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The Associated Press | January 2, 2014

Buckeyes knock off No. 17 Purdue in Big Ten opener

Ohio State knocks off No. 17 Purdue 89-78

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Martina Ellerbe drilled four consecutive free throws to start the second half to give Ohio State the lead for good and sparked an 89-78 win again No. 17 Purdue on Thursday night in a Big Ten Conference opener.

The Buckeyes led by as many as 16 points with four minutes left on back-to-back layups by Raven Ferguson. The Boilermakers got no closer than 10 points down in the closing minutes.

Ellerbe and Ameryst Alston each finished with 19 points to lead Ohio State (11-6, 1-0 Big Ten). Cait Craft and Darryce Moore finished with 15 and 14 points, respectively. But the Buckeyes shot 56 percent from the field (31 of 55) and converted 20 of 26 free throw attempts.

KK Houser scored 26 points to lead the Boilermakers (10-3, 0-1).

The Buckeyes are the lone Big Ten team to own a winning record against Purdue and now leads the series 41-27.

McBride, No. 2 Notre Dame routs South Dakota State

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Kayla McBride scored 18 points on 8-for-8 shooting from the field to help No. 2 Notre Dame cruise to a 94-51 victory against South Dakota State on Thursday night.

McBride was also 2-for-2 from the free-throw line, and had four steals. Natalie Achonwa added 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Irish (12-0) and Jewell Loyd chipped in 14 points in Notre Dame's final nonconference matchup before making its Atlantic Coast Conference debut.

Gabby Boever scored nine points to lead the Jackrabbits (9-7), who were facing their highest-ranked opponent in program history.

The Irish used a 12-0 run to take a 19-4 lead on Taya Reimer's layup 5 minutes into the game. Madison Cable hit two 3-pointers during another 12-0 run that pushed the lead to 57-21 in the final minute of the first half.

Loyd's layup with just under 15 minutes remaining made it 69-29.

Liston leads No. 3 Duke past Old Dominion 87-63

DURHAM, N.C. -- Tricia Liston scored 17 points, all in the first half, and Elizabeth Williams had 12 points and 12 rebounds as No. 3 Duke routed Old Dominion 87-63 on Thursday night.

Oderah Chidom added 13 points and Alexis Jones 12 for the Blue Devils (13-1), playing for the first time in 11 days.

Tiffany Minor led the Monarchs (6-7) with 20 points while LaQuanda Younger added 15.

Duke shot 60 percent, compared to Old Dominion's 46.2, and outrebounded the Monarchs 47-24.

The Blue Devils led 45-32 at halftime after shooting 62.1 percent - their best for a half this season - compared to Old Dominion's 42.4 percent.

The Blue Devils took the lead for good at 4-2 on Liston's 3-pointer in the opening minute of the game. Another 3 by Liston gave Duke its largest lead of the first half at 38-23 with 3:40 to go.

No. 16 LSU outlasts No. 5 Tennessee 80-77

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Danielle Ballard matched a career high with 25 points and No. 16 LSU held off No. 5 Tennessee 80-77 on Thursday night after squandering most of a 16-point lead in the last 4 minutes.

LSU (11-2, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) ended a seven-game losing streak in the rivalry and ended the Lady Vols' string of 16 consecutive victories in SEC openers.

Tennessee, which trailed 75-59 with 4:37 left, had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds. LSU was clinging to a 78-77 lead when Tennessee's Isabelle Harrison missed the second of two free throws with 15.9 seconds left. After Raigyne Moncrief made two free throws, Andraya Carter missed a potential tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds.

Before the game, Tennessee (11-2, 0-1) retired the No. 3 jersey of Candace Parker, who led Tennessee to national titles in 2007 and 2008.

O'Neill helps No. 6 Kentucky beat Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Kentucky made it look easy against Alabama in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.

Jennifer O'Neill had 17 points to help No. 6 Kentucky beat Alabama 85-63 on Thursday.

Azia Bishop added 16 points and eight rebounds for Kentucky (13-1), Kastine Evans had 15 points, and Samarie Walker finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

''Samarie had a big game today,'' Kentucky coach Matt Mitchell said. ''She was working hard inside. She was letting the game come to her.''

Shafontaye Myers led Alabama (7-7) with 20 points, and Daisha Simmons had 12.

Sims scores 40, No. 9 Baylor routs Kansas State

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Odyssey Sims scored 40 points, Sune Agbuke had 16 points and 14 rebounds, and No. 9 Baylor beat Kansas State 92-63 on Thursday night.

