Wildcats Defeat Hampton in Overtime, 66-62.

March 19, 2011

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Brittany Henderson scored four of her six points in overtime and Kentucky survived a scare from Hampton, beating the Lady Pirates 66-62 Saturday in the NCAA tournament.

Keyla Snowden led the fourth-seeded Wildcats with 19 points but missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have won the game in regulation, and Victoria Dunlap added 13 points and 12 rebounds.

The Wildcats (25-8) will face fifth-seeded North Carolina on Monday night at The Pit. The Tar Heels (27-8) beat Fresno State 82-68 in the opener.

Allowing just 51.3 points a game, the 13th-seeded Lady Pirates (25-7) were determined to put on a better showing than last season's 72-37 loss to Duke in the first round. And did they ever.

The champs of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference held Kentucky to 14 points in the first 14 minutes and never allowed the Wildcats to pull away and make it a rout.

The Lady Pirates had a chance to send it to a second overtime but the Wildcats' defense saved the day.

Choicetta McMillian led Hampton with 19 points, Jericka Jenkins added 14 and Quanneisha Perry had 12 points and a dozen rebounds.

Jenkins capped a 7-0 run with a 12-foot jumper that gave Hampton a 52-51 lead with 6:22 remaining.

After Dunlap's free throw tied it four seconds later, neither team scored again until Maegan Conwright's short off-balance jumper gave Kentucky a 54-52 lead with 3:35 left, and A'dia Mathies' layup made it a four-point game.

The Lady Pirates had six straight scoreless possessions before Jenkins' jumper made it 56-54. Perry was fouled with 1:05 left and after a timeout sank both shots to tie it.

Snowden's running jump shot at the buzzer bounced off the iron, sending it into overtime.

The Lady Pirates' cold-shooting ways continued in the extra period as they missed their first half-dozen shots.

Henderson was open underneath the basket for a quick layup and sank two free throws to make it 60-56, and Kastine Evans' 3-pointer with 1:19 left - her first points of the game - appeared to seal it at 65-59.

But the Lady Pirates weren't done.

McMillian hit two 3-pointers, her last one with 28 seconds left pulling Hampton to 65-62.

The Wildcats turned it over with 21 seconds left, but their defense was so tenacious that center Sherena Abercrumbia ended up with the ball and fired up a 3-pointer that was woefully short and went out of bounds with 2.8 seconds left.

This would have been a big upset.

Under fourth-year coach Matthew Mitchell, the Wildcats have posted their second straight 20-win season and tied a school record with 11 SEC wins. This marks their first back-to-back NCAA appearances since 1982-83. Last year, the Cats advanced to the regional final with wins over Liberty, Michigan State and Nebraska.

Although the Lady Pirates had won 13 straight and were fresh off their second straight MEAC tournament title, their 13th seed was the best ever for a MEAC team since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1994. They're winless in five trips to the NCAAs and are 1-7 all-time against SEC teams.