One-seeds South Carolina, Tennessee fall in women’s tournament

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Women’s NCAA Tournament bracket

And then there were two one-seeds remaining in the NCAA women’s tournament.

One day after No. 1 UConn and No. 1 Notre Dame took care of business, South Carolina and Tennessee weren’t as fortunate in their respective Sweet 16 matchups. Dawn Staley’s Gamecocks, who won their first-ever SEC regular season title this year, fell to No. 4 North Carolina 65-58 in the Stanford Regional. Diamond DeShields, daughter of former major leaguer Delino DeShields, led the way for the Tar Heels with 19 points, three rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.

North Carolina’s best work was done on the defensive end of the floor, where they limited the Gamecocks to 37.7% shooting from the field. Alaina Coates scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds off the bench for South Carolina, but leading scorer Tiffany Mitchell was held to 11 points on 4-for-14 shooting from the field. North Carolina’s reward for knocking off the Gamecocks is a true road game in the Elite Eight, as they’ll face No. 2 Stanford in Tuesday’s regional final.

Chiney Ogwumike scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to propel the Cardinal to an 82-57 win over No. 3 Penn State, with Mikaela Ruef adding 11 points and 13 rebounds and Amber Orrange scoring 18 points. In total four Stanford starters scored in double figures, and just as important was the defending of Penn State’s prolific shooting guard Maggie Lucas. Lucas scored just six points in her final game as a collegian, shooting 3-for-14 from the field.

No. 1 Tennessee was eliminated by No. 4 Maryland in the Louisville Regional, dropping a 73-62 decision with the versatile Alyssa Thomas being a thorn in the Lady Vols’ side all afternoon. Thomas scored 33 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out three assists to lead the Terrapins, who made up for their 38.6% shooting by forcing 22 Tennessee turnovers. Meighan Simmons scored 31 points to lead Holly Warlick’s Lady Vols, but the turnovers and 35.8% shooting proved to be too much to overcome.

And like North Carolina, Maryland will need to win a road game on Tuesday in order to reach the Final Four as No. 3 Louisville whipped No. 7 LSU 73-47 in the other regional semifinal. Shoni Schimmel scored 19 points and Tia Gibbs added five three-pointers off the bench for the Cardinals, who reached last year’s title game before falling to UConn. Danielle Ballard scored 24 points to lead LSU but she was their lone double-digit scorer, and as a team the Lady Tigers shot 23.9% from the field.

PHOTO: Ohio State’s new LeBron James shoe display

during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.
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Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.

The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.