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Brittney Sykes scored 28 points as No. 8 seed Syracuse routed No. 9 Iowa State 85-65 in the first round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament’s Bridgeport bracket on Saturday at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn.
Nancy Lieberman Award finalist Alexis Peterson finished with 25 points and eight assists and Gabby Cooper added 24 points for Syracuse (22-10).
The Orange advance to face the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed Connecticut on Monday in a rematch of last year’s NCAA championship game. The Huskies brushed aside No. 16 seed Albany 116-55 for their 108th straight win.
Briana Day grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds -- five offensive -- and added five points for the Orange, who shot 41.8 percent (28 of 67). Cooper matched a program single-game record when she knocked down her eighth 3-pointer in the final quarter.
Seanna Johnson led the way with 21 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for Iowa State (18-13). Jadda Buckley and Meredith Burkhall each had 11 points and Bridget Carleton added 10 for the Cyclones.
With her 16th point in the third quarter, Johnson passed Kelsey Bolte for seventh place on Iowa State’s all-time scoring list.
It was Johnson’s 89th career double-figure scoring game and her 33rd double-double for Iowa State, which shot only 38.1 percent (24 for 63) in the game.
Syracuse led 45-24 at halftime. Iowa State nearly equaled its entire first-half output with 23 points in the third quarter, but the Orange kept pace and led 67-47 entering the fourth.
An 18-point fourth wrapped up the win for Syracuse.
Cooper had 15 points and Sykes added 11 in the first quarter as the Orange jumped out to a 33-8 lead. The Cyclones were held to 11.1 percent shooting (2 for 18) in the period.
Iowa State doubled its point total in the second quarter alone, but still found itself trailing by 21 at the break.
The Orange made 10 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes.