No. 5 South Carolina cruises into SEC semifinals by beating Georgia
DULUTH, Ga. -- It's not every year that South Carolina arrives at the SEC tournament as the favorite.
Junior center Elem Ibiam says coach Dawn Staley and her staff have kept the No. 5 Gamecocks focused after leading the school to its first regular-season title.
"Our coaches always tell us not to get too high or too low," Ibiam said. "That keeps us balanced and focused on the next team, at the task at hand."
Alaina Coates scored 13 points, Ibiam added 12 points and South Carolina took an easy 67-48 victory against Georgia in the third round of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Friday.
The top-seeded Gamecocks (27-3) advanced to the tournament semifinals for the second time in three years. Before 2011, South Carolina had never played past the quarterfinals.
SEC player of the year Tiffany Mitchell finished with 11 points for South Carolina, which led the entire game.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Jewell Loyd scored 17 points to lead No. 2 Notre Dame past Florida State 83-57 on Friday in its Atlantic Coast Conference tournament debut.
Kayla McBride added 13 for the top-seeded Fighting Irish (30-0), who ran off 21 consecutive points in the first half to turn their quarterfinal matchup with the ninth-seeded Seminoles (20-11) into a rout. Notre Dame shot 65 percent before halftime to build a 22-point lead at the break and never looked back.
Notre Dame advanced to Saturday's semifinals to face No. 14 NC State, which lost by 24 points at home to the Fighting Irish less than a week ago.
Natasha Howard followed up her big second-round performance with 29 points to lead Florida State, which led 12-11 before Notre Dame took over.
Howard went for 30 points and 16 rebounds in Thursday's overtime win against Miami, then went 14-for-22 from the field with five rebounds and two blocks in 36 minutes. No other Seminoles player reached double figures.
SEATTLE -- Chiney Ogwumike scored 13 of her 19 points in the second half, and No. 4 Stanford overcame its worst scoring first half of the season to knock off pesky Colorado 69-54 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Conference tournament Friday.
Ogwumike, the conference player of the year, gave Stanford the lead for good with a rare 3-pointer early in the second half that was part of a 16-2 run by the Cardinal to take control.
Stanford, the top seed in the tournament, was held to a season-low 21 points in the first half. The Cardinal (29-2) will face either No. 5 seed USC or fourth-seeded Arizona State in the semifinals Saturday night. Stanford has won seven consecutive conference tourney titles.
Colorado (17-14) was led by 16 points from Brittany Wilson.
Stanford outscored Colorado 48-31 in the second half, starting to knock down perimeter shots. Bonnie Samuelson and Lili Thompson both added 15 points.
DULUTH, Ga. -- Isabelle Harrison scored 21 points, Meighan Simmons and Bashaara Graves each added 14 and No. 6 Tennessee used an overpowering late run to beat LSU 77-65 in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Friday night.
The second-seeded Lady Vols (25-5) have won five in a row and 11 of 12. Tennessee will face the Texas A&M-Auburn winner in the semifinals.
Theresa Plaisance finished with 21 points and Danielle Ballard scored 15 for LSU (19-12). The Lady Tigers, seeded 10th, have lost seven of eight.
Tennessee's 19-0 run late in the second half made it 70-55 lead on Simmons' two free throws, but the game's first 35 minutes were tough on the fifth-leading scorer in school history.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Diamond DeShields scored 22 points while fellow freshman Allisha Gray added 17 to help No. 13 North Carolina beat No. 8 Maryland 73-70 in Friday's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals.
Xylina McDaniel added 10 points for the sixth-seeded Tar Heels (24-8), who led all but 5 seconds but still had to fight to put away the Big Ten-bound Terrapins in what turned out to be their final ACC game.
Three-time ACC player of the year Alyssa Thomas scored 24 points and set the career scoring record for third-seeded Maryland (24-6), who erased nearly all of a nine-point deficit in the final 5 1/2 minutes.
But Thomas couldn't quite lead the Terps all the way back, committing a turnover while going for the go-ahead shot in the final minute then missing a 3-pointer for the tie with about 10 seconds left.
