RALEIGH (AP) — NC State hadn’t played in a couple of weeks — and looked like it.
The Wolfpack still was sharp enough to beat Maine again.
Kiara Leslie scored 20 points and State beat the Black Bears 63-51 on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Freshman Elissa Cunane added 16 points in her first tournament game and Kai Crutchfield had 14 points to help the third-seeded Wolfpack (27-5) in its first game since they lost to Louisville in the ACC tournament semifinals March 9.
State shot 46 percent, closed the first half with an 11-0 run that put it up by 17 and spent the second half holding onto it while winning a rare regular-season rematch in the first round. The Wolfpack beat Maine 84-46 on Dec. 15.
“We hadn’t played in two weeks … and at times offensively, that showed,” coach Wes Moore said. “We made a nice run in the second quarter, and then the second half, for whatever reason, we got a little stagnant out there.”
State will face sixth-seeded Kentucky (25-7) on Monday in the second round of the Greensboro Regional.
Parise Rossignol scored 19 points with five 3-pointers and Dor Saar added 16 points and four 3s for the 14th-seeded Black Bears (25-8). The two-time America East champions had their 14-game winning streak snapped.
Maine hit 11 3-pointers to hang around well into the fourth quarter, but trailed by double figures for the entire second half.
“We just kept saying, ‘If we can get it within 10, we can make a run,'” coach Amy Vachon said.
California 82, UNC 72
WACO, Texas (AP) — California has seen all kind of different plans from opponents trying to contain Kristine Anigwe, the dominating 6-foot-4 senior post for the Golden Bears.
UNC certainly tried, but Anigwe still extended her season-long streak of double-doubles with 18 points and 22 rebounds as the Golden Bears rallied from a 12-point deficit in the first half to win 92-72 in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
“I’ve watched a ton of film on them and I haven’t seen them play any post player like that,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “I just haven’t seen them load up on the post like that. … A lot of teams try to create a game plan for her and it often wears down in the second half because it’s hard to stay disciplined in what you’re trying to do.”
Anigwe scored all but two of her points after halftime for the Golden Bears (20-12), the No. 8 seed in the Greensboro Regional. Constantly surrounded by Tar Heels, she was 1-of-5 shooting before halftime but still grabbed 10 rebounds.
“I changed my mindset and focused on defense, something I’ve tried to focus on throughout the season and get on the glass because my offensive game isn’t going,” Anigwe said. “I can always make an impact on the defensive end, and that’s what I had to do.”
Anigwe is the only player, men or women, with a double-double in every game this season, and she also broke the Pac-12 single-season rebounding record.
Jaelyn Brown banked a 3-pointer from beyond the top of the key to end the third quarter for Cal, following an inbound play with less than 4 seconds left after UNC had a turnover on a possible breakaway with 3.6 seconds left.
“It was two touch passes and the shot,” Brown said. “That was a really great moment to get the energy going into the fourth quarter, which gave us a run.”
The Bears opened the fourth quarter with a 14-2 run and led 77-58 when Anigwe made two free throws with 5:43 left.
“Well, we gave it all we had. … I thought they played their hearts out. We just ran out of gas,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “First half, we played pretty doggone good, and then I thought second half, you know, we got a little bit tired.”
Paris Kea had 22 points to lead UNC (18-15), which lost four of its last five games in a season in which the Tar Heels had wins over then-No. 1 Notre Dame and then-No. 7 NC State in an eight-day span in late January and early February. Janelle Bailey had 15 points for UNC, while Shayla Bennett had 14 and Taylor Koenen 13.