tiffany Mitchell buried a 3 from the left side off great ball movement with 5:52 to play. After a SDSU drive, Asia Dozier hit another 3 from almost the same spot at Mitchell to make it an 11-point game with 4:47 to play. The basket kicked off a 13-5 run that closed the half, sending the Gamecocks into the locker room with a 44-26 advantage.
The start of the second half was much like the first with the Jackrabbits scoring early, but the Gamecocks did not allow that to go on for long. Welch scored six straight points to turn the tide back in South Carolina’s favor as the lead stretched to 21 at 52-31 with 14:38 left to play. The Jackrabbits hit back-to-back baskets for the first time since early in the first half, but again South Carolina had the answer.
Elem Ibiam opened the 9-0 surge with a pair of free throws, and Walker’s 3 kept it going. After a steal, Dozier went to the line for two free throws. Another strong defensive showing yielded an easy rebound that keyed Ibiam’s move on the left block to cap the run and put the Gamecocks up 61-34 with 11:34 to play. The Jackrabbits scored eight straight as the Gamecocks suffered a spate of turnovers, but head coach Dawn Staley quickly shepherded her starters back into the game to wrest control of the situation, and South Carolina cruised to the victory.
The Gamecocks shot a season-high 76.9 percent from the free throw line, including 12-of-14 in the second half as the Jackrabbits wore down. Seniors Bruner and Walker finished with 15 points in the outing, showing their younger teammates the way. Bruner added a game-high 11 rebounds to go with three assists and four steals in her 28 minutes on the court. Walker finished with four assists and three steals. Ibiam and Mitchell joined in the double-digit scorers with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Texas A&M Cruises Past Wichita State
COLLEGE STATION, Texas --Kristi Bellock scored a career high with 18 points as NCAA Tournament three seed Texas A&M cruised past Wichita State 71-45 in the first round of bracket action on Sunday.
The Aggies, taking the floor in front of their home fans, roared to a big lead at halftime, on the strength of a long run that took the game from in doubt to A&M out in front. Head coach Gary Blair's squad came out of the lockerroom on a 12-2 advantage, opening up the contest in the Aggies favor.
Lady Bulldogs Advance With Win Over Montana
SPOKANE, Wash. --- The Georgia women’s basketball team used a 70-50 win over Big Sky champion Montana Friday night to move on to the second round of the NCAA Championships at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash.
The fourth-seeded Lady Bulldogs (26-6) got 16 points from senior Jasmine Hassell, while classmate Jasmine James added 11 points and four assists. Freshman Shacobia Barbee had 13 points to go along with seven rebounds. Montana (24-8) was led by Torry Hill’s 11 points, which include 3-for-8 shooting from three-point range.
“The idea was to come out and really put a lot of pressure on them,” said head coach Andy Landers, who tonight won his 53rd NCAA Tournament game in 30 trips. “We made passing and catching extremely difficult and eventually were able to break them down after they made things close. I thought Jasmine Hassell was terrific, but I thought a lot of people were terrific. We got a lot of productivity off the bench. This was a great team win.”
The Lady Bulldogs started the game on a 15-4 run over the first six minutes, a stretch that included nine points from the rookie Barbee. After Georgia had built an 11-point lead at 28-17 with 2:27 remaining before halftime, Montana used a pair of threes from Hill to cut the Lady Griz deficit to seven, 32-25, at the intermission.
Montana quickly continued cutting into the Lady Bulldog advantage after the break, and pulled to within just two, at 33-31, with less than three minutes gone by in the second frame. It was again a two-point game, this time at 38-36 in Georgia’s favor with 15:54 on the clock, before the Lady Bulldogs embarked on a 26-11 run over the next 10 minutes to pull away. The streak was capped by a long-ranger for James that made it 59-42 with 5:55 remaining.
The Lady Dogs took their largest lead of the game to that point at 18, 61-43, on a Hassell lay-up, before going up by 20 for the first time at 65-45 when Barbee grabbed a steal and converted on the lay-up with 2:53 to play. A three from senior Danielle Bennett gave Georgia a 22-point lead at 70-48 with under a minute to go, and the Lady Bulldogs ultimately came away with the 70-50 decision to punch their ticket to Monday’s second round match-up.
Georgia’s bench finished the day with 19 points, including an eight-point output from sophomore Erika Ford in 16 minutes of action.