UNC advanced to Saturday's semifinals to play No. 10 Duke.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Elizabeth Williams scored 15 points and blocked five shots, and No. 10 Duke claimed its 37th consecutive win against Georgia Tech with an 82-52 victory Friday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference quarterfinals.
Haley Peters had 19 points, and Tricia Liston added 15 along with her school-record-tying 80th 3-pointer of the season for the second-seeded Blue Devils (26-5).
They shot 53 percent, held the seventh-seeded Yellow Jackets to a season-worst 24 percent shooting and used a 29-8 run to push their lead into the 20s.
Duke advanced to the ACC semifinals for the sixth time in seven seasons under coach Joanne P. McCallie.
Tyaunna Marshall had 17 points on 5 of 18 shooting for Georgia Tech (20-11).
INDIANAPOLIS -- Ameryst Alston scored 33 points and Cait Craft 24 as eighth-seeded Ohio State stunned top-seeded and No. 11-ranked Penn State 99-82 Friday in the Big Ten Conference tournament quarterfinals.
The Buckeyes (17-17) advance to a Saturday semifinal against Iowa.
Raven Ferguson added 15 points for OSU, which shot 71.9 percent in the first half when it made all 10 of its 3-pointers for a 58-34 lead. The 58 points were a tournament record.
The Lady Lions (22-7) were led by Ariel Edwards' career-high 29 points plus 10 rebounds. Maggie Lucas added 21 points, including a pair of 3-pointers that gave her the conference's career record with 358.
OSU built its lead to 27 points before PSU cut it to nine with 2:56 left. OSU then went on an 11-2 run to seal the outcome.
OSU's last win against a top-15 team came against Michigan State in the 2011 conference tournament.
DULUTH, Ga. -- DeNesha Stallworth scored 13 points and No. 12 Kentucky continued its string of Southeastern Conference tournament success with a 75-70 win against Florida in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Kentucky (23-7) advanced to Saturday's semifinals for the fifth consecutive year. The Wildcats have reached three of the last four finals.
Bria Goss and Jennifer O'Neill each had 11 points for Kentucky.
There were 13 lead changes and eight ties, the last at 70-70 following back-to-back 3-pointers by Florida's Cassie Peoples, who had 18 points.
Kentucky reclaimed the lead on a basket by Janee Thompson and stretched the lead on Samarie Walker's offensive rebound and layup. Walker had seven points and 11 rebounds.
Kayla Lewis had 18 points and eight rebounds for Florida (19-12). The Gators swept two regular-season games with Kentucky.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Markeisha Gatling scored a career-high 28 points before leaving with a second-half knee injury, helping No. 14 NC State rally past Syracuse 79-63 in Friday's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals.
Kody Burke added 21 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for the fourth-seeded Wolfpack (25-6), who trailed 48-39 before going on a 25-1 run fueled by Gatling's 14 points.
Brittney Sykes scored 14 points for the fifth-seeded Orange (22-9), who missed 16 consecutive shots at one point during NC State's decisive run. Syracuse, in its first ACC tournament, shot 10-for-38 (26 percent) after halftime.
The game was delayed three times in the second half due to lights and shot-clock outages amid a winter storm that caused numerous power outages in the area.
DULUTH, Ga. -- Courtney Walker sank her first seven shots and scored 25 points, leading No. 15 Texas A&M to a runaway 86-54 win against Auburn on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
Texas A&M will play No. 6 Tennessee in Saturday's second semifinal. Tennessee beat Texas A&M 76-55 on Jan. 26.
Karla Gilbert had 15 points and Courtney Williams added 12 for the Aggies (24-7), the defending SEC tournament champion.
Tyrese Tanner led Auburn (17-14) with 14 points. Brandy Montgomery had 12.
Texas A&M already held a comfortable 45-30 lead early in the second half before turning the game into a rout with an 18-0 run for a 63-30 lead. Walker had six points in the run and then sat out the final 10 minutes.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Jordan Hooper scored 33 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as No. 16 Nebraska beat Minnesota 80-67 in the Big Ten quarterfinals on Friday night.
