AUSTIN, Texas -- Hailey Van Lith scored 13 points over the final five minutes, including five in a row in the final 16 seconds, and No. 5 seed Louisville held off No. 12 Drake's frantic March Madness upset bid with an 83-81 win Saturday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Van Lith's three-point play off a layup out of timeout put Louisville up by four before Drake answered with a three-pointer by Sarah Beth Gueldner. Van Lith then made two more free throws to all but seal the win for the Cardinals.
Van Lith finished with 26 points and Mykasa Robison scored 14 for Louisville (24-11), which advances to Monday's second round matchup of the winner between Texas (25-9) and East Carolina (23-9).
A Final Four team last season, Louisville will be playing for a chance to advance to the Sweet 16 for the sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament.
Katie Dinnebier scored 20 points for Drake (22-10), which confused Louisville's defense early with a series of backdoor cuts that had the Bulldogs shooting layup after layup. Anna Miller scored 17 for Drake.
But Van Lith took over the fourth quarter and her mid-range jumper with 53 seconds left put Louisville ahead for good at 77-75. Miller had a chance to tie it again but missed a layup.
MIDDLE TENnessee 60
DURHAM, N.C. -- Frida Formann scored 21 points and Colorado unleashed a torrid three-point shooting display to roll past Middle Tennessee 82-60 in the NCAA Tournament's first round Saturday night.
Jaylyn Sherrod added 13 points and Aaronette Vonleh had 11 points for the Buffaloes, who made 13 shots from beyond the three-point arc. Seven Colorado players made at least one three-pointer, led by Formann's 5-for-8 effort.
Colorado (24-8), which will be in the second round for the first time since 2013, meets the Iona-Duke winner Monday.
Anastasiia Boldyreva's 16 points, Savannah Wheeler's 15 points and Kseniya Malashka's 13 points led Middle Tennessee (28-5), which had won 10 in a row.
The Buffaloes were making three-pointers pretty much from the opening tip -- and they kept shooting them. After hitting seven from long range in the first half, they nailed four more in the first 4½ minutes of the third quarter. Three of those came in a 54-second span, creating a 56-36 lead.
The Buffaloes drained five three-pointers in the first seven minutes to open a 17-6 lead, two each by Formann and Tayanna Jones.
Most of the three-pointers came from in front of the Colorado bench, giving veteran Coach Rick Insell an unfortunate up-close view of the Buffaloes' accuracy. Jones, playing in her home state, had two three-pointers in the first quarter after connecting on just nine shots from beyond the arc all season.
Colorado made 7 of 16 of its first-half three-pointers compared with Middle Tennessee's 1-for-9.
The Buffaloes opened an 11-point lead in the first quarter, aided by hitting five three-pointers to nearly exceed their season per-game average of three-pointers.
The gap was down to 33-28 with less than two minutes to play in the half before Colorado closed the quarter with a 9-0 burst, capped by Kindyll Wetta's three-pointer just a step or two from the sideline in front of the Middle Tennessee bench.
DUKE 86, IONA 49
DURHAM, N.C. — Celeste Taylor and Elizabeth Balogun each scored 13 points and Duke marked its return to NCAA Tournament action with a romp past Iona.
It was the first NCAA Tournament win for Duke since 2018, when it last had a spot in the tournament. Duke has won at least one NCAA Tournament game in all 25 seasons when it has been in the field.
Kennedy Brown and Jordyn Oliver added 10 points apiece as the Blue Devils shot 57.1% from the floor.
Duke’s Kara Lawson, who appeared in three Final Fours as a Tennessee player, coached in an NCAA Tournament game for the first time.
Third-seeded Duke (26-6) will face sixth-seeded Colorado in Monday’s second round.
EAST CAROLINA 49
AUSTIN, Texas — Shaylee Gonzales scored 20 points and No. 4 Texas rolled to a win over No. 13 East Carolina on the Longhorns’ home court.
Texas rallied from a poor start to the season to earn the role of host for the first two rounds and made quick work of the Pirates. Taylor Jones had 16 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks for Texas (26-9).
The Longhorns raced to a 45-24 lead by halftime with Rori Harmon’s eight assists in the first half driving the Texas offense.
Gonzales, a graduate transfer from BYU and last season’s West Coast Conference player of the year, made three consecutive baskets in the opening minutes of the third quarter that pushed her over 2,000 points for her career. Texas led by 33 to start the fourth.
GREENVILLE 1 REGION
OKLAHOMA 85, PORTLAND 63
LOS ANGELES — Aubrey Joens and Taylor Robertson each scored 14 points and fifth-seeded Oklahoma took control in the third quarter to defeat No. 12 seed Portland.
Madi Williams added 13 points for the Sooners (26-6).
Alex Fowler led Portland (23-9) with 18 points while Emme Shearer and Lucy Cochrane had 12 apiece. The Pilots were 3 of 19 on three-pointers.