Sims shot 12-for-19 from the field and 12-for-16 on free throws as the Lady Bears (11-1, 1-0 Big 12) won their 50th consecutive league game.

Ashia Woods scored a career-high 27 points to lead Kansas State (6-6, 0-1), and Leticia Romero added 20 points and five rebounds.

Sims, who came in averaging more than 30 points per game, scored 15 in the first half points on 5-for-7 shooting.

Two free throws from Woods cut the Bears' lead to 15-10 with 13:13 left in the first half and that was as close as the Wildcats got the rest of the way.

No. 10 UNC edges James Madison 74-71

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Interim coach Andrew Calder thinks No. 10 North Carolina is ready for ACC play, especially after the test from James Madison.

Xylina McDaniel scored 19 points and North Carolina held on to beat the Dukes 74-71 on Thursday.

Latifah Coleman added 14 points and Stephanie Mavunga had 10 points and 10 rebounds to help the Tar Heels (12-2) wrap up their nonconference schedule and win their seventh consecutive.

With Hall of Fame coach Sylvia Hatchell watching from a high sideline platform, North Carolina shot 45.6 percent and let most of a 13-point lead disappear before coming up with the defensive stop it needed.

Hatchell has been out all season while she receives treatment for leukemia.

No. 11 Oklahoma State beats Texas 67-61

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Tiffany Bias scored 23 points and had six assists as No. 11 Oklahoma State beat Texas 67-61 in the Big 12 opener for both teams Thursday night.

Brady Sanders pulled Texas (9-4) within 61-55 with 1:03 remaining but Oklahoma State went 6 of 6 from the free-throw line, including four by Bias, in the final 51 seconds to hold off the Longhorns.

The Cowgirls (12-0) are off to the best start in school history after winning 11 consecutive to start last season.

Oklahoma State came into the game as the national leader in field-goal percentage defense (30.4) and was second in 3-point field-goal percentage (21.1). Texas made 23 of 60 (38.3 percent) from the floor and 2 of 18 (11.1 percent) from 3-point range while committing 17 turnovers.

Liz Donohoe scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, moving into 14th place on the OSU all-time rebounding list.

No. 13 South Carolina holds off Arkansas 55-51

FAYETVILLE, Ark. -- Tiffany Mitchell scored 16 points with 11 rebounds in leading No. 13 South Carolina to a 55-51 win against previously undefeated, yet unranked, Arkansas in its Southeastern Conference opener on Thursday night.

South Carolina (13-1, 1-0, SEC) held the Razorbacks to 16 first half points and led 28-16 at halftime. Arkansas (13-1, 0-1 SEC) did not hit double figures as a team until 12:30 into the game.

Both teams have held their opponent point totals to the mid-40s this season while averaging 77 points each offensively. But the Razorbacks slow start hurt them throughout the second half as South Carolina was relentless defensively.

The Gamecocks only shot 40 percent for the night but they were able to maintain a comfortable lead in the second half, forcing Arkansas into a fouling situation to which Mitchell made 5 of 6 free throws in the final 40 seconds to lock in the victory.

Blaskowsky leads No. 14 Iowa State past TCU 71-49

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Nicole Blaskowsky came off the Iowa State bench to pump in 24 points and spark the undefeated, 14th-ranked Cyclones to a 71-49 win against TCU in a Big 12 Conference opener Thursday night.

Iowa State built an eight-point lead in the first half, then put the defensive clamps on the Horned Frogs during the final 20 minutes, holding them to just 19 second-half points to earn its 12th win to start the season, matching a school record.

Blaskowsky was 8 of 16 from the field and drilled 7 of 15 3-point attempts. Nikki Moody added 13 points, Seanna Johnson 12 and Halle Christofferson 10 for Iowa State (12-0, 1-0 Big 12). The Cyclones now are 4-1 all-time against the Horned Frogs and 9-9 in conference openers.

Zahna Medley scored 22 points on 7-for-16 shooting to lead TCU (9-4, 0-1), which lost at home for the first time this season.

No. 18 Nebraska holds off Northwestern 66-65

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Rachel Theriot hit the go-ahead jumper with 1:39 remaining, and finished with 19 points, eight assists and six rebounds to help No. 18 Nebraska outlast Northwestern 66-65 in a Big Ten Conference opener for both teams Thursday night.

