BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – No. 2 seed Kentucky faced off with No. 6 seed Delaware in the NCAA Tournament round of 16 on Saturday, and the Wildcats (30-5) punched their ticket to the Elite Eight with a 69-62 triumph. A’dia Mathies led the way to UK with a double-double effort of 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Kentucky led for the final 33 minutes of the game despite a spectacular effort from Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne, who poured in a game-high 33 points to go along with nine rebounds and three assists. Even with Donne’s strong performance, Kentucky still managed to limit the Blue Hens (32-4) to just 39 percent shooting as a team, including a pedestrian 16 percent clip from 3-point range.
Jennifer O’Neill did her part for the Wildcats on the offensive end, tallying a team-best 19 points on six-of-14 shooting in the victory. O’Neill also added four assists on the afternoon. Samarie Walker and Kastine Evans added eight points apiece for the Cats, and Walker hauled in a team-high 11 rebounds to boot.
Kentucky lost the battle on the boards, but 18 takeaways helped alleviate that deficit. The Wildcats limited Delawate to just eight assists on the offensive end, leading by as many as 16 points throughout the game.
Trumae Lucas scored 11 points to go along with three assists in the losing effort for the Blue Hens, while Lauren Carra notched 10 points and nine boards.
Moss Propels Gators Past James Madison
HARRISONBURG, Va. - Sydney Moss dropped 27 points on Saturday afternoon and the Florida Gators downed James Madison in the quarterfinal of the Women’s National Invite Tournament, 85-80. Florida (22-14) shot 45 percent from the field in the victory, including a 47 percent clip from beyond 3-point range.
The Gators took a three-point advantage over the Dukes (25-11) into halftime and proceeded to use a 44-point second half to seal the deal and advance to the semifinal. Moss knocked down 11 of her 20 field goals on the afternoon, and she also hauled in nine rebounds and dished out four assists in addition to her game-high scoring total.
Jeterra Bonds poured in 20 points of her own for UF, shooting 50 percent from the field in the process and adding five dimes and four boards. Christin Mercer tacked on 11 points and six rebounds of her own, and the Gators forced 14 turnovers on the defensive end.
Tarik Hislop dropped 26 for the Dukes in the losing effort, connecting on 10-of-19 shots while dishing six assists. Kirby Burkholder did her part as well for JMU, scoring 17 and snagging eight rebounds, while Precious Hall scored 10 points as well.
Neither team was able to pull too far ahead at any juncture, as Florida’s largest lead of the afternoon was seven and James Madison only managed to build a four-point advantage throughout.
Drexel Ends Auburn's Season
AUBURN -- Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said that just about everything that could go wrong did Saturday night in a 56-43 WNIT loss to Drexel on Saturday night.
"We're a much better team than we showed," Williams-Flournoy said.
But the play of the Tigers at the end of the season, save for a bad first half Saturday, painted a brighter future for Williams-Flournoy.
Auburn, 13-17 last season, finished 19-15 and won three WNIT games in Williams-Flournoy's first season. The Tigers return three starters for a second season of her defensive-first game plan.
Saturday, it was the offense that let the Tigers down. Auburn shot an icy14.3 percent from the field and 20 percent from the free throw line in the first half on the way to a 30-12 halftime deficit.
Neither team put on much of a shooting exhibition. There were 81 missed shots in the game.
Drexel led 13-11 with 11:13 to play in the first half. Then it was 20-11. And 22-11.
"When we kept looking the clock and we were stuck at 11," said Williams-Flournoy.
Auburn made a free throw somewhere along the way, but the fact remained it didn't hit a field goal the final 11 minutes of the first half. The Dragons led 30-12 at the half.
Drexel improved to 26-10 and will play Florida in a WNIT Final Four game next week.
Auburn woke up a bit, scored the first six points of the second half, but it hardly mattered.
"I think going in we were ready. We showed some fight in the second half, but it was too little, too late," said forward Blanche Alverson.
Alverson finished her Auburn career with 15 more points and five more rebounds. She ranks in the Top 30 in the school record book in scoring, rebounding and assists.
NO. 2 SEED CALIFORNIA ENDS LSU’S NCAA TOURNAMENT RUN, 73-63, IN SPOKANE REGIONAL SEMIFINAL
SPOKANE, Wash. – No. 2 seed California separated a close game in the second half with a 12-1 run and got a game-high 19 points from Layshia Clarendon as the sixth-seeded LSU women’s basketball team saw its NCAA Tournament run come to an end in the Spokane regional semifinal by a score of 73-63 late Saturday night in Spokane Arena.
The Lady Tigers concluded a magnificent season with a 22-12 record. Despite a roster of only eight players down the stretch, LSU advanced to its first Sweet 16 since 2008 and more importantly brought the program back to national prominence. When the final polls are released, they will surely be ranked. They return the majority of this squad next year plus a top-20 recruiting class led by top-20 high school player Raigyne Moncrief.
“I’m extremely proud of this team,” said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. “We have battled and we have hit adversity and we have been challenged. These young ladies came together and decided to fight, fight for one another and they put LSU back on the map as a dominant program.”
California (31-3) advanced to its first Elite Eight and will face No. 4 seed Georgia, who stunned top-seeded Stanford, 61-59, in the first semifinal. The regional final will be played at 8:30 p.m. CT Monday. The winner of that contest earns a berth in the Final Four next week in New Orleans.
Senior guard Adrienne Webb concluded a brilliant career with 15 points in her final game. Webb finished as the 17th all-time leading scorer in LSU history with 1,370 points and she went down fifth in LSU career threes with 168.
“It stings, but I have had one great career at LSU,” said Webb. “We have really fought through everything, through injuries and through numbers. We have really dug deep and believed in each other and pulled through. I really couldn’t ask for a better group of players and coaches to have for this last senior season.”
“She’s left her mark on this program,” added Caldwell. “She definitely has been a player that has represented the purple and gold not only on the basketball court but within the community and classroom. You couldn’t ask for a better student-athlete to be a part of your program than Adrienne Webb.”
Junior forward Theresa Plaisance registered her eighth double-double of the year with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Meanwhile Bianca Lutley grabbed eight rebounds to go along with five points in her final game. Freshman Danielle Ballard added 14 points. With her early steal in the first half, Ballard became the first LSU basketball player – men or women – to record 100 steals in a season.
With the game tied at 38 apiece and 12:32 to play, Clarendon buried a tough running jumper. Ballard answered with a layup in transition but Mikayla Miles fired in a three from the corner as the shot clock expired. Ballard’s layup cut it to 48-43 but the Lady Tigers then missed nine consecutive shots from the floor, going scoreless from the field for six minutes.
Cal capitalized on the LSU drought at the free throw line, burying 26-of-41 for the game to LSU’s 10-of-13. The Golden Bears also did a great job in transition off 16 LSU turnovers that resulted in 21 points.
LSU ended up out-shooting Cal 38.8 percent to 37.9 percent. Gennifer Brandon finished with 17 points and a game-high 13 boards for the Bears.
Saturday’s meeting was just the second between the two teams and the first since 1981. The Lady Tigers saw a seven-game winning streak to Pac-12 teams come to an end and also a seven-game winning streak in regional finals snap.