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UConn, North Carolina wins cap off 2nd round of women's tourney

UConn's Azzi Fudd scored 16 points to help the Huskies beat UCF in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Division I women's basketball tournament. Photo by Meg Kelly/UConn Athletics
UConn's Azzi Fudd scored 16 points to help the Huskies beat UCF in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Division I women's basketball tournament. Photo by Meg Kelly/UConn Athletics

March 22 (UPI) -- UConn and North Carolina claimed spots in the Sweet 16 of the 2022 NCAA Division I women's basketball tournament with wins over UCF and Arizona, respectively, in the final two games of the second round.

No. 5 seed North Carolina ended the second wave of games with its 63-45 triumph over No. 4 Arizona on Monday in Tucson. The Tar Heels shot 41.2% from the field and out-rebounded the Wildcats 40-34.

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The Tar Heels led by as many as 24 points in the victory. Sophomore guard Kennedy Todd-Williams scored a game-high 19 points and totaled seven rebounds, five assists and three steals for the Tar Heels. Fellow Tar Heels guard Alyssa Ustby totaled 12 points, 12 rebounds and four assists.

"We knew they had a big crowd, but we were silencing them," Todd-Williams told reporters. "It was just the energy. The atmosphere was great."

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Deja Kelly chipped in 15 points for the Tar Heels. Wildcats forward Sam Thomas scored 15 points in the loss.

North Carolina led 6-3 through the first 1:54. Arizona answered and took a 9-8 lead, but the Tar Heels poured on a 15-0 run to take a 23-9 lead 4:46 before halftime.

The Tar Heels outscored the Wildcats 19-10 in the third to take a 47-27 edge into the fourth. They then closed out the Wildcats down the stretch to secure the lopsided win.

The Tar Heels face No. 1 South Carolina in a Sweet 16 game at 7 p.m. EDT Friday on ESPN.

Earlier Monday, No. 2 UConn beat No. 7 UCF 52-47 to advance to the Sweet 16. Freshman guard Azzi Fudd led the Huskies with 16 points. The Huskies shot just 29.2% from the field, but forced 20 turnovers in the victory.

The Knights used a 7-0 run to take an 11-4 lead about 6:21 into the first quarter and took an 18-12 edge into the second. The Huskies responded with a 10-2 run to open the second quarter and led 26-23 at halftime. The lead exchanged hands in the third until the Huskies ended the frame on a 9-0 run to take a 38-30 edge into the fourth.

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The Knights used a 9-0 run down the stretch and twice cut the Huskies lead to three points, but could not overcome the deficit.

Huskies guard Christyn Williams scored 12 points in the win. Knights guard Diamond Battles also scored a dozen in the loss. Brittney Smith scored 11 off the Knights bench.

The Huskies advanced to a Sweet 16 game against No. 3 Indiana at 2 p.m. EDT Saturday on ESPN.

No. 1 North Carolina State, No. 3 Michigan, No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 3 Indiana and No. 6 Ohio State were the other teams to advance with second-round wins Monday in the women's tournament.

Ohio State battles No. 2 Texas in a Sweet 16 game at 7 p.m. Friday on ESPN2. No. 1 Stanford battles No. 4 Maryland in another Sweet 16 game at 9:30 p.m. Friday on ESPN. No. 3 Iowa State faces No. 10 Creighton in Friday's final Sweet 16 meeting at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

North Carolina State faces Notre Dame in the first second-wave Sweet 16 game at 11:30 a.m. Saturday on ESPN. UConn battles Indiana in the next game. No. 1 Louisville then faces No. 4 Tennessee at 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2. Michigan meets No. 10 South Dakota in the final women's Sweet 16 game at 6:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2.

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Women's Elite Eight games air Sunday and Monday on ESPN networks. The women's Final Four and National Championship games air April 1 and 3, respectively.

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