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Rutgers ousted from tourney

SW Missouri 60, Rutgers 53

Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer believes there's a place for someone like Jackie Stiles.

It's called the WNBA.

Stringer watched with a mixture of agony and awe Monday night as Stiles knocked Rutgers, a Final Four team last year, out of the NCAA tournament.

Stiles scored 32 points, including 17 in the final 6:57, as Southwest Missouri State beat the Scarlet Knights 60-53 in the second round of the West Regional at Piscataway, N.J.

Most times, that would be just a routine game for Stiles, the NCAA career scoring leader. But this came against a team noted for tough defense and two nights after she suffered a mild concussion in a first-round win over Toledo.

"My hat's off to Jackie Stiles," Stringer said. "She is the hardest working player. She is a WNBA player. I would love to have her as a professional coach."

Southwest Missouri State, a No. 5 seed, was one of just three teams to advance to the round of 16 by winning on its opponent's floor. Sixth-seeded Washington did it in the West Regional and 10th-seeded Missouri advanced as a visiting team in the East. Both won second-round games on Sunday.

Otherwise, it's business as usual in the regional semifinals. Defending national champion Connecticut is in. So are Tennessee, Louisiana Tech, Duke and Notre Dame. Tennessee played Sunday night. The others all won big on Monday.

Connecticut, the top seed in the East, rolled over Colorado State 89-44. In two tournament games, the Huskies have given up an average of just 36.5 points.

"Everything goes back to our defense," UConn's Swin Cash said. "We were getting out, pressing in the wing, trying to make them go back door. Our defense took care of everything, basically."

Louisiana Tech, seeded third in the East, beat TCU 80-59.

In the Midwest, top-seeded Notre Dame cruised past Michigan 88-54, third-seeded Vanderbilt was a 65-59 winner over Colorado and fifth-seeded Utah defeated Iowa 78-69.

Top-seeded Duke moved on in the West with a 75-54 win over Arkansas, and second-seeded Oklahoma beat Stanford 67-50.

That leaves the tournament with these pairings for the regional semifinals on Saturday: Connecticut vs. North Carolina State and Louisiana Tech vs. Missouri in the East at Pittsburgh; Tennessee vs. Xavier and Texas Tech vs. Purdue in the Mideast at Birmingham, Ala.; Notre Dame vs. Utah and Iowa State vs. Vanderbilt in the Midwest at Denver; and Duke vs. Southwest Missouri State and Oklahoma vs. Washington in the West at Spokane, Wash.