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No. 1 seed South Carolina beats Northridge 73-58

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 23, 2014 at 9:27 pm •  Published: March 23, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) — South Carolina looked little like a No. 1 seed to start the NCAA tournament.

Mostly because Cal State Northridge didn't play like a typical No. 16.

Tiffany Mitchell scored 24 points, Alaina Coates added 13, and the top-seeded Gamecocks took a while to pull away from the Matadors in a 73-58 first-round win on Sunday.

Dawn Staley didn't care that the score will grab attention for its lack of margin. For a team that's young and not built to blowout opponents, the South Carolina coach thought Cal State Northridge provided a perfect entry into the tournament.

"I wasn't surprised. This is March. Welcome to the madness," Staley said. "I'm glad I'm sitting here able to prepare for a game on Tuesday."

South Carolina (28-4) were the new kids when it came to being a top seed in the NCAAs, garnering the achievement after never being higher than a No. 3 seed in the past. And while the Gamecocks didn't play poorly against the champions of the Big West Conference, it took far longer than expected to finally dispatch of the pesky Matadors.

South Carolina will face No. 9 seed Oregon State in the round of 32 on Tuesday night. South Carolina outscored Northridge 27-11 at the free-throw line and had 20 second-chance points.

"We just tried to go out there and do what we did to get the No. 1 seed and stick to our game plan," Mitchell said.

Janae Sharpe led Cal State Northridge (18-15) with 26 points, but was held in check most of the second half.

Ashley Guay, the Big West player of the year, was held to six points on 2 of 9 shooting. She had to be helped off the court with 4:34 left in the game after hitting her head hard on the floor going for a rebound, a play where she was called for a foul.

"I'm proud of them as young women," Northridge coach Jason Flowers said. "They showed a bigger audience today what they are as young women, what we are as a program."

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