N.C. State and Baylor advance to showdown

Posted: March 19, 2007

The competition among teams in the NCAA women's basketball tournament is not the only battle drawing attention at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

There's also the battle against breast cancer being fought by North Carolina State coach Kay Yow, a member of both the Women's and Naismith Basketball Halls of Fame.

Yow recently returned to the sideline after missing two months of the season, and her players have been so motivated that they pulled upsets over two Atlantic Coast Conference rivals that are considered NCAA title contenders.

The Wolfpack (24-9) beat North Carolina near the end of the season and then in the conference tournament surprised Duke in the semifinals to hand the No. 1-ranked Blue Devils their only loss.

N.C. State got off to an impressive start in the NCAA tournament's first round yesterday against Robert Morris, 84-52, as Marquetta Dickens led three Wolfpack players in double figures by scoring 25 points.

Yow's team is seeded fourth in the Fresno Regional; the Colonials (24-8) were 13th.

Robert Morris' Chinata Nesbit and Sugeiry Monsac each scored 20 points, while Monsac also grabbed 18 rebounds.

"I was really pleased with the focus, the intensity of our team in this game on defense," Yow said.

She also noted that the two weeks off since the ACC tournament were helpful. "We needed the rest physically and emotionally as well, so I know that being off really helped, but yet we had to get back in the rhythm."

Baylor 68, Chattanooga 55 - Fifth-seeded Baylor (26-7), the 2005 NCAA champion, had more of a struggle in the second game before pulling away in the closing minutes to beat No. 12 Chattanooga in Raleigh.

Five players scored in double figures for the Bears, with Jessica Morrow getting a team-high 13 points. The Mocs (25-8) were led by Alex Anderson, with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Two players with the Wolfpack have Philadelphia connections. Gillian Goring, a 6-foot-7 center, played at Germantown Academy. She had eight points and seven rebounds yesterday. Freshman 6-4 center Chanita Jordan, who saw limited action, is a graduate of University City High.

Wisconsin-Green Bay 59, New Mexico 52 - The Phoenix used a huge second-half run to keep their big winning streak alive in Hartford, Conn.

Nicole Soulis scored 15 points, and the ninth-seeded Phoenix (29-3) opened the second half with a 20-5 spurt to extend their winning streak to 26 games with a victory over No. 8 New Mexico (24-9).

Connecticut 82, UMBC 33 - Renee Montgomery scored 19 points and Charde Houston added 15 to help top-seeded UConn (30-3) rout Maryland-Baltimore County (16-17) in Hartford.

Dallas Regional

Notre Dame 62, California 59 - Tulyah Gaines made two free throws with 16.5 seconds remaining after Charel Allen scored a key basket and set up another, and the eighth-seeded Irish (20-11) rallied to victory over Cal (23-9) in Pittsburgh.

The Irish, making their 12th consecutive tournament appearance, relied on Allen's 13 points and Melissa Lechlitner's 12 to reach the second round tomorrow against North Carolina.

North Carolina 95, Prairie View 38 - In the second game in Pittsburgh, the Tar Heels (31-3) needed less than four minutes to open a 20-point lead and cruised after that behind 14 points each from Camille Little and Jessica Breland in a rout of Prairie View A&M (19-14).

Greensboro Regional

Duke 81, Holy Cross 44 - Abby Waner hit six three-pointers and scored 20 of her 22 points during an overwhelming first half, and top-seeded Duke (31-1) cruised to a rout of the Crusaders (15-18) in Raleigh.

Vanderbilt 62, Delaware State 47 - Christina Wirth scored 17 points to lead a balanced Vanderbilt attack, and the second-seeded Commodores (28-5) pulled away from Delaware State (20-13) in the second half in East Lansing, Mich.

Bowling Green 70, Oklahoma State 66 - Bowling Green won an NCAA tournament game for the first time since 1989, and it wasn't easy.

The Falcons (30-3), who had lost six consecutive opening-round games, knocked Oklahoma State (20-11) out of the tournament in East Lansing.

Michigan State 69, Delaware 58 - Michigan State's talent, size and depth were too much for the Blue Hens in East Lansing.

Allyssa DeHaan had 13 points to lead the fifth-seeded Spartans (24-8) to a win over the No. 12 Blue Hens (26-6).

Rutgers 77, East Carolina 34 - Matee Ajavon scored 20 and Kia Vaughn had 14 points and seven rebounds, helping the fourth-seeded Scarlet Knights (23-8) rout the 13th-seeded Pirates (19-14) in East Lansing.

Dayton Regional

Mississippi 88, Texas Christian 74 - Armintie Price scored 21 points and the seventh-seeded Rebels (22-10) forced 23 turnovers in a first-round victory over Texas Christian (21-11), seeded 10th, in Hartford.

Maryland 89, Harvard 65 - Kristi Toliver scored 13 points and added nine assists to help second-seeded Maryland (28-5) beat No. 15 Harvard (15-13) in the second game in Hartford.

Tennessee 76, Drake 37 - Alexis Hornbuckle led a late surge in the first half that broke open a tight game, carrying the top-seeded Vols (29-3) over the Bulldogs (14-19) in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh 71, James Madison 61 - Marcedes Walker outmuscled James Madison (27-6) at both ends of the court in Pittsburgh for 20 points and 15 rebounds, and Pittsburgh (24-8) won the first NCAA tournament women's basketball victory in school history.

This article contains information from the Associated Press.

Contact staff writer Mel Greenberg at 215-584-5725 or mgreenberg@phillynews.com.

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