NCAA

Speed a concern for Stanford vs. Hampton

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Speed a concern for Stanford vs. Hampton

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) Stanford might have the most interesting situation for a top seed in the women's NCAA tournament.

The Cardinal had to travel across country to face a Hampton team that felt disrespected when it was made a No. 16 seed, and will be playing about 11 miles from its campus.

The Cardinal (31-1) and Pirates (26-4) meet Saturday at the Constant Center, after eighth-seeded West Virginia (23-9) and ninth-seeded Texas (18-13) meet in the opener.

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said the hardest part about the game will be containing the Pirates' speed and quickness.

Once the ball goes up, seeding doesn't matter, forward Chiney Ogwumike said.

"Being a 1 seed is great, and the validation of hard work throughout the season, but basketball is a game of matchups," she said. "Either way, you win, you go on. You lose, you go home. It doesn't matter the number that goes in front of your school."

Unless, perhaps, that number is as high as they go on the seeding chart.

The Pirates, of the lightly regarded Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, set a school record for victories, are second only to Connecticut in scoring defense (46.8) and are in the tournament for the third year in a row. Last year, as a No. 13 seed, they fell 66-62 in overtime against Kentucky, proving to point guard Jericka Jenkins "that we can play with the big dogs."

That feeling carries over to this year, senior forward Keiara Avant said.

"I feel like, of course, we have a chip on our shoulder, making it last year with Kentucky into overtime," she said. "We knew that we could have sealed the deal but, this time, we're ready and we're going to be focused."

The Cardinal will be, too.

The game marks the start of the final tournament for Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Chiney's older sister, and the team wants to make it special for her.

Nnemkadi averages 21.8 points and 10.5 rebounds. Chiney averaged 15.8 and 10.3.

"She's a sister to us all, really," forward Joslyn Tinkle said of Nnemdaki, one of two seniors on the roster. "We play every game for her and the rest of the seniors that we have."

The Pirates will be bolstered by the return of Melanie Warner, their third-leading scorer with a 10.7 ppg average. Warner has been out since Feb. 19 with a broken finger.

And by the crowd, Hampton coach David Six hopes.

"I know one thing," he said with a broad smile. "There's going to be a lot of people from Hampton Roads there tomorrow. That's definitely a plus."

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

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AP

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

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AP

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.

THE TAKEAWAY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.

UP NEXT

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.