Tennessee surprises Arizona State on its home floor to reach another Sweet 16 in women’s basketball

Tennessee surprises Arizona State on its home floor to reach another Sweet 16 in women’s basketball

Arizona State players sit on the bench during the second half of a second-round NCAA tournament game against Tennessee.

(Matt York / Associated Press)

Diamond DeShields scored 24 points, Mercedes Russell added 12 and the Tennessee women’s basketball team completed its improbable run to the Sweet 16 by beating Arizona State, 75-64, Sunday night in Tempe, Ariz.

Inconsistent all season, the Lady Vols (21-13) played like a national power not the No. 7 seed in the Sioux Falls Regional, controlling the paint to reach the Sweet 16 for the 34th time in 35 seasons. They’ve never lost in the second round.

Tennessee shot 52% and outscored Arizona State 42-27 inside to earn a spot in South Dakota on Friday against Ohio State.

Russell scored all 12 of her points in the first half and DeShields, who struggled in the NCAA opener, helped keep the second-seeded Sun Devils at bay with some big shots in the fourth quarter.


Arizona State (26-7) struggled against Tennessee’s length on the defensive end, shooting 39% to fall short of consecutive Sweet 16s. Elisha Davis scored 18 points, Quinn Dornstauder added 15 and Arnecia Hawkins 13 for Arizona State.

South Carolina 73, Kansas State 47: Tiffany Mitchell scored 16 of her 20 points in the first two quarters as the top-seeded Gamecocks (33-1) opened a big lead and breezed into the Sweet 16 for the fifth season in a row. South Carolina romped through its first two NCAA tournament games, defeating Jacksonville by 36 points before routing the ninth-seeded Wildcats (19-13). The Gamecocks will face Syracuse in the next round.

Breanna Lewis had 21 points to lead Kansas State, which had no answer once South Carolina got going.

Ohio State 88, West Virginia 81: Kelsey Mitchell scored 45 points, the fourth-highest total in NCAA tournament history, to help the Buckeyes (26-7) hold off the Mountaineers (25-10) in Columbus, Ohio. Mitchell, constantly battered by a West Virginia team determined to slow her down, made five three-pointers and also was 18 for 22 from the foul line as the Ohio State moved to the Sweet 16 round for the eighth time. Forward Shayla Cooper added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Buckeyes.


Despite Mitchell taking charge, the determined — and larger — Mountaineers kept it from getting out of hand, out-rebounding the Buckeyes 46-37 and scoring 36 of their points in the paint. Bria Holmes led West Virginia with 21 points.

Syracuse 79, Albany 59: Brittney Sykes scored nine of her 24 points during a third-quarter surge in Syracuse, N.Y., as the Orange (27-7) advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in eight tournament appearances and also set a school record for victories. Alexis Peterson added 22 points for Syracuse. The Great Danes (28-5) were unable to pull off a second consecutive upset after they rallied from 11 points in the fourth quarter to knock off Florida on Friday. Shereesha Richards scored 23 points to close her record-breaking career at Albany, where the three-time America East player of the year became the program’s first Division I All-American and career leading scorer.


Oregon State 69, St. Bonaventure 40: Jamie Weisner broke out of a slump and scored 23 points and the Beavers (29-4) took control after halftime in Corvallis, Ore. Sydney Wiese added eight points, six rebounds and six assists, Ruth Hamblin had 16 rebounds and Deven Hunter scored 11 points for Oregon State, which will play DePaul on Saturday in the Sweet 16.

Miranda Drummond scored 12 points and Katie Healy had eight points and six rebounds for the Bonnies (23-8).

DePaul 73, Louisville 72: Jessica January scored 18 of her season-high 25 points in the first half and the Blue Demons (27-8) held off the Cardinals (26-8) in Louisville, Ky. The junior guard’s final point was the decisive margin as she made the second of two free throws with 14.5 seconds left. January also had a team-high eight rebounds and five assists. DePaul reached its third Sweet 16 since 2011 and fourth in Coach Doug Bruno’s 30-year tenure.

Louisville trailed by 10 points with 8:36 to play but fought back to tie the score at 69 with 2:51 remaining. Briahanna Jackson led the Cardinals with 20 points, 16 in the second half. Her reverse layup again tied the score at 72 with 15 seconds left.

Baylor 84, Auburn 52: The Bears (35-1) got 30 points from Nina Davis in Waco, Texas, to advance to the Sweet 16 for the eighth year in a row. Baylor, which won its 22nd game in a row, never trailed after Alexis Jones hit a three-pointer on her first shot just like in the Bears’ tournament opener two days earlier. Jones finished with 16 points, seven steals and six assists, while freshman post Kalani Brown also had 16 points and senior point guard Niya Johnson had 10 assists in her last home game.


Brandy Montgomery had 14 points and Tra’cee Tanner 13 for the Tigers (20-13).

Bridgeport Regional

Mississippi State 74, Michigan State 72: Victoria Vivians scored 24 points and Breanna Richardson hit a crucial three-pointer with 34 seconds remaining to lead the Bulldogs (28-7) past the Spartans (25-9) in Starkville, Miss. Richardson’s shot gave Mississippi State a 72-69 lead. Michigan State’s Branndais Agee was fouled while shooting a three-pointer on the ensuing possession, but could only convert one of the free throws.

Mississippi State led 51-38 early in the third quarter, but Michigan State responded with the next 14 points to take a 52-51 edge going into the fourth. The Bulldogs will play the winner of the Connecticut-Duquesne game on Monday in the Sweet 16.

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