Dunk delights in 1-seed Stanford’s big 1st-round NCAA win

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) —

Francesca Belibi blocked a shot at the 3-point line then drove the length of the floor and slammed the ball home with one hand for her third career dunk, thrilling her teammates in the second quarter of top-seeded Stanford’s 78-37 win against 16th-seeded Montana State on Friday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Belibi’s dunk was the first by a woman in the NCAA Tournament since Brittney Griner did it in 2013 and just the third overall along with Candace Parker’s feat in 2006. A 6-foot-1 junior who routinely dunks in warmups and practice, Belibi had a pair of slams last season — on Dec. 13, 2020, at rival California in Berkeley and a week later at UCLA.

Belibi finished with 12 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks, while Lexie Hull had 13 points and five assists, Hannah Jump scored 15 and Cameron Brink had 11 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks for Stanford (29-3). It was Stanford’s 21st straight victory and it’ll play No. 8 seed Kansas (21-9).

Taylor Janssen scored 12 for the Bobcats (22-13).

SPOKANE REGION

KANSAS 77, GEORGIA TECH 58

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Ioanna Chatzileonti had 15 points and 10 rebounds, Holly Kersgieter scored 19 points and eighth-seeded Kansas beat ninth-seeded Georgia Tech in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Six-foot-6 junior center Taiyanna Jackson finished with 14 points and seven rebounds for Kansas (21-9). She also swatted away a pair of shots to extend her a single-season school record to 92 blocks.

Digna Strautmane scored 18 points to lead the Yellow Jackets (21-11). Georgia Tech’s Lotta-Maj Lahtinen, who averaged 11 points this season, was held to seven points on 3-for-12 shooting, and just 1 of 6 on 3s.

FLORIDA GULF COAST 84, VIRGINIA TECH 81

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Karli Seay made a 3-pointer from the corner with 26 seconds remaining as 12th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast ousted fifth-seeded Virginia Tech despite a career-high 42 points by Elizabeth Kitley.

Kierstan Bell scored 22 points for FGCU, which was ranked in the AP Top 25 this week but received a double-digit seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles (30-2) showed exactly how dangerous they can be, overcoming a huge matchup problem against the 6-foot-6 Kitley, who scored Virginia Tech’s first 14 points of the fourth quarter.

FGCU leads the nation in 3-point attempts by a wide margin, so this game was quite a contrast in styles. The Eagles went 15 of 38 from beyond the arc while Kitley dominated inside. They play Maryland on Sunday.

UTAH 92, ARKANSAS 69

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Kennady McQueen scored 20 points and Utah unloaded a barrage of 3-pointers to bolt to a big early lead and coast to a win over Arkansas.

The seventh-seeded Utes built a 20-point lead in the first half, then used another burst of 3s to squelch an Arkansas rally in which the Razorbacks fought to get within 12 with six minutes left.

The Utes were long-range specialists all season as the Pac-12′s highest-scoring team, and had made at least nine 3-pointers in 19 games this season. On Friday, they were 15 of 31 from 3.

Gianna Kneepkens added 16 points for the Utes (21-11), who advance to play No. 2 seed Texas in Sunday’s second round.

Amber Ramirez scored 24 points to lead Arkansas (18-14).

TEXAS 70, FAIRFIELD 52

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Aaliyah Moore scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Texas overcame a gritty effort from Fairfield to open the NCAA Tournament with a 70-52 win.

Texas, a No. 2 seed, smothered No. 15-seed Fairfield early, holding the Stags under 10 points in each of the first two quarters as the Longhorns built a 39-18 lead by halftime and looked to be on cruise control. The Stags cut the lead to 10 early in the fourth quarter, but Texas extended their lead to 15 points.

Rori Harmon, the Big 12 freshman of the year, scored 10 points and had 11 assists for Texas (27-6).

Lou Lopez Senechal of France scored 17 points for Fairfield (25-7).

GREENSBORO REGION

SOUTH CAROLINA 79, HOWARD 21

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Aliyah Boston scored 10 points and had 12 rebounds while top-seeded South Carolina’s stifling defense held Howard to the fewest points ever in a women’s NCAA Tournament game.

It was the All-American’s 25th straight double-double.

The 21 points matched the fewest South Carolina has allowed in its history and broke the tournament record held by Kansas State, which scored 26 in a loss to UConn in 2012. The Gamecocks (30-2) held Howard (21-10) to an NCAA Tournament record-low four points in the first half as they took a 44-4 lead.

Iyanna Warren led Howard with eight points.

The Gamecocks play No. 8 seed Miami on Friday in the Greensboro Region.

MIAMI 78, SOUTH FLORIDA 66

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Karla Erjavec scored 14 points to lead a balanced Miami offense to victory over South Florida.

The No. 8 seeded Hurricanes (21-12) shot 54% and all 10 players who played more than a minute scored to help Miami win its ninth game in the last 11.

The Hurricanes led by as much as 19 before halftime, but ninth-seeded South Florida (24-9) kept hanging around. USF twice cut the deficit to nine in the second half but couldn’t get any closer.

Elena Tsineke led South Florida with 21 points and Elisa Pinzan added 19.

