OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nika Muhl scored 15 of her season-high 19 points in the first quarter and No. 1 Connecticut won the outright Big East regular-season championship with an 81-49 victory over Creighton on Thursday night.
The Huskies (19-1, 16-0) never lost a league game in their seven years in the American Athletic Conference, and now they’re two wins away from being perfect in their return to the Big East.
Temi Carda had a season-high 24 points and eight rebounds for Creighton (7-10, 6-7), which matched its most lopsided home loss under 19th-year coach Jim Flanery.
Creighton scored the first basket of the game for a lead that lasted all of six seconds. Muhl then fueled a 22-4 run for the Huskies, making three 3s while scoring 11 of her team’s first 16 points.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Raina Perez scored 14 points and North Carolina State was sharp from outside to beat Pittsburgh.
Jakia Brown-Turner also scored 14 points for the Wolfpack (16-2, 11-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who made 16 of 26 3-pointers to tie the program record for made 3s in a game. N.C. State led by double digits nearly the entire way and ran off a 20-0 stretch during the third quarter to blow the game open.
It marked the Wolfpack’s sixth straight win in the series and also kept N.C. State alive in its battle with No. 6 Louisville for the No. 1 seed in next week’s ACC Tournament.
Freshman Sandrine Clesca had a season-high 12 points to lead the Panthers (5-12, 3-11),
No. 3 TEXAS A&M 73, ALABAMA 67
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Jordan Nixon and Kayla Wells each scored 16 points and Texas A&M won its ninth straight game, beating Alabama.
Nixon and Wells combined to contribute 10 points during a 19-3 run for the Aggies to close the second quarter which essentially put the game out of reach for the Crimson Tide.
After Texas A&M (21-1, 12-1 Southeastern Conference) led for most of the first quarter, Alabama used a 10-0 run to take a 26-23 lead in the second quarter. The Aggies then used that big run to end the half taking a 42-29 lead into halftime.
Alabama (15-7, 8-7) showed fight in the fourth quarter, after trailing by as many as 21 in the second half. The Tide opened the fourth on a 16-4 run and cut the deficit to 70-65 with Jordan Lewis’ 3-pointer with 1:25 left.
However, in the end, the deficit was too large for the Crimson Tide to overcome as the Aggies held on for the win.
No. 5 SOUTH CAROLINA 68, MISSISSIPPI 43
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Zia Cooke scored 17 points and South Carolina won its 13th game in a row against Mississippi.
The Gamecocks (19-3, 14-1 Southeastern Conference) remained on track for a second consecutive SEC regular-season crown with a showdown for the title at one-loss No. 3 Texas A&M on Sunday.
Cooke got South Carolina out fast with 12 first-quarter points and its defense held the Rebels to their worst shooting performance of the season.
Ole Miss (9-10, 3-10) made just four field goals combined in the second and third quarters as South Carolina’s lead grew to 21 points.
No. 8 MARYLAND 88, PURDUE 59
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Angel Reese scored 17 points and Diamond Miller added 16 as Maryland moved one game closer to a third consecutive Big Ten regular-season title with a road rout of Purdue.
The Terps (18-2, 14-1 Big Ten) have a one-game conference lead on Indiana with two games remaining after their seventh consecutive victory. They can clinch a share of the title or the outright championship on Sunday.
Coupled with a 37-point home win over the Boilermakers on Jan. 10, Maryland swept the season series to improve to 14-2 against Purdue (6-14, 3-13).
No. 19 KENTUCKY 62, No. 17 GEORGIA 58
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Rhyne Howard scored 27 points, hitting all four of her 3-pointers, and Kentucky defeated Georgia.
A 17-3 run to close the first half gave the Wildcats a 34-24 lead but the Bulldogs recovered and stayed in the game.
However, Georgia didn’t commit their first foul of the fourth quarter until 1:22 remained. Finally, at 9.1 seconds Tatyana Wyatt made two free throws for Kentucky. Jordan Iasaacs made three from the line for Georgia with 5.7 seconds but a free throw by Chasity Patterson at 4.3 seconds secured the win.
Patterson scored 15 points and Wyatt 11 for Kentucky (16-6, 9-5 Southeastern Conference).
Jenna Staiti led Georgia (17-5, 9-5), which had won four straight, with 16 points.
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