COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Jacy Sheldon made a tiebreaking jumper in the lane with 1.8 seconds left to lift No. 3 Ohio State to a 71-69 win over No. 6 seed North Carolina on Monday and help the Buckeyes advance to the Sweet 16 for the second straight season.
With the game tied, Sheldon took the pass from Eboni Walker and floated in the game-winning score. North Carolina had one final chance, but turned it over with a second remaining.
Ohio State (27-7) saw its 12-point lead with 7:02 to go erased as the Tar Heels went on a 13-2 run midway through the fourth quarter. The Tar Heels did most of that run without star Deja Kelly, who exited midway through the final quarter with a leg injury. She went to the locker room, but returned to the court a short time later.
Trailing 66-63, Kelly made two free throws before Paulina Paris made a layup in transition to give the Tar Heels (22-11) its first lead of the game with 2:09 left.
Sheldon scored to give the Buckeyes the lead back with 1:07 left. She added a free throw 29 seconds later to make it a two-point game.
Kelly, who finished with 22 points to lead North Carolina, hit a jumper to tie the game at 69 with 9 seconds left.
Ohio State led the entirety of the first half, including by as many as nine points in the first quarter, on 46% shooting. Taylor Mikesell went 3-of-6 from beyond the arc in the first half.
Sheldon finished with 16 points, Walker added 15 and Cotie McMahon scored 14. Taylor Mikesell had a team-high 17.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels allowed an opposing team to shoot at least 50% for the third time all season and first time since December. North Carolina allowed the Buckeyes to shoot 54.2% in the second half.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes have made second-half comebacks in all four of their postseason victories, including a 24-point resurgence that broke the Big Ten Tournament record March 4. Ohio State advances to the Sweet 16 for the fourth time since the 2015-16 season.
Ohio State will play the winner of No. 2 seed UConn and No. 7 seed Baylor in the Seattle 3 Regional.
TENNESSEE 94, TOLEDO 47
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Reserves Sara Puckett and Jillian Hollingshead led five Lady Vols in double figures with 13 points apiece as fourth-seeded Tennessee routed No. 12 seed Toledo 94-47 Monday night to advance to their second straight Sweet 16 in the Seattle 3 Regional.
This is the first time since 2015 and 2016 that Tennessee (25-11) has reached consecutive Sweet 16s and the first in coach Kellie Harper’s fourth season. The Lady Vols now have reached the Sweet 16 for the 36th time as the only program to play in all 41 NCAA Tournaments.
Puckett was 5-of-7, making all three of her 3s. Rickea Jackson and Jasmine Powell each added 12, and Jordan Horston had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Toledo (29-5) snapped a program record 17-game winning streak and missed out on its first Sweet 16. The Rockets lost for the first time since Jan. 18 at Bowling Green, which was avenged in the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship for their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2017.
Quinesha Lockett led Toledo with 19 points.
Tennessee looked much more like the program that used to roll through early tournament games, never trailing as they improved to 30-3 all-time in the second round and 24-1 on the court named for the late Pat Summitt.
The Lady Vols, who won at least 25 games for a 38th season, scored the first three points. Toledo got within 5-4 on a Lockett layup. Then Tennessee took control even as the Lady Vols struggled to find the basket early. They led 19-8 after the first quarter.
Karoline Striplin knocked down a pair of 3s within the first 50 seconds of the second, and Tennessee hit 6-of-8 beyond the arc in the quarter. The last came from Puckett with 41.7 seconds remaining for their biggest lead yet at 50-21 before going into halftime up 50-22.
Toledo tried to rally in the third with a 12-2 run capped by Garcia’s 3 with 3:57 to go. That only trimmed the lead to 60-36, and the Lady Vols led 72-40 going into the fourth. They finished it off outscoring Toledo 22-7 in the fourth, not allowing the Rockets to score even a single bucket over the final 6:11.
Toledo: The Rockets head home still looking for the program’s first Sweet 16 berth. They are 4-9 all-time in NCAA Tournament play, Coach Tricia Cullop could have her leading scorer back if Lockett returns for next season and joins the four juniors, including starters Khera Goss, Sammi Mikonowicz and Jessica Cook. … The Rockets had hoped to use their speed to counter Tennessee’s height but were outscored 17-4 on the fast break.
Tennessee: The Lady Vols have locked down on defense in the first two games. They held Saint Louis to 50 points in the first round, the fewest they had allowed in this tournament since giving up 46 to Northwestern State on March 22, 2014. Then nearly matched that tournament low in this game as they dominated across the court.
The Lady Vols get a rematch in the Sweet 16. They lost 59-56 on Dec. 4 to then-No. 9 Virginia Tech as part of the Jimmy V Women’s Classic in Knoxville without forward Rickea Jackson. That also was center Tamari Key’s last game before blood clots ended her season