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Whalen's return lifts Gophers

Lindsay Whalen scored 31 points in her first game in more than five weeks, leading Minnesota to a 92-81 victory over UCLA yesterday in the first round of the Mideast Regional at Minneapolis.

Whalen, the school's all-time leading scorer, has helped resurrect the program from an 8-20 record her freshman year to a third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance this season. She hadn't played since breaking two bones in her shooting hand in a fall against Ohio State Feb. 12, and the Gophers' 3-4 finish without her cost them a better seed.

Janel McCarville added 19 points and 17 rebounds for seventh-seeded Minnesota (22-8), which will face second-seeded Kansas State in a second-round game tomorrow.

Nikki Blue scored 20 of her 33 points after halftime for the Bruins (17-13) before fouling out in the final minute. Her quickness helped keep UCLA competitive on Minnesota's home court before 12,357 loud fans.

Lisa Willis and Noelle Quinn each added 15 points for 10th-seeded UCLA.

Kansas St. 71, Valparaiso 63 -- Nicole Ohlde scored 25 points to lead the Wildcats (25-5) past the Crusaders in Minneapolis. Kendra Wecker added 15 points and Laurie Koehn 14 for Kansas State.

Ohlde went 15 of 21 from the free throw line, both career highs. The 21 attempts tied her for the most in a first- or second-round tournament game with Allison Feaster, who did it for Harvard in 1998 against Stanford.

Duke 103, Northwestern St. 51 -- At Durham, N.C., reserve Jessica Foley scored 18 points as the Blue Devils (28-3) romped past the No. 16-seeded Lady Demons (24-7) in a first-round game.Duke, a No. 1 seed for the fourth straight season, is looking to return to the Final Four for the third straight year.

Marquette 67, Old Dominion 64 -- Freshman Christina Quaye scored 24 points and hit a go-ahead layup with 5.8 seconds left at Durham to lift the Golden Eagles (22-9) over the eighth-seeded Lady Monarchs (25-7). Quaye, who went 10 for 15 from the floor and had eight 8 rebounds, scored 11 points in the final six minutes.

EastPenn St. 79, Hampton 42 -- The Lady Lions (26-5) lived up to their top billing by scoring at will against the Lady Pirates (17-13) in a romp at Blacksburg, Va. Kelly Mazzante, the Big Ten's career scoring leader, led Penn State with 18 points. Tanisha Wright added 16 and Jess Strom had 14.

Virginia Tech 89, Iowa 76 -- Ieva Kublina had 26 points and four blocks and Carrie Mason scored 19 points, leading the eighth-seeded Hokies (23-7) past the Hawkeyes (16-13) in another first-round matchup at Blacksburg.

Notre Dame 69, SW Missouri St. 65 -- Courtney LaVere scored 4 of her 11 points in overtime and made a key block, helping the Irish (20-10) escape in a first-round game at South Bend, Ind.

Middle Tennessee 67, North Carolina 62 -- Patrice Holmes scored 18 points, including two free throws with 8.3 seconds left, as the 13th-seeded Lady Raiders (24-7) upset the fourth-seeded Tar Heels (24-7) at South Bend to advance to a second-round game tomorrow against host Notre Dame.

Auburn 79, N.C. State 59 -- Natasha Brackett scored 26 points and the seventh-seeded Tigers (22-8) dominated on the inside to beat the 10th-seeded Wolfpack (17-15) to advance to the second round of the regional at Bridgeport, Conn.

WestMaryland 86, Miami 85 -- Delvona Oliver and Chrystal Washington each scored 22 points as the 12th-seeded Terrapins (18-12) upset the fifth-seeded Hurricanes (22-7) in a first-round matchup at Baton Rouge, La.

Texas 92, Southern 57 -- Tiffany Jackson scored 21 points and the Longhorns (29-4), the top seed in the West Regional, rolled over the Jaguars (17-13), putting on a show for a home crowd in Austin, Texas.

Villanova 66, Mississippi 63 -- Jackie Adamshick scored all of her 15 points in the second half and Liad Suez added 11, leading the seventh-seeded Wildcats (23-6) over the 10th-seeded Lady Rebels (17-14) at Ames, Iowa.

Purdue 78, St. Francis (Pa.) 59 -- Shereka Wright and Erin Lawless scored 17 points apiece and the second-seeded Boilermakers (28-3) used a strong second half at Amesto end an upset bid by the 15th-seeded Red Flash (25-6), who led by 2 with less than six minutes left in the first half.

LSU 83, Austin Peay 66 -- Seimone Augustus scored 21 points and Temeka Johnson had 17 points and 12 assists as the fourth-seeded Tigers (24-7) rolled in the first round at Baton Rouge.

Michigan St. 72, Arizona 60 -- Lindsay Bowen scored 18 points and the eighth-seeded Spartans (22-8) used a strong defensive effort to stop the Wildcats (24-9) in the first round at Austin.

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