North Carolina's longest winning streak in eight seasons has carried the Tar Heels back into the NCAA tournament's round of 16.
Ivory Latta scored 17 points last night to lead North Carolina past visiting George Washington, 71-47, in the second round of the Tempe Region, helping the Tar Heels survive the opening week for the first time in three seasons.
GW's Whitney Allen, left, and North Carolina's Nikita Bell follow the bouncing ball during the Tar Heels' easy victory.
(Ellen Ozier -- Reuters)
Nikita Bell added 16 points, 9 rebounds and 6 steals for the top-seeded Tar Heels (29-3), who have won 15 straight games since an overtime loss at Florida State in January. North Carolina will play fifth-seeded Arizona State on Saturday on the Sun Devils' home court.
Kenan Cole scored 11 points to lead the ninth-seeded Colonials (23-9), who struggled against North Carolina's aggressive trapping defense. George Washington, which shot 25 percent, trailed by 18 points midway through the second half.
North Carolina hasn't won 15 straight since 1997, which was the last time the Tar Heels were a No. 1 seed. And that team -- led by future track and field star Marion Jones -- saw one of the best seasons in program history end with a 55-46 loss to George Washington in the third round of the tournament.
In that loss -- exactly eight years ago -- the Tar Heels shot just 28 percent. They returned the favor last night, holding the Colonials to 15-for-60 shooting and harassing their ballhandlers with fast, long-armed defenders.
The Tar Heels forced 24 turnovers, had 15 steals and got 10 blocks -- six coming from 6-foot-3 freshman LaToya Pringle.
George Washington's top two scorers, Anna Montañana and Jessica Simmonds, had a miserable close to their collegiate careers. Montañana came in averaging 17 points, but finished with just four points on 1-for-9 shooting. Simmonds, who was averaging nearly 15, finished with nine points on 2-for-17 shooting.
LIBERTY 88, DEPAUL 79: With chants of "Sweet 16" raining down on them, the Flames pulled their second upset at Comcast Center in College Park.
No. 13 Liberty (26-6), which hadn't won an NCAA tournament game in eight tries before Sunday, became the lowest-seeded team remaining with its second-round victory over No. 5 DePaul (25-7). On Sunday, the Flames knocked off No. 4 Penn State, 78-70.
With Liberty's chancellor, Rev. Jerry Falwell, watching from a front-row seat, the Lynchburg, Va., school became the first No. 13 seed to advance to the regional semifinals since Texas A&M in 1994 -- the first year the field expanded to 64 teams. The Flames will play top-seeded LSU on Saturday in Chattanooga.
Katie Feenstra, Liberty's 6-foot-8 center, scored 29 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Khara Smith, a 6-2 forward for DePaul, finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds.
DUKE 70, BOSTON COLLEGE 65: With her teammates struggling, Alison Bales found her rhythm in time to send the second-seeded Blue Devils back to the round of 16 for the eighth year in a row.
The sophomore center scored 10 of her 16 points down the stretch, and Monique Currie led Duke with 21 points against seventh-seeded Boston College in the Chattanooga Region game in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Mistie Williams added 12 points for the Blue Devils (30-4), who advanced to play sixth-seeded Georgia on Saturday in Chattanooga.
Bales's season high of 21 points came more than two months ago against Wake Forest, and she reached double figures only twice since then. But when the Eagles (20-10) closed within three in the second half, she took over.
Already dominating on defense -- she finished with six blocks -- Bales beat her season average of 7.5 points with a brilliant stretch that lasted nearly two minutes. She had a layup, made a free throw, made a jumper from the baseline, then powered over Lisa Macchia for another basket to make it 54-51.
LSU 76, ARIZONA 43: Temeka Johnson is making the most of her last chance for a national championship.
The Lady Tigers' senior point guard scored all 14 of her points in the first half and had 10 assists to help LSU (31-2), the tournament's No. 1 overall seed, rout Arizona in Knoxville, Tenn. Johnson had a perfect shooting night, going 4 of 4 from the field, including two three-pointers, and 4 of 4 at the free throw line. She did not attempt a shot in the second half, and it wasn't needed.