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BASKETBALL ROUNDUP

Thomas sets pace for UConn

Mel Thomas scored a career-high 23 points to lead No. 9 Connecticut to a season-opening 71-45 victory over Marist last night in the first round of the WNIT in Storrs, Conn.

The sophomore finished 7 of 11 from the field, hit four 3-pointers, and had 3 steals. Guard Ketia Swanier finished with seven assists and eight rebounds.

''We were able to get after it on defense and we could push the ball up the court," Thomas said. ''I just think we played a lot better defense. We have to come after it every single night and if we don't, we're not going to look good at all, like we did in the first half."

UConn will play Indiana State, which beat Chattanooga, 74-53, in the second round tomorrow. The Huskies are making their third appearance in the WNIT and have won the title twice (1997, 2001).

Ann Strother added 20 points for the Huskies and freshman Kalana Greene had 14.

Vanderbilt 86, Clemson 49 -- Nicole Jules was 8 for 8 from the field and scored 18 points to lead the No. 17 Commodores in the third-place game of the WBCA/BTI Classic in Tempe, Ariz.

Jules, who played 22 minutes, led five Commodores (1-1) in double figures, including Dee Davis, who had 14 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds.

Arizona State 69, Missouri 54 -- Kristen Kovesdy had 16 points and eight rebounds to lead the No. 20 Sun Devils (2-0) past the Tigers in the championship game of the WBCA/BTI Classic in Tempe, Ariz.

Men

West Virginia 88, Louisiana-Monroe 69 -- Mike Gansey had 22 points and 14 rebounds to lead the No. 14 Mountaineers over the Indians in the first round of the Guardians Classic in Morgantown, W.Va.

Ranked in the preseason poll for the first time in 43 years, West Virginia had a second-half lapse as Louisiana-Monroe cut a 17-point deficit to 5.

But West Virginia responded with three straight baskets, including a 3-pointer by Gansey, to put the game out of reach.

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