Tennessee loses, NC State headed to Sweet 16

16
Tennessee loses, NC State headed to Sweet 16
Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick watches the second half of a second-round game against Oregon State in the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 18, 2018, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

NEW YORK (AP) — Tennessee’s streak is over, N.C. State is headed to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 11 years and Texas A&M pulled off another record comeback.

It was an eventful start to the second round.

The Lady Vols had been 57-0 at home in the women’s NCAA Tournament before Sunday. Sixth-seeded Oregon State ended that run with a 66-59 victory.

Most of those victories came under late Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt, who led the program to eight national championships. Now that’s two straight seasons the Lady Vols were sent home before the Sweet 16. That’s only happened one other time to the storied program in the 37 years it has played in the tournament.

“You come here wanting to win championships and the expectations are extremely high. Sometimes the things thrown at these kids are unfair,” Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said. “They come wanting to learn and get better and just play the game. They get criticized quite a bit.”

While Oregon State advanced to its third straight Sweet 16, the Wolfpack are back there for the first time since 2007 when N.C. State made an inspirational run under coach Kay Yow.

Grad transfer Kiara Leslie was the key to N.C. State advancing past Maryland. She had 21 points and 11 rebounds against her former team, and N.C. State beat Maryland 74-60 on Sunday in the second round.

Leslie, who spent three seasons at Maryland before graduating and transferring to N.C. State, finished one point shy of a career high while also leading the defensive effort on the Terps’ leading scorer.

“My teammates knew that this game was important to me,” Leslie said. “And I think they helped me get comfortable and get open shots, and they also came ready to play.”

Texas A&M struggled early and found itself down 17 points to DePaul in the second half. The Aggies had been in that position before, rallying from a 21-point deficit against Penn last season in the opening round. They didn’t panic and freshman Chennedy Carter took over, scoring 32 of her 37 points in the final 20 minutes, including a 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left to complete the comeback which was the fourth largest all-time in the tournament and biggest ever in the second round.

“Chennedy is a great player, knocked down shots, and we had no answer for her,” DePaul coach Doug Bruno said.

Here are other tidbits from Sunday’s second-round games:

SUPER GLUE: Notre Dame senior captain Kathyrn Westbeld was sitting in a boot before the Irish’s game against Villanova. She sprained her ankle in the opener and was doubtful to play against the Wildcats. With her team tied at the half, Westbeld started the third and was an inspiration for the Irish who went on to a 98-72 victory.

“She changed the course of the game,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw. “I thought we defended a lot better in the second half and with Kathryn we’re a very different team.”

In 16 minutes, Westbeld scored just two points and had six rebounds but she left to a standing ovation and got a heartfelt hug from her coach, both of them fighting back tears as they realized it was Westbeld’s last game on her home court.

“She was in a boot before the game,” McGraw said. “I thought it was a motivating and inspiring moment for the team.”

QUOTABLE: The usually loquacious Texas A&M coach Gary Blair decided it was best to not say anything before Carter’s final shot.

“For once in my life I zipped it,” Blair said. “I didn’t tell her one thing on that last shot … sometimes you’ve just got to let the kid go instead of over-coaching,” Blair said.

___

AP Sports Writers Kristie Rieken and Joedy McCreary contributed to this story.