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NCAA COLLEGE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT | WOMEN'S ROUNDUP

No. 1 Connecticut Romps

March 18, 2000|From Associated Press

It only gets harder for Connecticut. That's what happens when you win your NCAA tournament opener by 71 points.

The top-ranked Huskies routed Hampton, 116-45, Friday night at Storrs, Conn., in the NCAA East Regional, matching the tournament record for most points in a half with 65 in the opening 20 minutes.

"It's hard to beat us when we're playing really, really well," Connecticut Coach Geno Auriemma said after his team reached triple digits for the eighth time this season. "And we played really well tonight. The talent we have and Hampton has is unfair. These games have a tendency to be one-sided. At times, it's unfortunate."

Hampton (16-15) had only one player taller than 6 feet, and Connecticut (31-1) ran off to a 25-4 lead, getting most of its points in transition.

All-American Shea Ralph had nine points in that run, all on breakaways. She led the Huskies with 20 points and was one of six Connecticut players in double figures. The Huskies' reserves contributed 52 points.

Clemson 64, Drake 50--Erin Batth scored 17 points and had nine rebounds to lead the Tigers (19-11) over the Bulldogs (23-7) at Storrs.

Poor shooting plagued both teams early in the game, but Drake also had trouble handling the ball and Clemson took advantage. The Tigers converted 15 turnovers into 14 points in the first half.

Stephen F. Austin 73, Xavier 72--Lashinda Winters made the winning shot with 8.5 seconds to play as the Ladyjacks (28-3) upset the Musketeers (26-5) at Baton Rouge, La.

Winters, a 5-foot-3 reserve guard, scored 15 points. None were bigger than her layup that bounced around the rim several times before dropping through.

A three-point attempt by Xavier's Nicole Levandusky, who had five three-point baskets, bounced off the back of the rim with 1.5 seconds remaining.

Louisiana State 77, Liberty 54--Marie Ferdinand scored 22 points and the Tigers (23-6) broke open a tight game with a second-half run to rout the Lady Flames (23-8) at Baton Rouge.

LSU's halftime lead was only 29-28.

MIDEAST REGIONAL

Notre Dame 87, San Diego 61--Ruth Riley and Niele Ivey each scored 14 points as the Irish (26-4), wearing green on St. Patrick's Day rather than their usual gold home uniforms, routed the Toreros (17-13) at South Bend, Ind.

San Diego had no starter taller than 6 feet and couldn't contend inside with Notre Dame's frontcourt, led by the 6-5 Riley.

MIDWEST REGIONAL

Iowa State 92, St. Francis 63--Angie Welle scored 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and the Cyclones (26-5) set an NCAA Midwest Regional record by making 15 three-point baskets in routing the Red Flash (23-8) at Ames, Iowa.

Stacy Frese and Megan Taylor each added 17 points, Desiree Francis had 16 and Lindsey Wilson 13 for Iowa State, which won its eighth in a row.

Jess Zinobile, the nation's third-leading scorer, had 27 points in a strong performance for St. Francis.

Illinois 73, Utah 58--Allison Curtin scored 22 points and Susan Blauser 20 to lead the Illini (23-10) over the Utes (23-8) at Ames.

Illinois made the plays it needed at the end after Utah cut a 22-point lead to seven.

Penn State 83, Youngstown 63--Lisa Shepherd scored 18 points to lead the Lady Lions (27-4) over the Lady Penguins (22-9) at State College, Pa.

Andrea Garner added 14 points and four blocks for Penn State and Helen Darling, selected earlier in the day as the nation's best small player, had eight assists and 13 of Penn State's 51 rebounds.

Auburn 78, Southwest Missouri 74--Lori Nero scored 23 points, Tasha Hamilton had 21 and the Tigers (22-7) made 26 of 27 free throws to hold off the Bears (23-9) at State College.

Southwest Missouri rallied from a 13-point deficit in the final minutes, using a full-court press that gave Auburn fits. The Bears got three steals, forced a traveling violation and made eight of 10 free throws to pull within 74-71 with 1:37 to play..

Then the Bears' Carolyn Weirick blocked a layup by Conswella Sparrow and Jackie Stiles got to the line at the other end. But she missed one of two foul shots and Southwest Missouri trailed, 74-72, with 45 seconds left.

Auburn (22-7) answered by making four free throws.

WEST REGIONAL

Alabama Birmingham 80, Oregon 79--Shaquetta Rhodes' putback with three seconds left in overtime gave the Lady Blazers a thrilling upset of the Ducks at Eugene.

Deanna Jackson had 27 of her career-high 32 points in the first half for the 11th-seeded Lady Blazers (20-12).

Shaquala Williams had 17 points to lead the sixth-seeded Ducks (23-8).

Mississippi State 94, Saint Peter's 60--LaToya Thomas had 26 points and 15 rebounds as the Lady Bulldogs (24-7), making only the second NCAA tournament appearance in the program's 26-year history, routed the Peahens (23-8) at Eugene.

Rutgers 91, Holy Cross 70--The Scarlet Knights (23-7) withstood a first-half barrage from Anna Kinne and then ran away from the Crusaders (23-7) with a 26-4 second-half run at Piscataway, N.J.

Kinne led Holy Cross with 28 points.

St. Joseph's 69, Texas 48--Irish national team member Susan Moran celebrated St. Patrick's Day with 24 points and 13 rebounds, leading the Hawks (25-5) over the Longhorns (21-13) at Piscataway.

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