Checking off championships
Also: Perfect 10 for Utah's Del Priore, Northwestern upset in lax
It was a title-clinching weekend in women’s basketball as several teams captured their regular-season conference championships, even with games on the horizon for the next week. And while conference tournaments are still looming, teams were able to celebrate as they crossed their first accomplishment off their lists of season goals.
No. 1 Baylor cut down the nets following a 67-47 win against Texas on Saturday that gave the Lady Bears their third consecutive Big 12 regular-season crown, less than a week after beating No. 3 Connecticut on Monday. Brittney Griner scored 30 points to move to fifth on the NCAA career scoring list with 3,030 points, while the Lady Bears extended their Big 12 regular-season winning streak to 37 games. Baylor will look to remain perfect in league when it visits Oklahoma on Monday night.
Despite missing point guard Chelsea Gray, No. 5 Duke remained unbeaten in Atlantic Coast Conference action and clinched the team’s fourth consecutive regular season title with a 75-59 win against No. 8 Maryland on Sunday. The Blue Devils are 16-0 in ACC play with two regular season games remaining on the slate. Alexis Jones, Haley Peters and Tricia Liston each contributed 15 points in the Blue Devils’ 10th consecutive victory.
No. 7 Penn State captured at least a share of the team’s second Big Ten regular-season title in a row with a 68-57 win against Michigan in front of 14,173 fans at the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday. It is the seventh Big Ten regular-season crown for the Nittany Lions and the first time they have won back-to-back championships since the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. With the win, the Lady Lions finished the 2012-13 season undefeated in home games for the first time since 2004-05.
No. 18 Delaware survived a scare against James Madison, rallying for a 61-60 victory against the Dukes on Sunday. The Blue Hens extended their winning streak to 19 games and stretched their three-year regular season Colonial Athletic Association winning streak to 34 games. All-American Elena Delle Donne tallied 28 points and six points as the Blue Hens clinched at least a share of the CAA title while improving to 15-0 in conference play.
No. 26 Green Bay clinched at least a share of a 15th consecutive regular-season Horizon League title with a convincing 80-38 defeat of Valparaiso on Saturday. The title winning stretch is the longest active streak in Division I women’s basketball. The Phoenix is perfect in league action with a 12-0 mark.
Sarah Hansen’s 27 points lifted Florida Gulf Coast to a 72-55 defeat of Stetson on Saturday as the Eagles earned the outright Atlantic Sun regular-season title. It is FGCU’s third consecutive championship and fourth in the last five years. The Eagles have won 17 games in a row and are 16-0 in A-Sun play this season.
With wins against Boston U. and Vermont during the weekend, Albany secured the regular-season America East title and remained unbeaten in league play. The Great Danes are 14-0 in league play and need to just more victories to go undefeated in the America East for the first time in program history.
• The No. 3 Minnesota wrestling team captured a consecutive NWCA/Cliff Keen National Dual Championship with a convincing 28-9 victory against No. 1 Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Gophers won seven of 10 bouts, including No. 1 Logan Storley’s pin of No. 2 Chris Perry in the 174-pound match. Storley’s lone loss of the season was to Perry at the Southern Scuffle earlier this season.
• The No. 2 Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team got a school-record score in the Sooners’ 198.375-197.200 defeat of No. 5 UCLA on Friday in front of a record crowd of 2,874 fans at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. Senior Brie Olson claimed the all-around title with a career-best 39.700, followed by teammates junior Taylor Spears and freshman Keeley Kmiecak, and UCLA’s Vanessa Zamarripa, who recorded a 39.650. Zamarripa entered the meet at the nation’s top all-arounder.
• The No. 4 Boston University women's ice hockey team clinched the program’s second Hockey East regular season title with a 4-2 victory against Connecticut on Sunday. BU completed the conference schedule with a program-record 18 wins and earned the No. 1 seed in the Hockey East tournament.
• After giving up his first career loss last weekend, NC State sophomore pitcher Carlos Rodon bounced back in a big way as he combined with freshman Karl Keglovits to no-hit La Salle in a 5-0 victory on Saturday. Rodon fanned a career-high 14 batters in seven innings, while Keglovits tossed perfect eighth and ninth innings to earn the Wolfpack’s first no-hitter since 2005. Rodon has not given up a hit in his last 9.2 innings pitched.
• The South Carolina baseball team posted its first no-hitter since March 26, 1975, as Colby Holmes, Forrest Koumas and Josh Knab combined to achieve the feat in the No. 5 Gamecocks’ 14-1 defeat of Albany on Sunday. It was the seventh no-hitter in school history, and the first combined no-hitter for the program. Holmes tossed six innings, striking out three and walking one batter to earn the win.
• Junior Sean Dwyer’s three-run homer in the 11th inning lifted Florida Gulf Coast to a 7-4 win against No. 13 Florida, completing the series sweep against the Gators on Sunday. It is the first time since 2009 the Gators were swept in a three-game home series, when Miami accomplished the feat. Dwyer went 4-for-6 with three RBI on the day, and concluded the series with a .400 average, five RBI and four runs scored. The Gators have lost their last four contests, dropping to 3-5, while FGCU improved to 5-1 on the year.
• Sophomore forward Otto Porter, Jr., turned in a 33-point performance as he sparked No. 11 Georgetown to a 57-46 victory against No. 8 Syracuse in front of an on-campus single-game record crowd of 35,012 fans. The Hoyas snapped the Orange’s 38-game Carrier Dome winning streak and increased their winning streak to nine games on the season. With the win, and Marquette’s loss to Villanova later on Saturday, Georgetown moved into sole possession of first place in the Big East standings with an 11-3 league mark. Porter was 12-of-19 from the field, including 5-of-10 from three-point range, along with eight rebounds and five steals.
