NCAA BASKETBALL: Louisville women slay another giant
Louisville and Notre Dame punched their tickets to the NCAA women’s Final Four by netting wins Tuesday night in their respective regional finals.
Shoni Schimmel scored 24 points and giant-slaying Louisville claimed another big upset, beating second-seeded Tennessee 86-78, in the Oklahoma City Region and earning the school’s second trip to the Final Four.
Two nights after taking down Brittney Griner and defending national champion Baylor, the fifth-seeded Cardinals (28-8) built a 20-point lead and then withstood a second-half comeback by the powerhouse Lady Vols (27-8) before celebrating another big victory.
Taber Spani led the Lady Vols with 20 points, and Meighan Simmons and Kamiko Williams chipped in 12 apiece.
Skylar Diggins shook off early foul trouble to score 24 points, and Notre Dame rallied to beat Duke 87-76 in the Norfolk Region final.
Kayla McBride added 17 points while Jewell Loyd and Natalie Achonwa had 17 each as the Fighting Irish (35-1) won their school-record 30th consecutive game, earning a fourth meeting with Connecticut. Notre Dame has won the first three this season and beaten UConn in the past two Final Fours.
Tricia Liston led Duke (33-3) with 19 points, but the Blue Devils had no answer when Notre Dame used a 15-2 run early in the second half to take a 50-42 lead. The Blue Devils lost in the regional finals for the fourth straight year, failing once again to return to the Final Four for the first time since 2006.
Haley Peters added 15 points for Duke.
MEN’S NIT: Iowa and Baylor will play in the NIT championship game after winning in the semifinals Tuesday.
Devyn Marble had 21 points and nine rebounds as the Hawkeyes drubbed Maryland, 71-60.
Iowa (25-12), which has recovered from a rocky start to its Big Ten season, won for the 11th time in 14 games. Eric May finished with 12 points, his last on a big 3-pointer with 1:01 to play that iced it for the Hawkeyes, who laid the foundation for a future Big Ten rivalry with Maryland, which is set to join the conference starting in 2014.
Alex Len had 16 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots for Maryland (25-13). Nick Faust added 14 points.
Pierre Jackson had 24 points and 10 assists to lift Baylor into the title game for the second time in five years with a 76-70 win over BYU.
Baylor’s Cory Jefferson scored 21 points and Isaiah Austin had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Bears.
Tyler Haws scored 25 points for the Cougars, who couldn’t buy a shot from 3-point range for much of the game. Baylor (22-14) pulled away in the final eight minutes or so, and then withstood a late furious rally by BYU, led by Matt Carlino on 5-for-15 3-point shooting. The rest of the Cougars (24-12) went 0-for-6.
MEN’S CIT: Akeem Richmond hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift East Carolina over Weber State 77-74 to claim the CollegeInsider.com tournament championship, capping the best season in school history.
The Pirates trailed 71-65 with 2:50 remaining but closed on a 12-3 run.
Weber State (30-7) had a chance to pad its late lead but had trouble at the line, making 9 of 19 free throws overall.
Miguel Paul led East Carolina with 23 points and Maurice Kemp added 20 for the Pirates (23-12), who tied a school record for wins in a season set by the 1953-54 squad.
Scott Bamfort led Weber State with 19 points, and Frank Otis and Davion Berry had 16 apiece.
The loss was Weber State’s first at home since Dec. 15. The Wildcats entered Tuesday’s game on a 14-game home winning streak.