“It all started with rebounding,” Breland said after the Tar Heels’ 55-31 dominance on the boards led to all sorts of problems for the smaller and quicker Wildcats.
North Carolina (27-8), which made it to the ACC tournament final, will face top-seeded Stanford on Saturday in Spokane, Wash.
The fourth-seeded Wildcats were led by Victoria Dunlap’s 23 points but she grabbed just four rebounds—less than half her average—and only one off the defensive glass, which set the tone for a long night. Kentucky, which hasn’t beaten North Carolina in five tries, finished 25-9 a year after reaching the round of eight.
The Tar Heels outrebounded Kentucky 55-31 and outscored the Wildcats 18-2 on the fast break and 17-9 on second-chance points.
Also, North Carolina sank 21 of 22 free throws in the second half to fend off Kentucky’s comeback hopes.
DUKE 71, Marist (Red Foxes, 5,300 students, Poughkeepsie, NU) 66 – Chelsea Gray and the Blue Devils made a late surge to beat Marist sending them on to the tournament’s round of 16 for the 13th time in 14 years.
Gray scored all 13 of her points in the second half to help Duke (31-3) rally from 11 down, including the go-ahead free throws with 2:27 left in an 11-0 run that finally put the second-seeded Blue Devils ahead for good.
Krystal Thomas added 10 second-half points, while fellow senior Jasmine Thomas had a team-high 17 as the Blue Devils escaped a stunning loss on their home court.
Despite playing the second half without injured leading scorer Erica Allenspach, the 10th-seeded Red Foxes (31-3) led 60-54 on a 3-pointer from Kate Oliver with 5:22 left and even had a shot to tie it in the final seconds after the Blue Devils had taken the lead.
Corielle Yarde had 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead Marist, which had won 27 straight games overall.
Duke shot 55 percent in the second half after going 11-for-34 (32 percent) before the break, with Thomas setting a more physical tone by scoring on several stickbacks in the paint.
Marist came in averaging a national-low 11 turnovers, but Duke forced the Red Foxes into a season-high 20 turnovers that led to 28 points.
|Jantel Lavender defending.|
Ohio State (Buckeyes, 50,144 students, Columbus, OH) 67, GEORGIA TECH 60 – Jantel Lavender scored 17 of her 21 points in the second half to set an NCAA record with her 135th straight double-figure scoring game, leading Ohio State past Georgia Tech Monday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Lavender, who had been tied with Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris with 134 consecutive games of 10 or more points, also grabbed 11 rebounds.
Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said when Lavender got untracked, the game shifted.
“She is the best post player in the country, and one of the top three players,” Joseph said. “She was aggressive in the second half. In the first half, she was a little passive, setting picks outside away from the basket. But then they started getting the ball to her on the block.”
Samantha Prahalis added 16 points and eight assists, and Ashley Adams scored 11 for the fourth-seeded Buckeyes (24-9), who have won 11 in a row.
Metra Walthour had 15 points to lead the fifth-seeded Yellow Jackets (24-11), who have never advanced past the second round in seven NCAA appearances. Goodlett and Tyaunna Marshall each had 12 points for Georgia Tech, which led by as many as four early in the second half before an unfriendly crowd at Ohio State’s backup home, St. John Arena.
Meanwhile, the Jackets hit just 2 of 17 behind the arc (12 percent) and consistently missed open jumpers while shooting 39 percent.