Kentucky women beat pesky Marist 75-61

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Kastine Evans scored 15 points and No. 7 Kentucky used a balanced offense to beat Marist 75-61 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

The Wildcats (1-0) got all they could handle from the pesky Red Foxes, who have knocked off their share of top teams in the NCAA tournament over the past few years.

After trailing early on as Marist (0-1) was bolstered by a raucous sellout crowd, the Wildcats built a 17-point lead in the second half behind strong play from Bria Goss and Evans.

Just as Kentucky looked as if it was going to take control, the Red Foxes rallied scoring 11 consecutive to cut their deficit to 50-44 midway through the second half. They had a chance to pull closer, but a 3-pointer by Leanne Ockenden, who led the team with 16 points, rimmed out.

Kentucky then scored 12 of the next 16 points to put the game away.

No. 4 Tennessee beats Middle Tennessee 67-57

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Tennessee made sure they didn't repeat themselves with a second consecutive season-opening loss on the road.

Isabelle Harrison scored 13 points as fourth-ranked Tennessee rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to beat Middle Tennessee 67-57 on Friday night in the season opener. Harrison said the Lady Vols talked at halftime and one topic was learning from their opening loss at Chattanooga last season.

''We don't want to go on that long bus ride with all those coaches like we did last year,'' Harrison said. ''We put in the effort, and we just played hard.''

The Lady Vols were sloppy, trailing 34-22 at halftime. They scored the first 14 of the second half, and Mercedes Russell, the Gatorade national girls player of the year from Springfield, Ore., scored nine of her 11 in the second half for Tennessee. The Lady Vols also turned the ball over only four times after doing so 10 times in the first half.

Ariel Massengale had 12 points for the Lady Vols, and Andraya Carter had 10.

Tennessee coach Holly Warlick was happy to escape with the victory with the Lady Vols visiting No. 12 North Carolina on Monday night. The coach wasn't happy with her Lady Vols being called for 33 fouls. Middle Tennessee had 25 for a combined 68 in the game.

Mincy has 15 points, No. 8 Maryland beats USF

TAMPA, Fla. -- Laurin Mincy scored 15 points and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 12 as No. 8 Maryland beat South Florida 78-70 Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

Alyssa Thomas, a preseason Associated Press All-American who averaged 18.8 points and 10.3 rebounds last season to help Maryland reached the NCAA round of 16, was severely limited by foul trouble and had just four points and three rebounds.

Courtney Williams had 21 points for South Florida, which got its first NCAA tournament win last season before losing in the second round. Bulls guard Inga Orekhova, who averaged 12.7 points last season, finished with two points.

Maryland used a late 15-2 surge to take a 43-28 halftime lead. Thomas missed all three of her first-half shots and played five minutes after picking up two fouls early on.

Mincy had 13 points and freshman Lexie Brown chipped in 11 during the opening half for Maryland. Brown completed the late run by hitting a 3-pointer 2 seconds before intermission.

No. 9 Cal women beat Long Beach State in opener

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Afure Jemerigbe scored 13 points, freshman Mercedes Jefflo had seven steals in an impressive collegiate debut, and No. 9 California overcame a cold-shooting first half to beat Long Beach State 70-51 Friday night in the season opener for both schools.

Jefflo added nine points and three assists, scoring consecutive baskets early in the second half as the Golden Bears pulled away to run their regular-season winning streak to 16 games dating to last season.

Third-year coach Lindsay Gottlieb and her players hope to build off the program's first Final Four berth in school history last season, when Cal shared the Pac-12 title with Bay Area rival Stanford.

Reshanda Gray had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Cal, and 6-3 freshman Courtney Range 14 boards.

Jemerigbe scored five straight points late in the first half as Cal took a 27-18 lead at the break despite shooting 28.6 percent.

No. 11 Oklahoma downs Stetson 78-60

NORMAN, Okla. -- Aaryn Ellenberg scored 24 points and hit six 3-pointers to help Oklahoma beat Stetson 78-60 Friday night.

The Sooners shot 41.5 percent from the field and were 15-for-34 from the field in the second half. They jumped out to a 20-point lead midway through the second half as Ellenburg scored 11 points to fuel a run.

The Hatters, who shot 27.3 percent from the field, pulled within 15 with just under eight minutes remaining, but couldn't pull any closer.

Sasha Sims led Stetson with 16 points and Jama Sharp had 11.

Two other Sooners scored in double figures as Kaylon Williams scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Sharane Campbell added 10 points for Oklahoma.

Ellenberg, who shot 6-for-11 on 3-pointers, also had five steals.

No. 12 North Carolina rolls past Air Force 87-26

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina got the fast start Hall of Fame coach Sylvia Hatchell would've demanded from her heralded freshman class.

