Erlana Larkins and Cetera DeGraffenreid each scored 17 points yesterday to help second-ranked North Carolina beat No. 12 Duke, 86-73, in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship at Greensboro, N.C., giving the Tar Heels their fourth straight title while almost certainly locking up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Rashanda McCants and LaToya Pringle each added 16 points for top-seeded Carolina (30-2), which became the first school to win nine ACC tournament titles.
Larkins, the tournament MVP, went 5 for 9 from the floor and 7 for 10 from the line to go with eight rebounds.
Big Ten final: Lakisha Freeman grabbed her own rebound with a second left and beat the buzzer with a 10-foot jumper, giving Purdue a 58-56 victory over Illinois at Indianapolis.
The victory was only assured after a replay review and set off a wild celebration at midcourt as the Boilermakers earned their 15th straight NCAA Tournament invitation.
Conference USA final: At Orlando, Fla., Brittany Gilliam scored 20 points and Sharee Shepherd added 17 as Southern Methodist (24-8) upset No. 18 UTEP, 73-57, to earn an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time since 2000.
Metro Atlantic final: Rachele Fitz scored 16 of her 20 points in the second half and No. 24 Marist won its 21st straight game, beating Iona, 83-63, at Albany, N.Y.
SEC final: Candace Parker's jumper with 1:57 left put No. 3 Tennessee ahead for good as it punched its NCAA ticket with a 61-55 win over No. 7 LSU at Nashville.
West Coast final: Morgan Henderson scored 20 points to lead host San Diego to a 70-66 upset of top-seeded Gonzaga. The Toreros took a 17-point first-half lead and snapped a 12-game losing streak against the Bulldogs.
Patriot semifinals: Bethany O'Dell sank a pair of free throws with six seconds left to give Holy Cross a 46-44 win over Lehigh in Mahwah, N.J. The Crusaders will host Bucknell, which got 18 points from Joyce Novacek in a 60-52 win over American, in Wednesday's final.
Northeast semifinals: Fourth-seeded Long Island knocked off No. 1 Quinnipiac, 67-63, in a semifinal despite 37 points from Erin Kerner in Brookville, N.Y. LIU will face Robert Morris, a 67-52 winner over Monmouth in the title game Sunday.
Atlantic-10 semifinals: Led by Ashley Morris's 14 points, top-seeded Temple thumped Dayton, 56-51, at Philadelphia. The Owls will face Xavier in tonight's final after the Musketeers dispatched George Washington, 63-59, behind Ta'Shia Phillips's 22 points.
Pac-10 semifinals: Devanei Hampton collected 19 points and 16 rebounds to lift 10th-ranked California past Arizona State, 65-61, at San Jose, Calif., and into its first league tournament title game. The Bears will play No. 6 Stanford, 78-45 winners over UCLA, in tonight's final.
Big East quarterfinals: Renee Montgomery had 19 points as top-ranked Connecticut routed DePaul, 86-67, at Hartford . . . Marcedes Walker had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead Pittsburgh past Notre Dame, 64-53 . . . Angel McCoughtry had 20 points as Louisville stunned Rutgers, 57-56 . . . Olayinka Sanni netted 20 points as West Virginia waxed South Florida, 64-42.
Northeast-10 final: Erika Stupinski collected 23 points and 11 assists and Kelsey Simonds added 22 as Stonehill flattened Bryant, 90-79, at Easton.
ECAC Division 3 final: Melissa Martinelli was 6 of 6 from the floor and 8 of 8 from the line for 20 points as Coast Guard topped host Fitchburg St., 77-63.