LOS ANGELES - Upstart UC Riverside appeared to be nothing more than a minor hurdle for third-seeded Arizona State. Instead, the Sun Devils needed a furious second-half rally to avoid one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history.
Briann January scored 15 points, Danielle Orsillo added 13, and third-seeded ASU rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat the 14th-seeded Highlanders 57-50 Saturday night in a first-round game of the Greensboro Regional.
The Sun Devils pulled out the victory by outscoring UC Riverside 19-2 after Chanel Foster's basket with just under eight minutes remaining gave the Highlanders a 48-38 lead.
UC Riverside played without Kemie Nkele down the stretch. The Big West Player of the Year had 16 points and six rebounds before fouling out with 4:13 left.
Aubree Johnson had 11 points and 10 rebounds for No. 10 ASU (29-4), which will face sixth-seeded Louisville in a second-round game Monday night. The 25th-ranked Cardinals (27-7) beat 11th-seeded Brigham Young 80-54 earlier Saturday night.
Teams seeded 14th have never won an NCAA tournament game since the current format was adopted in 1994. Only one team seeded 14th or lower has ever prevailed in the first round - 16th-seeded Harvard beat top-seeded Stanford in 1998.