Lucas leads North Carolina to victory against Kentucky, spot in round of 16


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Italee Lucas scored 22 points and Jessica Breland added 18, helping North Carolina hold off Kentucky 86-74 in the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament Monday night, the Tar Heels' superior height and length trumping the Wildcats' edge in quickness.

"It all started with rebounding," Breland said after the fifth-seeded Tar Heels' 55-31 dominance on the boards led to all sorts of problems for the fourth-seeded Wildcats.

North Carolina (27-8) will face top-seeded Stanford on Saturday in Spokane, Wash.

The Tar Heels reached the round of 16 one year after going one-and-out in the NCAA Tournament minus Breland, who missed last season while fighting cancer.

The fourth-seeded Wildcats were led by Victoria Dunlap's 23 points, but she grabbed just four rebounds -- less than half her average -- and only one off the defensive glass, which set the tone for a long night. Kentucky, which hasn't beaten North Carolina in five tries, finished 25-9 a year after reaching the round of eight.

The Tar Heels outrebounded the Wildcats 26-15 in the first half, and when they started making halfcourt outlet passes before Kentucky could set up its tenacious defense, they went on two 8-0 runs that gave them a 40-30 halftime lead and all the momentum.

Kentucky was trying to commit three and four players to the offensive glass and was unable to get back in transition.

Lucas said she noticed the Wildcats getting tired.

"We saw it all over their face," she said. "So I kept telling the girls, 'They're tired. Keep pushing. Keep pushing. There's another level.' You might think you're tired, but you can't be when it's this time of the season and you have crucial games like this, so we just kept pushing.".

■ Stanford 75, St. John's 49 -- At Stanford, Calif., Nnemkadi Ogwumike scored 22 points, little sister Chiney Ogwumike added 13 points and 12 rebounds, and the top-seeded Cardinal overcame a slow start to beat the ninth-seeded Red Storm (22-11).

The Cardinal (31-2) captured their school-record 63rd straight victory at Maples Pavilion, capping a perfect run by the seniors on their home floor for their careers -- the first group in school history to accomplish that feat.

■ Gonzaga 89, UCLA 75 -- At Spokane, Wash., Courtney Vandersloot had 29 points and 17 assists to help the 11th-seeded Bulldogs upset the third-seeded Bruins.

Playing in front of a raucous home crowd, Vandersloot became the first player in Division I history -- men or women -- to record 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in her career. Kayla Standish matched her career high with 30 points to lead Gonzaga (30-4).

Darxia Morris led UCLA with 20 points and Jasmine Dixon added 18, but the Bruins (28-5) were bounced in the second round of the tournament for the second straight year.

DAYTON REGION

■ Tennessee 79, Marquette 70 -- At Knoxville, Tenn., Meighan Simmons scored 18 points, and the top-seeded Lady Vols survived a scrappy match with the eighth-seeded Golden Eagles (24-9) to advance to the regional semifinals.

Tennessee (33-2) led by as many as 11 points in the second half and had a 62-55 lead when Marquette scored seven of the next eight points to cut it to 63-62 with 6:15 left.

The Lady Vols answered by scoring the next six points and held on from there.

■ Notre Dame 77, Temple 64 -- At Salt Lake City, Natalie Novosel scored 17 points, and Devereaux Peters had her ninth career double-double to lead the second-seeded Fighting Irish past the 10th-seeded Owls (24-9).

Peters finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Skylar Diggins added 15 points for Notre Dame (28-7), and Becca Bruszewski had 12 and Natalie Achonwa 10 off the bench.

■ Ohio State 67, Georgia Tech 60 -- At Columbus, Ohio, Jantel Lavender scored 17 of her 21 points in the second half to set an NCAA record with her 135th straight double-figure scoring game, leading the fourth-seeded Buckeyes (24-9) past the fifth-seeded Yellow Jackets (24-11).

Lavender, who had been tied with Oklahoma's Courtney Paris with 134 consecutive games of 10 or more points, also grabbed 11 rebounds.

PHILADELPHIA REGION

■ Duke 71, Marist 66 -- At Durham, N.C., freshman Chelsea Gray scored all 13 of her points in the second half to help the second-seeded Blue Devils rally from 11 down and beat the 10th-seeded Red Foxes (31-3), who were on a 27-game winning streak.

Gray hit the go-ahead free throws with 2:27 left, part of an 11-0 run that helped the Blue Devils (31-3) escape what would have been a stunning loss on their home court.

■ DePaul 75, Penn State 73 -- At State College, Pa., Keisha Hampton made two free throws with 4.9 seconds left and scored 19 of her 26 points in the second half to help the third-seeded Blue Demons (29-6) rally from 14 down to defeat the host and sixth-seeded Nittany Lions (25-10).

 

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