The first round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament went just about the way the rest of the season went for the nation's top teams.
Top-ranked Connecticut won big, No. 7 Iowa State made a lot of 3-pointers and Helen Darling of No. 6 Penn State again stood tall -- all 5 feet, 7 inches of her.
The 16 games that got the tournament started also produced two major upsets: 11th-seeded Stephen F. Austin eliminated sixth-seeded Xavier in the East Regional and 11th-seeded Alabama-Birmingham knocked out sixth-seeded Oregon in the West. And there was news off the court as well.
Leon Barmore, the dour-faced coach who has guided Louisiana Tech to nine Final Four appearances, announced he will resign when the Lady Techsters' season ends. Barmore has been Tech's coach for 18 years and has the highest winning percentage (.872) in Division I basketball -- men or women.
''I gave all I have,'' said Barmore, 55, tears welling in his eyes. ''I have one more run at the national championship, and that's it.''
Louisiana Tech (28-2), the top-seeded team in the Midwest Regional, meets Alcorn State (22-8) in a first-round game tonight in Ruston, La.
Connecticut was the only No. 1 seed that played Friday night and, as expected, the Huskies won easily, routing Hampton 116-45 in the East Regional at Storrs, Conn.
The 71-point margin was the third largest in NCAA tournament play and UConn (31-1) matched the tournament record for points in a half with 65 in the first 20 minutes. Connecticut entered the tournament outscoring its opponents by an average of 30 points.
''It's hard to beat us when we're playing really, really well,'' UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. ''The talent we have and Hampton has is unfair.''
All-American Shea Ralph led Connecticut with 20 points and five teammates also scored in double figures.
Iowa State, averaging nine 3-point baskets to rank second nationally, had 10 in the first half of a 92-63 victory over St. Francis in the Midwest Regional at Ames, Iowa. The third-seeded Cyclones (26-5) finished with 15, one short of the tournament record.
''I could have sworn they had more than 15,'' St. Francis coach Myndi Hill said. ''I thought it was more like 30.''
Angie Welle, Iowa State's 6-foot-4 center, led the way with 18 points and 14 rebounds and made her second 3-pointer of the season.
''I wanted to get in on the fun, too,'' Welle said.
Darling, chosen the nation's best small player earlier in the day, did what a point guard is supposed to do by handing out eight assists in second-seeded Penn State's 83-63 victory over Youngstown State in the Midwest Regional at State College, Pa.
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