The third-seeded Cornhuskers will play No. 19 and second-seeded Michigan State on Saturday for a spot in the championship game. During the regular season Nebraska and Michigan State split two contests.
Emily Cady scored 15 points and Rachel Theriot added 14 points and a career-high 18 assists for the Cornhuskers (23-6).
Minnesota (20-12) trailed by just five points after Mikayla Bailey hit a 3 with 6:54 left to play. Cady responded by opening up an 11-0 run -- which saw five Cornhuskers score -- to give Nebraska a decisive lead that carried through the rest of the game.
Stabresa McDaniel came off the bench to score 14 points for the No.6 seeded Golden Gophers and Rachel Banham added 12.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Ally Disterhoft scored 10 of her 12 points in the final 5:38 as 23rd-ranked and fifth-seeded Iowa clawed back from the brink with a 24-11 closing run to upend No. 17, fourth-seeded Purdue 87-80 in a Big Ten quarterfinal Friday.
The Hawkeyes (25-7) face eighth-seeded Ohio State (17-17) in a semifinal Saturday after the Buckeyes shocked No. 11 and top-seeded Penn State 99-82.
Purdue (21-8) battled through seven ties and six lead changes in the first half to lead 39-35 at the break and appeared to be in control after halftime with Courtney Moses banging down 24 points.
Iowa's all-Big Ten selections Disterhoft, Samantha Logic and Bethany Doolittle were held to a combined seven points in the first half due to foul trouble but caught fire in the second. Doolittle finished with 16 and Logic 12.
Disterhoft scored six in an 8-1 run for a 71-70 lead Iowa never lost.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Annalise Pickrel scored 18 points and Branndais Agee was clutch down the stretch Friday as No. 19 Michigan State, the second seed, rallied to defeat seventh-seeded Michigan 61-58 in the Big Ten quarterfinals.
The Spartans (22-8) trailed for all but a brief time early in the second until scoring the last six points of the game. Agree made two free throws at 2:59 to make it a one-point game. Tori Jankoska put MSU up 59-58 with a layup at 1:15. After a Michigan turnover, Agee grabbed an offensive rebound and scored with 31 seconds left.
Madison Ristovski, who led Michigan (18-13) with 18 points, missed a 3 from the corner with 15 seconds left and the Wolverines did not get a good final look.
Michigan started off red hot and raced to a 27-13 lead but the cold-shooting Spartans warmed up and made it 31-28 at the half.
SEATTLE -- Lia Galdeira scored 28 points, Tia Presley added 19 including a huge 3-pointer with 1:21 remaining as the shot clock expired, and Washington State upset No. 20 California 91-83 on Friday night in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals.
The Cougars used a 15-4 run midway through the second half to take control then held off California's charge in the closing minutes. Washington State (17-15) snapped a five-game losing streak to California, the No. 2 seed in the conference tourney, and improved to 4-5 this year against ranked opponents.
The Cougars would likely need to win the conference tournament to reach the NCAAs. They scored a tournament record 107 points in beating Oregon in the opening round Thursday.
Reshanda Grey led Cal (21-9) with 26 points, but second-leading scorer Brittany Boyd finished with nine points and fouled out with 6 minutes left.
LAS VEGAS -- Sonja Greinacher scored 22 points as No. 21 Gonzaga, top-seeded in the West Coast Conference, easily handled eighth-seeded San Francisco 81-68 in a WCC tournament quarterfinal game.
Jazmine Redmon added 18, Lindsay Sherbert had 17, Haiden Palmer 13 and Shelby Cheslek 10 points and 10 boards as Gonzaga (27-4) shot 50 percent from the floor.
Gonzaga used a 15-4 run early in the first half, including a pair of 3-pointers by Redmon, to take an eight-point lead en route to 38-27 lead at the break.
Gonzaga led by as much as 18 early in the second half. San Francisco (12-19) cut its deficit to nine after a Taj Winston layup and Taylor Proctor 3-pointer with 6:28 to go, but the Bulldogs responded with a 7-0 run and cruised home from there.
Proctor scored 28 points to lead San Francisco. Winston finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.