NCAA women’s tournament
DURHAM ó Freshman Chelsea Gray scored all 13 of her points in the second half to help Duke rally from 11 down and beat Marist 71-66 on Monday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Gray hit the go-ahead free throws with 2:27 left, part of an 11-0 run that helped the second-seeded Blue Devils (31-3) escape what would have been a stunning loss on their own home court. She also knocked down a long 3-pointer to beat the shot clock, then followed her free throws by poking the ball loose from Kate Oliver and getting out in transition for a layup that capped the run and gave Duke a 65-60 lead with 1:33 left.
Jasmine Thomas scored 17 points to lead the Blue Devils, who have won 16 straight NCAA games at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke advanced in the Philadelphia Regional to the round of 16 for the second straight year and will face third-seeded DePaul.
Duke ended Maristís 27-game winning streak, which was the longest in the nation.
Corielle Yarde scored 25 to lead the 10th-seeded Red Foxes (31-3), who led most of the night and had a chance to force overtime. Trailing 69-66, Maristís Leanne Ockenden missed a good look on a 3-pointer in the final seconds. Duke freshman Haley Peters came up with the rebound and hit two free throws with 1.9 seconds left to seal the win.
UNC 86, Kentucky 74
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. ó Italee Lucas scored 22 points and Jessica Breland added 18, helping North Carolina hold off Kentucky 86-74 in the second round of the NCAA tournament Monday night, the Tar Heelsí superior size trumping the Wildcatsí awesome quickness.
North Carolina (27-8) will face Stanford on Saturday in Spokane, Wash. The fifth-seeded Tar Heels reached the round of 16 one year after going one-and-out in the NCAA tournament without Breland, who missed last season while fighting cancer.
The fourth-seeded Wildcats were led by Victoria Dunlapís 23 points. Kentucky, which hasnít beaten North Carolina in five tries, finished 25-9 a year after reaching the round of eight.
North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said Sunday that she was more than willing to turn this game into a ěhorse raceî with the lightning quick Wildcats.
whose game is built around a stifling pressure defense, something Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell welcomed, saying a run-and-gun game might shake his team out of its offensive doldrums.
North Carolinaís superior size produced a dominance on the defensive glass that led to dozens of transition baskets.
The Tar Heels outrebounded Kentucky 55-31 and outscored the Wildcats 18-2 on the fast break, 17-9 on second-chance points and 40-34 in the paint.
But the Wildcats forced 817 turnovers this season, including 22 Monday night, and they scored 24 points off those takeaways.
So, Kentucky cut a 15-point second-half deficit to just two points in the waning minutes and had a chance to take the lead late in the game but never did.
The Tar Heels sank 21 of 22 free throws in the second half to fend off Kentuckyís comeback hopes.
Breland had a bank shot, Krista Gross (14 points, 10 rebounds) hit two free throws and Lucas sank a 3-pointer and four foul shots down the stretch to help North Carolina advance.
The Tar Heels led by 15 early in the second half and were threatening to turn this one into a laugher when the Wildcats starting chipping away at their 52-37 deficit.
Chay Shegog sank a sweet hook shot but at the other end picked up her fourth foul with 16:32 remaining and had to take a seat as Aídia Mathiesí completed the three-point play to pull the Wildcats to 46-37.
Dunlap, playing in her record 133rd game for Kentucky, scored six points in an 11-0 run that cut North Carolinaís lead to 63-60 with 7:40 left.
The Wildcats had a chance to go ahead but Crystal Riley threw up an airball from beyond the arc with North Carolina leading 67-65, and Breland sank two free throws at the other end. After a hook by Brittany Henderson for Kentucky, Brelandís leaning bank shot made it 71-67.
The Tar Heels outrebounded the Wildcats 26-15 in the first half, and that fueled two separate 8-0 runs as they took a 40-30 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Their first 8-0 spurt gave them a 24-18 lead.
Gross, who was held to two points in North Carolinaís first-round win over Fresno State, had two of the baskets and Lucas had the other two, including one following a steal by Breland.
North Carolinaís second 8-0 spurt, also fueled by the fastbreak that started with big boards from their taller inside players, gave the Tar Heels a 34-25 lead with 1:26 left in the first half.
Both teamís fickle forwards had much better starts than they did in their first-round games on this floor 48 hours earlier.
Dunlap, the SEC player of the year, was plagued by foul trouble in the opener and, according to her coach, a lack of focus in the opener. Breland, whose lungs were damaged by chemotherapy drugs while undergoing cancer treatment last year, was affected by the altitude.
Dunlap pledged not to commit silly fouls and she finished with two infractions. Breland worked up a sweat in warmups and hit her second wind in the first half. Both of them had good games on this night.
The Associated Press