Rarely played pair lifts 'Dogs


Photographs by ROGELIO V. SOLIS / AP

Mississippi State guard Blair Schaefer (right) is fouled by DePaul’s Kelly Campbell as she drives for a layup in the first half of the Bulldogs 92-71 victory in Starkville, Miss.

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State's role players have become stars and the stars are often role players. Bulldogs' Coach Vic Schaefer saw a 29-victory team that was struggling on offense go into the NCAA Tournament and blow up the playing rotation in mid-March.

The results, at least so far, have been fantastic.

Blair Schaefer scored 18 points, Jazzmun Holmes added 14 and Mississippi State pushed past DePaul 92-71 on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Schaefer and Holmes were two who rarely played at times during January and February. Now they're the two main reasons Mississippi State is going to the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season.

Dominique Dillingham, who had started 19 consecutive games before the NCAA Tournament and is now coming off the bench, said no one is questioning their coach's logic. Dillingham added 10 points and two steals on Sunday.

"He's not crazy," Dillingham said. "I think we have 10 starters. Anyone could start. We're really deep."

Second-seeded Mississippi State used a 14-0 run in the middle of the third quarter to turn a tight game into a 61-43 advantage.

DePaul, the seven seed, scored the next seven points to cut the lead to 61-50 by the end of the third quarter, but Mississippi State responded with the first eight points of the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

Six Mississippi State players scored in double figures. Victoria Vivians, Chinwe Okorie and Breanna Richardson all scored 12 points.


LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Tori McCoy scored six consecutive points midway through the fourth quarter to help Ohio State withstand Kentucky's furious rally from a 19-point second-half deficit and escape with a second-round NCAA Tournament victory.

The fourth-seeded Wildcats trailed 50-31 early in third but closed to 65-64 with 6:04 remaining. The fifth-seeded Buckeyes answered with eight consecutive points behind McCoy.

Ohio State (28-6) held on from there to earn its second consecutive Sweet 16 appearance in the Lexington Regional next week.


AUSTIN, Texas -- Brooke McCarty scored 23 points and No. 3-seed Texas got a put-back basket from Joyner Holmes with 4 seconds left to the send the Longhorns to the Sweet 16 for the third year in a row with a victory over No. 6-seed North Carolina State.

Lashann Higgs had given Texas a two-point lead when she made one free throw with 8 seconds left but missed the second. Holmes grabbed the rebound, missed her first shot, grabbed the rebound then made the second to seal the victory. Holmes finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.


COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Destiny Slocum nailed a 70-foot shot to cap a pivotal second quarter for Maryland, and the Terrapins went on to defeat West Virginia to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Brionna Jones had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Slocum scored 21 and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 19 for No. 3-seed Maryland (32-3), which will next face the winner of today's game between No. 2-seed Duke and Oregon.


COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A'ja Wilson scored 21 points, including the put back that gave South Carolina the lead for good and the free throws that sealed it, to help the No. 1 seed Gamecocks beat No. 8 seed Arizona State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Sophie Bruner missed a heavily contested three-pointer at the buzzer that would have tied it.

Arizona State (20-13) scored 11 consecutive points to take a 68-67 lead with two minutes to go, but Wilson put back her own miss with 46.8 seconds to go that gave South Carolina (29-4) a 69-68 advantage.


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Shakayla Thomas scored 20 points and No. 3-seed Florida State advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive season with a victory over No. 6-seed Missouri.

Thomas, who also had 11 rebounds, was one of four Seminoles in double figures. Brittany Brown added 16 points while Imani Wright and Leticia Romero each scored 14.

Florida State (27-6) will face either No. 2-seed Oregon State or No. 7-seed Creighton in a regional semifinal game in Stockton, Calif., on Saturday.


SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Marina Mabrey scored 21 points, Arike Ogunbowale added 18 and No. 1-seed Notre Dame survived playing the second half without leading scorer Brianna Turner to beat No. 9-seed Purdue in overtime, advancing to the Sweet 16.

The Irish used a 6-0 run in OT to open an 82-78 lead when Jackie Young and Lindsay Allen scored inside and Mabrey banked in a jumper. Purdue narrowed the lead to 82-80 when Bridget Perry, who finished with 22 points, made a pair of free throws with 34.2 seconds left. Mabrey then made two free throws for the Irish with 13 seconds left. Ae'Rianna Harris scored inside for Purdue (23-13) to make it 84-82.


CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Sydney Wiese scored 13 points in her final career game at Gill Coliseum and No. 2-seed Oregon State moved on in the NCAA Tournament with a second-round victory over No. 7-seed Creighton.

Oregon State (31-4) will go on to face No. 3 seed Florida State in Stockton, Calif. The Seminoles defeated No. 6-seed Missouri 77-55 earlier Sunday in Tallahassee, Fla., for their third consecutive trip to the Sweet 16.

Sports on 03/20/2017

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