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Indiana advances to first-ever Elite Eight, tops NC State

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Ali Patberg scored 17 points and Mackenzie Holmes added 16 as Indiana upended top-seeded North Carolina State 73-70 in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 round on Saturday in San Antonio.

Nicole Cardano-Hillary added 14 points, Grace Berger collected 12 points and 12 rebounds and Aleksa Gulbe supplied 11 points as the Hoosiers (21-5) led throughout the second half.

Fourth-seeded Indiana, which never previously had been in the Sweet 16, meets the Arizona-Texas A&M winner in Monday’s Mercardo Region final.

Elissa Cunane’s 3-point attempt in the waning seconds was off the mark for NC State.

Jada Boyd tallied 18 points, Raina Perez had 17 and Cunane finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds for NC State (22-3), which was unable to pull out another comeback.

Indiana, which trailed by 11 points in the first quarter, began the third with an 11-2 edge for a 45-35 lead. The advantage expanded to 14 points with 12 minutes left in the game.

The Hoosiers led by at least seven points in the fourth quarter until Perez and Boyd hit 3-pointers, trimming the gap to 70-66 with 2:20 to play. Boyd scored again, and the Wolfpack had two possessions with chances to tie or go ahead before two free throws by Cardano-Hillary with 22 seconds showing.

Perez answered with a basket to make it 72-70. Patberg made the second of a two-shot foul, giving the Wolfpack one more chance.

Holmes had fouled out with 3:24 left.

NC State, which has only advanced beyond the Sweet 16 once (in 1998), lost in the regional semifinal for the third straight NCAA Tournament.

–Field Level Media

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