WEST LAFAYETTE — South Carolina rebuilt its program with a defensive philosophy, and it sure paid off Monday night.
Markeshia Grant scored 21 points and the fifth-seeded Gamecocks forced 20 turnovers in a 72-61 victory over No. 4 seed Purdue in the second round of the NCAA women’s tournament.
Ieasia Walker added 17 points, six rebounds and four assists for South Carolina (25-9) , which will make its first regional semifinal appearance in a decade when it meets top-seeded Stanford on Saturday in Fresno, Calif.
KK Houser scored 15 points for Purdue (25-9), and Brittany Rayburn had 13 to finish with 1,795 points – good enough for sixth on the school’s career scoring list.
But on a night when the Boilermakers shot just 39.3 percent from the floor and made only four three-pointers, it wasn’t enough.
“The amount of turnovers we had, we took ourselves out of the game,” Rayburn said. “On each possession, it was us grounding ourselves for the most part. But they were aggressive on defense and they got it done.”
No. 1 CONNECTICUT 72, No. 8 KANSAS ST. 26: In Bridgeport, Conn., Bria Hartley scored 13 of her 16 points in the first half as the Huskies (31-4) held the Wildcats State (20-14) to a tournament record low for points.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 15 points and Kiah Stokes had a career-high 13 for UConn, which reached the Sweet 16 for a 19th straight.
Brittany Chambers scored 11 points to lead the Wildcats.
No. 11 GONZAGA 65, No. 3 MIAMI 54: In Spokane, Wash., Kayla Standish scored 19 and Katelan Redmon added16 for the Bulldogs (28-5), who were playing on their home floor in front of an overwhelmingly supportive sold-out crowd.
Shenise Johnson scored 20 points and had 13 rebounds for Miami (26-6). The game between two of the nation’s best offenses was expected to be high-scoring, but turned into a defensive battle. Miami pressed most of the game.
No. 1 STANFORD 72, No. 8 WEST VIRGINIA 55: In Norfolk, Va., Amber Orrange scored a career-high 18 points and the Cardinal (33-1) easily stretched their school-record winning streak to 30 games.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike added 16 points and Chiney Ogwumike finished with 13 for the Cardinal.
Ayana Dunning led the Mountaineers (24-10) with 14 points.
No. 2 MARYLAND 72, No. 7 LOUISVILLE 68: In College Park, Md., Laurin Mincy scored 24 points and Tianna Hawkins had 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Terrapins into the the round of 16.
The Terrapins (30-4) trailed 64-59 with 6 minutes left before closing with a 13-4 run and limiting Louisville to only one field goal.
Shoni Schimmel scored 22 for the Cardinals (23-10).