Dayton eliminated from NCAA Tournament
NEW YORK (AP) -- A'dia Mathies followed up the worst game of her career with one of her best.
Mathies matched her career high with 34 points and lead second-seeded Kentucky to an 84-70 win over seventh-seeded Dayton on Tuesday night in the second round of the NCAA women's tournament.
The Wildcats (29-5) will face Delaware in the semifinals of the Bridgeport Regional on Saturday.
With Kentucky clinging to a 46-44 advantage early in the second half, Mathies scored 10 points during a 16-3 run to help the Wildcats take control of the game.
The two-time SEC player of the year hit two 3-pointers, including one to cap the burst and make it 62-47. She didn't hit a field goal in the first round win over Navy. She made 13 of 17 against Dayton.
Andrea Hoover scored 22 points to lead the Flyers (28-3), who got no closer than eight the rest of the way to end the best season in school history.
One of the best seasons for Kentucky will continue in Bridgeport. The Wildcats have the most wins in school history and have reached the regional semifinals for the third time in the past four seasons.
Coach Matthew Mitchell is building a tradition at a school rich in men's basketball history.
"We have the goal of becoming the best program in the country," he said. "We have a lot of work to do, but we are making a lot of progress."
Dayton got off to a strong start, hitting its first seven shots and were tied 14-14 with Kentucky before the Wildcats turned up their pressure. They went on a 12-0 run over the next 5 minutes to take a 26-14 advantage. Mathies hit two 3-pointers during the burst. The Flyers had four turnovers in that stretch.
Kentucky led 38-22 with 3:12 left and looked like they were about to blow the game open but went cold from the field and started fouling Dayton.
The Flyers closed the half on a 9-2 run hitting all six free throws they attempted to trail 40-31 at the break.
Hoover hit a 3-pointer with 34 seconds left to cap the burst. It was the Flyers first 3 of the game. They hit 10 in the opening-round 96-90 double-overtime win over St. John's.
Dayton kept it going to start the second half and closed to 46-44. The Flyers only had one turnover during their run to bridge the halves after committing 14 in first 15 minutes.
Unfortunately the Wildcats' "40 minutes of dread" wore down Dayton as the team had five turnovers during Kentucky's burst that blew open the game.
The loss ended a spectacular season for Dayton. The Flyers won an NCAA tournament game for the second time in school history. They also won their first Atlantic 10 regular-season title before falling to Saint Joseph's in the conference tournament semifinals. The team also surpassed the school record for wins.
Not bad for a squad that lost a lot to graduation last year and has the sixth youngest roster in the country.
Kentucky forward Samarie Walker had to briefly leave the game in the first half after throwing up in the corner. She has been battling a flu which has been running through the Wildcats. She returned a few minutes later wearing a fresh jersey.