clear
Sunday December 17th, 2017 12:58AM

A 15-seed almost gets a win on opening day of women's NCAAs

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — It was a thrilling first day of the women's NCAA Tournament and there weren't any major upsets. Long Beach State and Belmont sure came close, though.

The 49ers were looking to become the first 15-seed to win a game, but fell just short against No. 2 Oregon State, 56-55. The 15 seeds are now 0-90 since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1994.

Afterward, Jody Wynn consoled her team.

"I told them they deserved to win — and they felt the same way," the coach said. "I thought our performance was there. It's a perennial women's basketball program that should be noted throughout the country.

Playing the role of Cinderella was new for the 49ers. Before Friday, their last appearance in the NCAAs was 1992. The school was a women's basketball power in the 1980s, reaching the Final Four in 1987 and '88.

A few hours before that potential upset, 13-seed Belmont fell to No. 4 Kentucky by three points as Maci Morris hit seven of eight free throws in the final 37 seconds to help the Wildcats win.

"That was fun," said coach Cameron Newbauer, whose team shot 46 percent. "Unfortunately, not the outcome we wanted but that was incredible to watch what our team just did. Kentucky is a great team."

Top seeds Notre Dame and South Carolina had no problems in their opening games. The Gamecocks beat UNC Asheville by 40 points — the biggest win in the school's NCAA history. The Irish topped Robert Morris 79-49. That's the smallest margin of victory for the Irish as a No. 1 seed.

Here are a few other interesting items from the opening day:

___

HOME SWEET HOME

When No. 10 seed Drake plays seventh-seeded Kansas State in its own building on Saturday, the Bulldogs won't feel like they're on the quite as much as you'd expect. Drake coach Jennie Baranczyk began her coaching career as an assistant under former Wildcats coach Deb Patterson. And the recruiting ties that she established in the area are a big reason why she has four players from the Kansas City area, including leading scorer Lizzy Wendell, and another from Wichita.

"It's been fun for me to come back and see all of the pictures and murals and those were a lot of the players that were on the team at that time," said Baranczyk, who was an assistant at Kansas State from 2002-04. "We have a lot of people from the Kansas City area, from Kansas, so we are going to have a big contingent here.

"As much as it is great for me to be able to come back," she said, "it's even better for our families to be able to travel and be here with us."

___

CALLING FOR HELP

For the third time since 2010, Hampton was assigned a first-round game against Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The 15th-seeded Pirates lost their previous postseason visits by 35 and 16 points, and the third matchup against the second-seeded Blue Devils comes Saturday night in the first round of the Bridgeport Regional.

"Our men's coach ... he speed-dialed Jesus when they played Kentucky" in the 2016 men's tournament, Hampton coach David Six said. "And I'm going to ask him to text me the number."

___

THANKFUL BEARS

California senior Courtney Range said the Golden Bears are "very grateful" and excited to be in the NCAA Tournament, just like any other team in the field.

The Golden Bears (19-13) are a No. 9 seed in the Oklahoma City Regional after following a school-record 13-0 start by going 6-13 the rest of the season — all against Pac-12 teams.

"I think this is the best time of year, and so I think our team can have a gratefulness and an excitement to be here, and yet still a willingness to compete and to want to win the game," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said.

Cal plays its first-round game Saturday night against LSU (20-11) in Waco, Texas.

"I know people want to focus on our conference record and all that kind of stuff, but I think our players are always hungry to prove that they're good," Gottlieb said. "I think they're always hungry to prove that we can compete, and if there's extra motivation to do that, sure, we'll use that. But the excitement to be in it, why not?

___

FIRED UP!

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey would like to see her team take on more of her personality, especially at the start of games.

"To put it simple, I'm fiery. I'm passionate. I pump my fist, and I want them to do that coming out of the gates," Mulkey said. "And I didn't think we did that in the last game until the fourth quarter."

The Lady Bears lost 77-66 to West Virginia in the Big 12 Tournament championship game on March 6.

"Well, we've got to do it in the first quarter, so that's what I'd like to see is them put four quarters together, and they've done that for the most part," Mulkey said. "I mean, my gosh, we're 30-3. Look who we've lost to. But it would be fun to watch them try to do every game these four, six, whatever we get to play, and see how good we really are."

The other Baylor losses this season were to Texas and at Connecticut.

___

SPECIAL MEANING:

UConn's Katie Lou Samuelson says this year's tournament means a bit more to her after breaking her left foot in last year's semifinals and missing the national championship game.

"There is a little fire inside of me," she said. "I kind of remember that bitter-sweet feeling of winning, but not being able to play. So, it's something that definitely motivates me and I'm really excited to go kind of back and starting with (Albany) play as hard as I possibly can.