IOWA 98, ILLINOIS STATE 58

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Caitlin Clark had 27 points and 10 assists and Monika Czinano added 18 points as Iowa defeated Illinois State.

Gabbie Marshall and Tomi Taiwo each had 13 points for the Hawkeyes (24-7), the No. 2 seed in the Greensboro Region. They’ll play No. 10 seed Creighton on Sunday in the second round.

It was the 16th double-double of the season for Clark, an Associated Press first-team All-American who leads the nation in scoring at 27.4 points per game. Clark had a 15-minute scoreless stretch in the second and third quarters, but had six assists in the span during which Iowa extended its lead from nine points to 20.

JuJu Redmond led Illinois State (19-14), the No. 15 seed, with 25 points. Mary Crompton had 11.

CREIGHTON 84, COLORADO 74

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Morgan Maly matched a career high with 20 points and Lauren Jensen and Molly Mogensen each had 16 as 10th-seeded Creighton defeated No. 7 seed Colorado.

Emma Ronsiek added 10 points for the Bluejays (21-9), making their first NCAA appearance since 2018.

Creighton led 63-61 with 6:54 left in the fourth quarter, then pulled away with a 7-0 run.

Jaylyn Sherrod had a career-high 27 points for Colorado. Hollingshed, the Buffaloes’ leading scorer this season, had 15 points, 13 in the second half, and Quay Miller had 12.

IOWA STATE 78, UT ARLINGTON 71

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Ashley Joens scored a season-high 36 points and third-seeded Iowa State rallied to beat No. 14 seed UT Arlington.

The Mavericks were bidding to be the first 14-seed to ever win a game in the tournament and led by 12 in the first half before the Cyclones (27-6) came back.

Emily Ryan made a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 64 and followed with a layup to give the Cyclones the lead. Joens hit a 3-pointer that gave Iowa State a 73-67 cushion with 1:43 left and that was enough for Iowa State to avoid the upset.

Starr Jacobs finished with 19 points for the Mavericks (20-8).

Iowa State will play Georgia next.

GEORGIA 70, DAYTON 54

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Jenna Staiti scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds as sixth-seeded Georgia defeated No. 11 Dayton in the first round.

Que Morrison added 16 points for the Bulldogs (21-9) and also collected eight rebounds, while Jillian Hollingshead scored 15 points.

Makira Cook led the Flyers (26-6) with 21 points.

The first half featured six lead changes and four ties, before Georgia seized control.

WICHITA REGION

LOUISVILLE 83, ALBANY 51

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Hailey Van Lith scored 17 of her 20 points in the first half and top-seeded Louisville never looked back as the Cardinals routed Albany.

Louisville (26-4) used runs of 13-0, 14-0 and 9-0 in the first half to build a 48-20 halftime lead. The Great Danes (23-10) came into the tournament allowing just 48.6 points per game, the second-best defense in the country.

Emily Engstler added 17 points, seven rebounds and seven steals. Louisville shot 52.4%, with Kianna Smith adding 15 points. Louisville faces Gonzaga next.

Kayla Cooper led the Great Danes with 14 points, and Ellen Hahne added 11.

GONZAGA 68, NEBRASKA 55

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kayleigh Truong scored a career-high 20 points to lead Gonzaga past Nebraska in the first round of women’s NCAA Tournament on Friday.

Truong scored 15 of her points in the second half, and those came after she landed awkwardly in a second-quarter collision with Nebraska’s Jaz Shelley and missed the final five minutes of the first half. She scored the first two baskets of the second half as Gonzaga (27-6) won its sixth straight game.

Melody Kempton and Yvonne Ejim added 14 each for Gonzaga, which shot 46.4%.

Sam Haiby led Nebraska (24-9) with a season-high 20 points.

BAYLOR 89, HAWAII 49

WACO, Texas (AP) — NaLyssa Smith had 21 points and 14 rebounds, Jordan Lewis scored 23 and the Baylor women won their 19th consecutive first-round game in the women’s NCAA Tournament.

Smith and Lewis combined to score the first 27 Baylor points in the third quarter, when the No. 2 seed Bears outscored the Rainbow Wahine 34-8 after taking a modest nine-point lead into halftime.

Amy Atwell scored 29 points but was limited to nine after halftime as 15th-seeded Hawaii (20-10) faded and fell to 1-7 in the NCAA Tournament. The lone victory was in 1990.

Queen Egbo had 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Bears (28-6), who were coming off a loss to Texas in the Big 12 tournament championship game after winning their 12th consecutive regular-season title.

Baylor next plays Mississippi on Sunday.

SOUTH DAKOTA 75, MISSISSIPPI 61

WACO, Texas (AP) — Chloe Lamb scored 20 points as South Dakota beat Mississippi to earn their first NCAA Tournament victory.

Fellow senior Hannah Sjerven had 20 points and seven rebounds as the 10th-seeded Coyotes (28-5) broke through in their fourth consecutive tournament appearance. Freshman Maddie Krull scored 13 points.

The Rebels (23-9) were making their first NCAA appearance in 15 years and never led. Leading scorer Shakira Austin was 3 of 16 from the field and finished with nine points and 11 rebounds. Angel Baker was the only Ole Miss player in double figures with 23.

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