Sunday's basketball: Detroit Mercy women get first Horizon League win

Detroit News staff and wire services
Connecticut's Katie Lou Samuelson (33) smiles shortly after surpassing her 2,000th college career point in the second half. No. 3 UConn defeated South Florida 63-46.

Zoey Oatis had 16 points, 13 rebounds and six steals to lead the Detroit Mercy women to its first win in the Horizon League this season, a 42-36 road victory over Illinois-Chicago on Sunday.

Lola Ristovski and Paige Bellman each had nine points for UDM (3-13, 1-4), which trailed by two at halftime.

Illinois-Chicago falls to 3-14 and 3-11.

More state women

(At) IUPUI 81, Oakland 53: Kahlaijah Dean and Taylor Jones each scored 13 for Oakland (4-12, 1-4 Horizon), which was outscored in every quarter. IUPUI improves to 10-7 and 4-2.

Top 25 women

(At) No. 3 UConn 63, South Florida 46: Katie Lou Samuelson scored 19 points to reach the 2,000-point milestone for the Huskies (14-1, 3-0 American), who have never suffered a conference loss in the AAC.

Samuelson is the 10th UConn player to reach 2,000 points.

Big losses

The teams leading the AP Top 25 spent the week piling up victories or surviving close calls, most notably when top-ranked Duke posted a last-second win at No. 13 Florida State on Saturday.

Things didn’t go nearly so well for teams in the second half of the poll.

In the latest sign of what could be another unpredictable March, 12 of the 15 teams outside the top 10 lost at least once and combined for 17 losses. That included five teams losing twice: No. 14 Mississippi State, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 20 Iowa State, No. 24 St. John’s and No. 25 TCU.

The only ranked teams outside the top 10 to avoid losses were No. 18 Kentucky, No. 19 Buffalo and No. 21 Marquette, setting the stage for some significant changes in today’s new poll.

Some of the losses, at least, came in matchups against higher-ranked league opponents, headlined by the Seminoles falling on Cam Reddish’s 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left despite Duke playing the second half without star freshman Zion Williamson (poked in the eye).

The others were No. 15 North Carolina State losing to No. 12 North Carolina, No. 23 Oklahoma falling to eighth-ranked Texas Tech and the Horned Frogs losing to both the Sooners and No. 7 Kansas in the Big 12.

Road warriors

One reason for third-ranked Tennessee’s success has been its ability to handle playing on the road.

The Volunteers won at Florida on Saturday, earning their first 10-game winning streak since the 2007-08 season. It was also the program’s fifth straight win in true road games dating to last season, with this year’s wins coming at Memphis and then Missouri in Southeastern Conference play.

It was Tennessee’s first win at Florida since February 2012.

Rim protection

Kansas coach Bill Self saw signs that his Jayhawks can protect the rim after losing 7-foot junior Udoka Azubuike to a season-ending hand injury.

The Jayhawks finished with a season-high 11 blocked shots in Saturday’s win at Baylor , including five from 6-9 Memphis transfer Dedric Lawson and two more from 6-5 freshman guard Quentin Grimes.

“We did a good job early in the game of getting some blocked shots (by) walling up,” Self said, “and that’s what happens when you guard it right.”

Azubuike was averaging 1.6 blocks per game before being lost for the season. He swatted a team-high 60 shots during last year’s run to the Final Four.