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Angel Reese, defending champion LSU, wins in the second half against Middle Tennessee | CBC Sports

Angel Reese had 20 points and 11 rebounds and third-seeded LSU responded to a nine-point third-quarter deficit with a dominant finish to beat No. 11 seed Middle Tennessee 83-1 in the second round of the women’s NCAA Tournament on Sunday. 56 in Baton Rouge, La.

Flau’Jae Johnson scored 21 goals for the defending champion Tigers (30-5) and played a key role in helping LSU to a comfortable second-half lead that ended the Blue Raiders’ 20-game winning streak.

The decisive win came a day after LSU coach Kim Mulkey railed against the Washington Post – and threatened possible legal action – over what she called an impending “hit piece” against her and promised that it would prepare would not affect their team’s ability to play in NCAA tournament games.

MTSU (30-5) led 41-32 and appeared poised to widen the gap when Reese, attempting a layup, tripped over a fallen teammate and crashed hard to the court, giving the Blue Raiders a 5-on-4 -Quick attack gave way.

But Jalynn Gregory’s open 3 bounced off the back rim to LSU guard Last-Tear Poa, who fired the ball into the court where Reese had just gotten up and made an uncontested layup.

That play spawned a 10-0 run, fueled in part by Mikaylah Williams’ pull-up jumper in transition and her left corner 3 that put the Tigers back in front at 42-41.

Later in the quarter, Johnson forced a turnover by tying up MTSU’s Ta’Mia Scott, then made a 3 and later hit a bail-out fall-away jumper as the shot clock expired.

LSU outscored Middle Tennessee 27-8 in the final 8:22 minutes of the third quarter, took a 59-49 lead after a layup by Reese and pulled ahead by as many as 30 points from then on.

MTSU’s 6-foot-6 starter Anastasiia Boldyreva scored nine points and blocked three shots, but was constantly challenged by LSU’s physical play in the zone and was fouled near the end of the third quarter. The Tigers then turned the game into a loss.

Savannah Wheeler, the Conference USA player of the year, scored 21 and Scott 15 for Middle Tennessee, which lost for the first time since Dec. 30.

Jada Grannum of Mississauga, Ont., grabbed 10 rebounds for MTSU.

Aneesah Morrow scored 19 points and Williams added 16 for LSU, which took a 24-15 lead and got the crowd at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center cheering early.

Duke upsets Ohio State

Reigan Richardson scored 28 points and added seven rebounds as No. 7 seed Duke overcame a 16-point first-half deficit to beat No. 2 seed Ohio State 75-63 on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio and secured a spot in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2008.

Richardson hit a three-pointer from the wing to give Duke a 59-57 lead with 5:21 left. That sparked a 13-2 run by the Blue Devils that put the game out of reach.

Ashlon Jackson scored 13 points and Taina Mair added 11 for the Blue Devils (22-11), who move on to Portland, Ore., to play the winner of Syracuse and UConn next weekend.

Emma Koebel of Port Colborne, Ont., had an assist and a steal for Duke, coming off the bench.

Cotie McMahon topped the Buckeyes with 27 points. Most of them were in the paint. Ohio State attempted just nine three-pointers in the game and didn’t make a single one until 12.2 seconds remained in the game.

Celeste Taylor, who transferred from Duke to Ohio State before the season, scored just six points before being eliminated with 6:38 to play.

Ohio State’s pressing defense gave Duke problems early as the Buckeyes built a 16-point lead. But the Blue Devils came roaring back. A 12-2 run cut the Buckeyes’ lead to 36-32 at halftime.

A large group of basketball players celebrate together in a large circle.
Duke guard Reigan Richardson (24) celebrates with his teammates after defeating Ohio State 75-63 during a second-round college basketball game in the women’s NCAA tournament on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio. (Aaron Doster/AP Photo via The Canadian Press)

In Friday’s first round, Ohio State defeated No. 15 seed Maine 80-57. Duke rebounded in the second half to defeat No. 10 seed Richmond.

The season ends for Ohio State, which advanced to the regional final last season.

South Carolina cruises to Sweet 16

Freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley had 20 points, including four three-pointers, Kamilla Cardoso recorded a double-double in her return from a one-game suspension and undefeated South Carolina reached its 10th with an 88-41 win over eighth-seeded North Sweet 16 straight Carolina in the women’s NCAA Tournament on Sunday in Columbia, S.C

The top-seeded Gamecocks (34-0) needed everything they had to come away with single-digit wins in their final two games against the Tar Heels (20-13). This time, South Carolina used a 15-0 run in the first quarter to take control and move within four wins of a perfect championship season.

The Gamecocks play either No. 4 seed Indiana or No. 5 seed Oklahoma in the Albany 1 Region on Friday.

Cardoso, a 6-foot-10 center from Brazil, sat out Friday’s tournament opener after being sent off for fighting in the Southeastern Conference Tournament title game two weeks ago. She finished the game with 12 points and 10 rebounds, her 14th double-double of the season.

The Tar Heels tried to keep things under control. But the Gamecocks, at full strength and playing so hard, outscored North Carolina 43-11 for 14 minutes in the first half and led 56-19 at halftime.

The youngest and newest Gamecocks led the attack. Freshman Tessa Johnson hit two straight rainbow 3-pointers and Fulwiley also scored from long range to give South Carolina a 28-8 lead after 10 minutes.

Chloe Kitts, a sophomore who hit all nine of her field goals for 21 points in the first round, scored 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting in the first half of that round. She finished with 12 points.

Tessa Johnson scored 11 points after going scoreless in the tournament’s opening 91-39 win over No. 16 seed Presbyterian.

North Carolina didn’t get closer than 31 points in the final two quarters. Maria Gadkeng, who had 17 points and 10 rebounds in Friday’s win over Michigan State, suffered three fouls in the first half. Leading scorer Deja Kelly had two fouls and five of the Tar Heels’ 11 turnovers in the first half.

Alyssa Ustby led North Carolina with 12 points.

North Carolina scored the fewest points in its 81-game NCAA Tournament history. The Tar Heels’ previous low point was a 55-46 loss to George Washington at the old Carolina Coliseum in Columbia 27 years ago.

The Gamecocks extended their program record with their 59th consecutive home win in their final game of the season at Colonial Life Arena, where they drew an NCAA-best 16,489 fans.

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