• The No. 2 Oklahoma softball team continued its stellar start, improving to 15-0 on the season with five victories at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. Three of those wins were against ranked opponents -- No. 16 Georgia, No. 19 Arizona and No. 23 Florida State -- including a 6-0 shutout of the Seminoles on Sunday. In the Sooners’ seven games against ranked opponents, Oklahoma has won those contests by a combined score of 47-0. Senior pitcher Keilani Ricketts struck out 11 batters and gave up just one hit against FSU as she threw her sixth shutout of the year, lowering her ERA to 0.78 on the season.
• The No. 5 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team upended defending NCAA champions and No. 1 Northwestern 11-8 on Friday in Chapel Hill. Abbey Friend tallied three goals for the Tar Heels, including two scores in the final 15 minutes of the contest as UNC held off the Wildcats. It is North Carolina’s first win against Northwestern since the 2010 season.
• There are no more unbeatens in Division II men’s basketball after both No. 1 Metro State and No. 2 Western Washington fell this week. The defending NCAA champions and No. 2 Vikings had their 30-game winning streak snapped by Alaska-Fairbanks, falling 77-73 on Thursday. The top-ranked Roadrunners dropped a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference contest to No. 17 Fort Lewis 61-54 on Friday. Both teams returned to form in their next contests as WWU beat Alaska-Anchorage and Metro State topped Adam State 69-56.
• The upset bug also hit Division II women’s basketball as No. 1 Bentley suffered its first loss of the season at No. 14 Stonehill in Northeast-10 Conference action on Saturday. It was Stonehill’s first win versus a No. 1 opponent in the 42-year history of the program. No. 2 Clayton State is the lone remaining unbeaten in Division II women’s hoops at 25-0.
• The No. 4 Limestone men’s lacrosse team avenged last year’s loss in the Division II men’s lacrosse national championship game with a 10-7 defeat of No. 1 Dowling on Saturday. Senior attack Corey Rich contributed three goals, two assists and four groundballs in the Saints’ upset of the defending NCAA champions.
|THE DIGIT||THE 4-1-1|
|8.25||Florida sophomore Marquis Dendy claimed his second Southeastern Conference title in the men’s long jump with a career-high and school-record mark of 8.25m/27-0.75. The mark was also a new SEC Championship meet record and the best jump in the world this year.|
|10.0||Utah gymnast Lia Del Priore nailed a perfect 10.0 on the floor exercise as the No. 7 Utes escaped No. 10 Stanford with a narrow victory 197.300-197.075 on Saturday. De Priore’s 10.0 was the Utes’ first on floor since Annabeth Eberle accomplished the feat seven years ago. She has been in the starting lineup for only four meets following a season-ending injury for 2012 Pac-12 all-around champion Corrie Lothrup.|
|21.50||Grand Valley State senior thrower Sam Lockhart set a new school and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Championship meet record I the women’s weight throw with an NCAA automatic qualifying toss of 21.50 meters (70'6.5") to win the event to win the event on Friday. The mark is currently the best in NCAA Division II by over a foot and a half.|
|39||Minnesota senior goalie Noora Räty notched her 39th career shutout in the Gophers’ 3-0 win against St. Cloud State on Saturday, tying the all-time NCAA record. Räty, who has recorded 13 shutouts this season, tied former Wisconsin goaltender Jessie Vetter for the NCAA career record. In addition, the Gophers finished the season with a 34-0-0 mark, becoming the first program in NCAA history to post a flawless mark in the regular season.|
|46||New Mexico’s Kendall Williams exploded for 46 points in the No. 16 Lobos’ 91-82 victory against No. 22 Colorado State in a Mountain West Conference showdown on Saturday. Williams hit 12 of 16 from the field, including 10 of 13 from 3-point range as the Lobos ended CSU’s 27-game winning streak at Moby Arena. New Mexico now has a two-game lead in the MWC standings with four contests remaining.|
• The Wisconsin-La Crosse women's indoor track & field team captured the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) title on Saturday, earning the program’s league-record 21st indoor conference championship. The Eagles posted 178.5 team points, followed by UW-Oshkosh with 153.0. It is the Eagles' first indoor crown since 2010.
• After posting a perfect record in the regular season, the No. 5 Montclair State women’s basketball team improved to 27-0 with a 75-54 win against William Paterson, claiming the program’s second New Jersey Athletic Conference title. The Red Hawks, along with No. 1 DePauw, are the only unbeaten teams remaining in Division III women’s basketball. DePauw is 28-0 after winning the North Coast Athletic Conference championship.
• The fifth-seeded Fitchburg State men’s basketball team earned an 80-72 victory against MCLA to cap off a MASCAC Tournament title run on Saturday, earning the program’s first NCAA Division III Championship appearance. The Falcons won three road games in a row against higher seeds en route to the title.
• The No. 8 Lander baseball team swept Young Harris in a three-game Peach Belt Conference series, improving to 12-2 and 6-0 in league play. In the third game of the series, Iowa Harvey hit for the cycle as the Bearcats won 15-0. The Bearcats have scored 11 or more runs in nine games this season and are riding a seven-game winning streak.
Follow Amy Farnum on Twitter: @NCAA_Amy