After surrendering an 11-0 run to trail 65-61 with 2:52 remaining, the Cornhuskers (11-2, 1-0) wouldn't go down as Tear'a Laudermill sank a 3-pointer. Theriot then drilled a jump-shot on the next possession to put Nebraska on top for the final margin.

Northwestern (10-4, 0-1) missed two potential go-ahead 3-pointers and committed a turnover in the final two minutes.

Laudermill scored 14 points and Jordan Hooper also had 14 with 10 rebounds. Emily Cady added 11 points and nine boards for the Cornhuskers.

Christen Inman led the Wildcats with 19 points and Nia Coffey had 16 with nine rebounds. Lauren Douglas scored 13 and Ashley Dearey had nine boards and seven assists.

Lister leads Vanderbilt against No. 19 Georgia 66-58

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jasmine Lister scored 24 points and the Vanderbilt defense smothered No. 19 Georgia's top scorers to earn a 66-58 win in the Southeastern Conference opener Thursday night.

Christina Foggie added 11 points for the Commodores (12-2), who won their ninth consecutive. Lister (1,414) and Foggie (1,412) went past the 1,400 point milestone.

Georgia (12-2) was led by Khaalidah Miller with 16 and Krista Donald, Erika Ford had 12 each. However, Tiaria Griffin and Shacobla Barbee, who combine for 26.7 points, were held to 5 points each.

Lister's layup with 6:21 left put Vanderbilt up for good at 50-49 and she followed with a 3-pointer. Miller countered with a 3 for the Bulldogs but a Foggie's 3 at 5:07 started a 7-0 surge for a 60-52 lead with 3:45 remaining.

Georgia, which had 24 turnovers, got within four with 30 seconds left but Vanderbilt made 4 of 6 free throws down the stretch.

No. 21 Florida State beats Pittsburgh 78-69

PITTSBURGH -- Natasha Howard scored a career-high 27 points Thursday and No. 21 Florida State beat Pittsburgh 78-69 in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener.

Morgan Jones, Brittany Brown and Ivy Slaughter each scored 11, and Slaughter grabbed 13 rebounds in the Seminoles' ninth consecutive win.

Howard opened with a layup and FSU (13-1, 1-0) jumped to an 11-6 lead, but Pitt (8-7, 0-1) clawed back, making it a two-point game at 11:03 on a jumper by Asia Logan. The Seminoles pulled ahead on a 7-2 run in which Howard scored back-to-back layups and took a 39-28 halftime lead.

FSU opened the second half with a 7-0 run, but Pitt came back again, with Brianna Kiesel hitting a trey at 7:31, sparking a 9-0 run and cutting FSU's lead to eight. Howard scored five points in the final 3 minutes.

Kiesel led Pitt with 20 points, Loliya Briggs scored 15 and Logan had 14.

Indiana defeats No. 22 Iowa 86-84

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Larryn Brooks led Indiana with 20 points and nine assists as the Hoosiers opened Big Ten conference play with an 86-84 victory against No. 22 Iowa on Thursday.

The Hawkeyes (12-3, 0-1) outscored Indiana 8-3 in the final seconds to climb within two, but Brooks made 7 of 8 free throws in the final minute, and Simone Deloach and Taylor Agler each added one to stay ahead.

The score remained close in the first half until the Hoosiers went on a 12-4 run with three 3-pointers by Karlee McBride and one by Larryn Brooks. Indiana (14-0, 1-0) was up 43-36 at intermission and led by as much as 12 until Melissa Dixon knocked down a 3-pointer for the Hawkeyes with 2:40 to play to cut the deficit to three.

Samantha Logic led Iowa with 25 points and 12 rebounds.

No. 25 Oklahoma trounces Texas Tech 68-38

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Aaryn Ellenberg scored 17 points to lead No. 25 Oklahoma against Texas Tech 68-38 on Thursday.

Oklahoma (10-4, 1-0 Big 12) got 12 points from Nicole Griffin and 11 points from Morgan Hook. The Sooners shot 62 percent from the floor, including 5 of 7 from beyond the arc. They also went 11 of 13 from the free throw line.

Texas Tech (6-6, 0-1) was led by Amber Battle with 11 points and six rebounds. The Lady Raiders shot 23 percent and was just 5 of 31 (16 percent) on 3-pointers.

Oklahoma only led by eight at the break, but went on a 9-0 run at the start of the second - including a 3-pointer and layup by Ellenberg - to take control. A 14-0 run late in the game completed the blowout.

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