Diamond DeShields scored 16 points in her first college game to help the No. 12 Tar Heels beat Air Force 87-26 in the opener for both teams.

Fellow rookie Stephanie Mavunga added 16 points and 13 rebounds for a Tar Heels team playing without Hatchell. The recently inducted Naismith Hall of Famer is fighting leukemia and was recently released from the hospital.

That left longtime assistant Andrew Calder in charge of getting the young Tar Heels their first taste of the college game ahead of Monday's visit from No. 4 Tennessee. An assistant to Hatchell for her entire 28-year tenure here, Calder and team staff all wore orange ribbons for leukemia awareness, while the players had ribbon patches on their jerseys.

UNC dominated from the tip by holding Air Force to two baskets in the first half to take a 41-9 lead at the break. The Falcons finished the game shooting just 14 percent (7 for 50) and had 30 turnovers.

No. 13 Penn State coasts past St. Francis 117-77

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Maggie Lucas scored 33 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help Penn State beat St. Francis 117-77 in a season opener Friday night.

The Nittany Lions shot 53.4 percent of the game, including a 21-for-37 effort in the second half.

With a 10-point lead midway through the first half, Penn State went on a 20-7 run to take a 49-26 lead late in the half. They closed the game on a 54-27 run, grabbing their biggest lead of 40 points.

Lucas shot 8-for-18 from the field and hit all 16 of her free throws. Ariel Edwards had 23 points and Dara Taylor had 14 for Penn State. Kaliyah Mitchell was the fourth Nittany Lion in double figures, scoring 11 points.

Alexa Hayward contributed 20 points and hit six 3-pointers for the Red Flash.

No. 15 LSU tops Stephen F. Austin 86-58

BATON ROUGE, La. -- DaShawn Harden scored 20 points in her LSU debut Friday night to lead the 15th-ranked Tigers to an 86-58 win against Stephen F. Austin.

Harden, a junior-college transfer, made four 3-pointers to lead LSU, which hosts St. Joseph's in the second round Sunday.

LSU's Theresa Plaisance made her first four shots and finished with 18 points and eight rebounds. Danielle Ballard also had 18 points for the Tigers.

Porsha Roberts led Stephen F. Austin with 21 points and eight rebounds. SFA shot 34.4 percent for the game and committed 23 turnovers, which led to 18 LSU points.

No. 17 Nebraska eases past UCLA 77-49

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Two-time All-American Jordan Hooper scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as No. 17 Nebraska beat UCLA 77-49 on Friday.

It was Hooper's 27th career double-double. Rachel Theriot recorded a career-high nine assists, and Allie Havers scored 14 points in her first career game. Last season, the Huskers advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.

Trailing 40-20 at the half, UCLA hit back-to-back 3-pointers with 13:43 left to make it 44-29, but could not get any closer.

One of two returning starters from last year, Thea Lemberger, led the Bruins with 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting. UCLA was limited to 34 percent shooting and was outrebounded 44-23. The Bruins reached the second round of the NCAA tournament last season.

This was the first game in the new Pinnacle Bank Arena in downtown Lincoln. The announced season-opener crowd was 9,750.

No. 21 Oklahoma State cruises past Lamar 83-56

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Guards Brittney Martin and Tiffany Bias teamed up to give No. 21 Oklahoma State an 83-56 victory against Lamar on Friday in the season opener.

Martin scored 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Bias, considered one of the nation's top point guards, added 14 points with seven assists and seven steals. Liz Donohoe added 10 points.

Dominique Edwards, who led Lamar with 24 points, hit two free throws to start the game for the Cardinals' only lead. Shauna Long added 12 points.

The Cowgirls led 43-26 at the half on 60.7 shooting and finished at 48.4 while holding Lamar to just 34 percent. Oklahoma State's largest lead was 34 points, coming with 11:06 left in the game.

Lamar is now 0-6 all-time against Oklahoma State. The game was Robin Harmony's first as the Cardinals head coach.

No. 22 South Carolina topples Charleston Southern 99-29

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Alaina Coates came off the bench to score 20 points in her college debut Friday night, leading No. 22 South Carolina to a season-opening 99-29 victory against Charleston Southern.

A prized recruit for coach Dawn Staley, Coates, a 6-foot-4 center out of Irmo, S.C., helped Dutch Fork High School go undefeated last year and capture its second consecutive state title.

The game was a runaway from the opening tip, and South Carolina closed the first half on a 30-5 run to take a 52-13 lead at halftime.

Elem Ibiam made all seven of her field goal attempts to finish with 17 points for the Gamecocks. No South Carolina starter played more than 21 minutes

Charleston Southern shot 10 of 54 from the field. Alyssa Mann led the Buccaneers of the Big South Conference with nine points.