Top-seeded and top-ranked North Carolina turned on its fun-and-run game in spurts Saturday night, and that was more than enough for a 75-51 victory over 16th-seeded UC Riverside in the first round of the Cleveland Regional in Nashville.
Rashanda McCants scored 15 points, Ivory Latta 14, Erlana Larkins 13 and LaToya Pringle 11 for the Tar Heels (30-1), who scored the first basket and never looked back in what Coach Sylvia Hatchell called a sloppy game.
"We're glad to get this one behind us," Hatchell said. "We're looking forward to playing on Monday night."
This is North Carolina's 18th trip to the NCAA tournament. The Tar Heels won the national title in 1994 and lost last season in a regional final to eventual champion Baylor.
It's quite a different story for UC Riverside (16-15), which in its fifth year as a Division I team received its first NCAA berth after winning the Big West Conference tournament on a late three-pointer.
Forget not having played an Atlantic Coast Conference team before, the Highlanders had played only six teams outside California this season. Starting three freshmen and two sophomores, they also are the youngest team in the tournament.
"This was a great experience seeing where the bar is and how hard we have to work to get close to that bar," UC Riverside Coach John Margaritis said.
Latta said she didn't see any fear in the Highlanders' eyes, something she has seen in other opponents. Hatchell thinks the Highlanders have a bright future ahead.
Amber Cox was the lone Highlander in double figures with 10 points.
Vanderbilt 76, Louisville 64 -- Caroline Williams made six three-pointers and finished with 21 points for the Commodores (21-10), who improved to 15-0 in tournament games on their home floor at Memorial Gym.
Jazz Covington scored 13 points for No. 8 Louisville (19-10), which has lost four straight NCAA tournament games.
Michigan State 65, Wisconsin Milwaukee 46 -- Liz Shimek scored 17 of her 27 points in the final 20 minutes for the fourth-seeded Spartans (23-9) in Rosemont, Ill.
Thirteenth-seeded Wisconsin-Milwaukee (22-9), making just its second NCAA appearance, trailed by only one at the half and was down only three with just under 12 minutes to go.
Then Shimek, a strong and mobile 6-foot-1 senior, showed why she is the leading scorer in Michigan State history. The 14-2 run in which she scored 10 gave MSU a 49-34 lead with just under eight minutes to go.
Kentucky 69, Chattanooga 59 -- Sarah Elliott scored a season-high 22 points in Rosemont to help the fifth-seeded Wildcats end the Moccasins' 26-game winning streak.
Samantha Mahoney added 14 points, and Jennifer Humphrey scored all of her 11 in the second half. She was one for three from the field, but nine for 12 from the free-throw line for the Wildcats (22-8).
Chattanooga (27-4) fell one win shy of the school record it set two years ago.
SAN ANTONIO REGIONAL
Louisiana State 72, Florida Atlantic 48 -- Seimone Augustus scored 22 points in 27 minutes for the top-seeded Tigers in Nashville.
The Tigers (28-3) started a little sluggishly and even trailed, 14-13, before Augustus, the two-time Southeastern Conference and last year's national player of the year, took control. She scored 10 of the next 20 points for LSU, which finished off the first half with a 22-4 run and led, 35-18, at halftime.
Washington 73, Minnesota 69 -- Also in Nashville, Kristen O'Neill scored four points in the final minute, including a tiebreaking three-pointer with 56.6 seconds left, to lead the ninth-seeded Huskies (19-10) to their first NCAA tournament win since 2001.
Neither team led by more than four points for the final 15:14. O'Neill's three ended a 67-67 tie.
The eighth-seeded Golden Gophers (19-10).had a chance to send the game into overtime trailing, 71-69, but Brittney Davis turned the ball over on a drive with five seconds left.
Brigham Young 67, Iowa 62 -- Ambrosia Anderson scored 20 points and the seventh-seeded Cougars (26-5) used their post play early to open up the perimeter in Denver, where they won their first NCAA tournament game in four years.
Megan Skouby led 10th-seeded Iowa (17-12) with 19 points.
DePaul 68, Liberty 43 -- Khara Smith had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the fourth-seeded Blue Demons (26-6) in Rosemont.
A moment of silence in memory of Hall of Fame men's coach Ray Meyer, who died Friday, was held before the National Anthem.
Florida State 80, Louisiana Tech 71 -- Holly Johnson had 25 points and Alicia Gladden 20 in Denver for the sixth-seeded Seminoles (20-9), who used two big first-half runs to end the 11th-seeded Lady Techsters' 12-game winning streak.
Tulsa 71, North Carolina State 61 -- Megan Moody scored 20 points and the 12th-seeded Golden Hurricane (26-5) converted seven free throws in the final minute in Rosemont.
Tiffany Stansbury scored 11 for the fifth-seeded Wolfpack (19-12), a first-round loser for the third straight year.