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Anthony Chiusano and Autumn Johnson | | January 28, 2021

Women's basketball scores: No. 2 NC State, No. 3 UConn fall on wild night of upsets

How NET rankings work in women's college basketball

Thursday's loaded women's basketball slate did not disappoint, seeing two top-3 upsets to kick off a busy night.

Virginia Tech made the first statement, handing No. 2 NC State its first loss of the season in overtime, 83-71. It marked the Hokies' highest-ranked win in program history.

No. 19 Arkansas followed with a stunning 90-87 win over No. 3 UConn, marking the Huskies' first defeat of the season. The Razorbacks now have two wins over top-5 squads this year, setting a program record.    

Here's what you need to know about Thursday's top results.

Virginia Tech makes program history with win over No. 2 NC State

Four days after a two-point loss to No. 2 NC State on the road, Virginia Tech got revenge at home with an 83-71 win in overtime. It was the Hokies' first victory over an AP Top 25 team since 2019 and their highest-ranked win in 45 years of competition.

The Wolfpack took a four-point lead into halftime before Virginia Tech senior guard Aisha Sheppard found her stroke. Sheppard finished with 28 points out of the halftime break, after going 0-for-5 from the field in the first two quarters.

Five of those points came in the fourth quarter, including a clutch 3-pointer to put the Hokies ahead 55-54 with 56 seconds left in regulation. Virginia Tech held a three-point lead in the waning seconds before NC State's Camille Hobby sunk a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

The Hokies then put the game away with a 7-0 run and outscored the Wolfpack 26-14 overall in the extra period to clinch the historic upset. Sheppard had 18 of her 28 in overtime, outscoring NC State on her own in the period.

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No. 19 Arkansas knocks off No. 3 UConn 

No. 19 Arkansas had lost its last four meetings against top-25 opponents heading into Thursday night's showdown with No. 3 UConn. But the Razorbacks picked up its second such win of the season, topping the Huskies 90-87.

Chelsea Dungee led the charge for Arkansas with 37 points on 13-of-21 shooting (4-of-5 from 3), marking the most individual points scored against UConn since 1999-2000. Backcourt mate Amber Ramirez chipped in 22 points and 5 3-pointers. 

Huskies freshman Paige Bueckers finished with 27 points in the losing effort. Forward Aaliyah Edwards finished with six points and six rebounds in just 13 minutes before fouling out.

UConn shot 59 percent from the field in the first half, but held just a two-point lead. Arkansas then took control in the third quarter, outscoring the Huskies 31-19 to take a 10-point advantage into the final frame.

UConn chipped away at the late deficit and even took the lead on a Evina Westbrook 3-pointer with 5:28 to go. The Razorbacks then responded with a 13-3 run over the next four minutes and survived a potential game-tying Westbrook 3-point attempt that rimmed out at the buzzer.

No. 4 South Carolina continues to cruise through the SEC

While the two teams directly ahead in the poll faltered Thursday night, No. 4 South Carolina glided to its eighth SEC win, taking down No. 21 Mississippi State 75-52.

The Gamecocks trailed by one point at the end of the first quarter, but started the second frame on a 12-0 run and never relinquished the lead from there. 

Zia Cooke led the Gamecocks with 19 points — including a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line, stemming from relentless attacks to the basket. As a team the Gamecocks shot 19-for-22 from the stripe. 

South Carolina's inside game was the deciding factor in the matchup. The Bulldogs could not contain the Gamecocks, allowing 44 points in the paint, despite limiting star forward Aliyah Boston to just six points.

The Gamecocks also out-rebounded the Bulldogs, 51-18. Victaria Saxton recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds while Boston racked up a team-high 12 boards.

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