Samuelson leads the team in scoring, averaging 21-points a game and shooting 44 percent from 3-point range.

Coincidently, the Huskies, who beat Syracuse for the 2016 title, could play the Orange in the second round on Monday in Storrs, if both advance on Saturday.

"It's kind of funny how things kind of work out like that," Samuelson said. "We both have to take care of business, but it would be kind of interesting to see. I didn't get to play them, so it would be interesting for me."

___

AP Sports Writers Dave Skretta in Manhattan, Kansas, Pat Eaton-Robb in Storrs, Connecticut and Stephen Hawkins in Waco, Texas contributed to this story.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Sports - Women's College Basketball
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Republicans urge Trump on tapes; Sessions to testify Tues
Fellow Republicans are pressing President Donald Trump to come clean about whether he has tapes of private conversations with former FBI Director James Comey and provide them to Congress if he does _ or possibly face a subpoena
3:05PM ( 12 minutes ago )
1 winning Powerball ticket sold in California worth $447M
Single winning Powerball ticket sold in California worth $447 million, 10th largest lottery prize in U.S. history
3:02PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Puerto Rico votes on possible statehood
Puerto Ricans are getting the chance to tell U.S. Congress on Sunday which political status they believe best benefits the U.S. territory as it remains mired in a deep economic crisis that has triggered an exodus of islanders to the U.S mainland
3:01PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Perfect 10: Nadal routs Wawrinka for record 10th French Open
Artist on clay: Nadal romps to record 10th French Open title; Wawrinka deems him 'too good'
2:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Roddick astonished by Nadal's run in Paris
Former top-ranked Andy Roddick has expressed his astonishment at Rafael Nadal's incredible run to his 10th French Open title
12:55PM ( 2 hours ago )
Preds defenseman Ryan Ellis skates before Game 6
Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis' status for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against Pittsburgh remains in question after he tested himself by skating alone
12:46PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Stress test: High-wire Cavaliers still alive in NBA Finals
Bounce back, come back: The Cavaliers are up to their old tricks, staving off elimination in the NBA Finals.
2:26PM ( 1 day ago )
Cavs halt Warriors perfect postseason, party in Game 4
Another comeback? Cavaliers down Warriors 137-116 in Game 4 to stay alive in NBA Finals
7:33AM ( 1 day ago )
Same place as last year: Warriors up 3-1, NBA Finals go west
The NBA Finals are right where they were last year and could still end with the same finish
3:31AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Basketball
Oregon St's Luke Heimlich asks to be excused from playing
Oregon State's top pitcher, who as a teenager pleaded guilty to molesting a young girl, has released a statement saying he has asked to be excused from playing
1:26AM ( 1 day ago )
Tebow says he's loving the minor league grind to get better
Tim Tebow believes he is improving each day in pursuit of big-time baseball success in spite of what his stats may say
6:54PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Cosby's decade-old testimony is read to the jury
The jury at Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial has heard from the comedian without him actually taking the stand
9:21PM ( 2 days ago )
College Sports
Cosby's accuser stands by her story under cross-examination
The woman who says Bill Cosby drugged and molested her over a decade ago is off the stand after giving little ground during cross-examination
9:57PM ( 3 days ago )
Cosby's chief accuser denies romance before alleged assault
Bill Cosby's chief accuser is denying any prior romance between them
12:42PM ( 4 days ago )
Cosby accuser to resume testimony in sex assault trial
A woman who accuses Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting her in 2004, is returning to the witness stand to testify at the comedian's sexual assault trial
10:45AM ( 4 days ago )
AP Sports - Women's College Basketball
1 winning Powerball ticket sold in California worth $447M
Single winning Powerball ticket sold in California worth $447 million, 10th largest lottery prize in U.S. history
3:02PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Puerto Rico votes on possible statehood
Puerto Ricans are getting the chance to tell U.S. Congress on Sunday which political status they believe best benefits the U.S. territory as it remains mired in a deep economic crisis that has triggered an exodus of islanders to the U.S mainland
3:01PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Polish police charge Solidarity activist, other protesters
Polish police say they are filing charges against several people, including a prominent democracy activist from the Solidarity era, for obstructing a memorial observance for the late President Lech Kaczynski
2:49PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Key developments in Minnesota officer's manslaughter trial
The manslaughter trial of a Minnesota police officer who shot and killed a black motorist will resume Monday with closing arguments
2:43PM ( 34 minutes ago )
The Latest: Le Pen calls turnout catastrophic in France vote
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is lamenting "catastrophic" low turnout in the first round of parliamentary elections dominated by President Emmanuel Macron's new centrist party
2:43PM ( 35 minutes ago )