Top seed NC State beats Kansas State 89-57, into Sweet 16

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Kayla Jones scored 18 points to help top-seeded North Carolina State beat Kansas State 89-57 in Monday’s second round of the NCAA Tournament, earning a fourth straight trip to the Sweet 16.

Raina Perez and Diamond Johnson each added 15 points for the Wolfpack (31-3), who won their 12th straight game behind a dominating second-quarter performance. N.C. State shot 55% and made 9 of 19 3-pointers, romping to a lopsided win in front of a loud Reynolds Coliseum crowd for the final time this season.

The win sends N.C. State to the Bridgeport Region semifinal against Notre Dame on Saturday.

The matchup of Associated Press second-team All-Americans Elissa Cunane of the Wolfpack and Ayoka Lee of the Wildcats never truly materialized due to foul issues. But the Bridgeport Region’s headliner instead showed off its deep roster by getting production off the bench and continuing to roll anyway.

The 6-foot-5 Cunane headed to the bench less than 3 1/2 minutes into the game with her second foul and finishing with four points in 13 minutes.

The 6-6 Lee needed a little longer to get her second before also taking a seat early at the end of the period. She finished with 12 points, well below her season average of 22.3, despite playing 31 minutes.

NOTRE DAME 108, OKLAHOMA 64

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Dara Mabrey scored a season-high 29 points as No. 5 seed Notre Dame rolled past No. 4 Oklahoma.

Mabrey made 11 of 19 field goals, including seven 3-pointers. Sonia Citron scored 25 points and Maya Dodson added 20 for Notre Dame (24-8). According to Stats by STATS, Notre Dame became the first team, men’s or women’s, to beat a higher-seeded team by at least 40 points.

The win sends Notre Dame into the Bridgeport Region semifinal against top seed N.C. State on Saturday.

Taylor Robertson scored 19 points for Oklahoma (25-9). Skylar Vann had 11 points and nine rebounds, and Liz Scott had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Sooners, who committed 28 turnovers and shot just 32.3%.

UCONN 52, UCF 47

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Freshman Azzi Fudd scored 16 points and hit two key free throws late as No. 2 seed UConn outfought No. 7 seed UCF in a defensive slugfest to advance to an NCAA record 28th straight Sweet 16.

Christyn Williams added 12 points and Paige Bueckers had nine for the Huskies (27-5), who have not allowed an opponent to score more than 51 points in their last 10 games.

Diamond Battles scored 12 points, Brittney Smith added 11 and Tay Sanders had 10 for UCF (26-4), which saw its season end along with a 14-game winning streak.

INDIANA 56, PRINCETON 55

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Grace Berger scored the last of her 15 points on a spinning, tiebreaking layup with 28.2 seconds left and Nicole Cardano-Hillary added 12 points to help to help third-seeded Indiana beat 11th-seed Princeton.

Ali Patberg sealed the win in her home finale with a steal with 3.8 seconds left and Aleksa Gulbe closed it out with two free throws.

The Hoosiers (24-8) have won five of their last six and swept the first two NCAA Tournament games they’ve ever hosted — in front of a loud, large crowd. Indiana also has tied its single-season school record for wins.

Afterward the Hoosiers celebrated by jogging into the student section as the band played the school fight song and then lifted coach Teri Moren after the alma mater played. Indiana now faces second-seeded UConn.

WICHITA REGION

MICHIGAN 64, VILLANOVA 49

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Naz Hillmon had 27 points, 11 rebounds and five steals to help third-seeded Michigan pull away from No. 11 Villanova.

The Wolverines (24-6) earned a second straight trip to the Sweet 16 and will face 10th-seeded South Dakota on Saturday.

Michigan took control with a 10-0 run over the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth, turning what was a closely contested game into a lopsided victory. Leigha Brown had 20 points for the Wolverines.

The Wildcats (24-9) led by three points after the opening quarter, but they simply could not stop Hillmon.

Villanova also struggled to overcome Maddy Siegrist being held to single digits for just the sixth time this season. Siegrist, who ranked second in the nation with 25.8 points per game, had 12 points on 5-of 13-shooting.

TENNESSEE 70, BELMONT 67

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Sara Puckett hit a 3-pointer with 17.5 seconds left to put Tennessee ahead to stay as the fourth-seeded Lady Vols held off neighbor Belmont to advance to their first Sweet 16 since 2016.

The Lady Vols (25-8) improved to 23-1 on their home floor in the second round of a women’s NCAA Tournament they’ve played in all 40. They earned the program’s 29th Sweet 16 berth and will meet top-seeded Louisville on Saturday in the regional semifinal in Wichita, Kansas.

Tennessee had to scrap for this win after blowing a 14-point lead in the third quarter to lead only 48-46 going into the final quarter. The Lady Vols scored the first four of the final quarter for a 52-46 lead.

The Bruins went up 61-60 on Madison Bartley’s layup with 4:07 left. Tennessee tied it at 64 on a jumper by Alexus Dye with 2:39 left. Bartley put Belmont ahead 66-64 with another layup with 2:23 remaining.

Jamilyn Kinney, who attempted only seven free throws all season, missed both tries with 25.7 seconds left. After a Tennessee timeout, the Lady Vols got the ball to Puckett in the left corner, and she hit nothing but net.

SPOKANE REGION

OHIO STATE 79 LSU 64

Jacy Sheldon had 23 points, eight assists and three steals, and sixth seed Ohio State beat No. 3 seed LSU.

Taylor Mikesell scored 18 and Rebeka Mikulasikova had 12 points for the Buckeyes (25-6), who responded to a large, loud and hostile crowd in the Tigers’ home arena by seizing momentum in the opening quarter and putting LSU in the deepest deficit it had face all season at 24 points late in the third quarter.

LSU (26-6), which overcame a 10-point deficit inside the final five minutes of their first round game against Jackson State two days earlier, lacked the firepower to climb out of a bigger hole against Sheldon and Co.

Khayla Pointer, the Tigers’ second-team All-America guard, scored 32 points, but also missed 18 of her 30 shots, her dry spells coming as the Buckeyes pulled away. Jailin Cherry scored 12 points for LSU, which hit just twice from 3-point range on eight attempts.

GREENSBORO REGION

NORTH CAROLINA 63, ARIZONA 45

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Kennedy Todd-Williams scored 19 points, Deja Kelly added 15 and North Carolina overwhelmed Arizona to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in seven years.

The fifth-seeded Tar Heels (25-6) smothered Arizona from the start, using a 15-0 run to lead by nine at halftime, then stretched it 20 with a dominating third quarter. North Carolina held Arizona (22-7) to 29% shooting, including 7 from 27 from 3, to earn a spot in the Greensboro Region semifinals Friday against No. 1 overall seed South Carolina.

Sam Thomas led Arizona with 15 points.

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More AP coverage of March Madness: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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