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Michigan State's Powers, UNC's DeShields bring star freshman talent into NCAA tourney game


North Carolina's Diamond DeSheilds, left, goes to the basket against UT-Martin's Heather Butler during the second half of a first-round game of the NCAA women's college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 23, 2014, in Chapel Hill, N.C. North Carolina won 60-58. (AP Photo/Ellen Ozier) (The Associated Press)

North Carolina star freshman Diamond DeShields struggled for much of her NCAA tournament debut. It was a much different story for Michigan State's Aerial Powers.

Their teams meet Tuesday in the NCAA tournament's second round, with each all-conference rookie knowing she'll play a big factor in determining whether her team reaches the round of 16 in the Stanford Regional.

Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant says a long season full of tough games has prepared both freshmen for this moment.

DeShields scored 13 of her 15 points during UNC's second-half comeback to beat UT Martin 60-58 on Sunday, though she made just three of 12 shots.

Powers, a redshirt freshman who missed last season with an injury, dominated Hampton for 26 points and a program-record 18 rebounds in the Spartans' win.