Old Dominion Advances To Sweet Sixteen For Sixth Time In Seven Years
March 19, 2002
By CHUCK SCHOFFNER
AP Sports Writer
Old Dominion reaching the round of the 16 in the NCAA women's basketball tournament is one thing. But Brigham Young?
The 11th-seeded Cougars pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament so far by beating third-seeded Iowa State 75-69 on Monday night in a second-round game before a noisy crowd on the Cyclones' own floor.
BYU, 0-4 in the NCAA tournament before this year, denied Iowa State a fourth straight appearance in the round of 16 and a chance to continue playing at home. The Midwest Regional will be played at Iowa State's Hilton Coliseum next Saturday and Monday.
"I'm glad I don't have to play those guys again," said BYU coach Jeff Judkins, whose team rallied from a 13-point deficit. "They've got very good balance. They're very much like us."
While BYU won't see Iowa State again, the Cougars will see second-seeded Tennessee, a six-time national champion. Tennessee advanced by beating defending national champion Notre Dame on Sunday.
Seventh-seeded Old Dominion also followed the upset route to reach the regional semifinals for the 11th time, beating second-seeded Purdue 74-70 in the Mideast Regional.
"We felt like we were better than a seven seed," Old Dominion coach Wendy Larry said. "It was a true battle of respect."
BYU and Old Dominion joined seventh-seeded Drake, which upset second-seeded Baylor on Sunday night, as the only teams seeded lower than fourth to make the round of 16. The 13 others who advanced all did so by winning at home.
Among them was Connecticut, the No. 1 seed in the Mideast. The Huskies improved to 35-0 with yet another impressive display of teamwork and defense, beating ninth-seeded Iowa 86-48.
"They are a great team," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "They have done this and will continue to do this to a lot of people."
In the other Midwest games, top-seeded Vanderbilt beat ninth-seeded Arizona State 61-35 and fourth-seeded North Carolina came from behind to beat fifth-seeded Minnesota 72-69.
In the East, third-seeded South Carolina routed sixth-seeded Cincinnati 75-56. In the West, top-seeded Oklahoma beat ninth-seeded Villanova 66-53 and second-seeded Stanford was a 77-55 winner over 10th-seeded Tulane.
That sets up the following pairings for Saturday's regional semifinals:
East at Raleigh, N.C. - top-seeded Duke (29-3) vs. fourth seeded Texas (22-9) and South Carolina (24-6) against Drake (25-7).
Mideast at Milwaukee, Wis. - Connecticut vs. fourth-seeded Penn State (23-11) and Old Dominion (27-5) vs. third-seeded Kansas State (26-7).
Midwest at Ames, Iowa - Vanderbilt (29-6) vs. North Carolina (27-7) and Tennessee (27-4) vs. BYU (24-8).
West at Boise, Idaho - Oklahoma (29-3) vs. fourth-seeded Texas Tech (20-11) and Stanford (32-2) vs. third-seeded Colorado (23-9).
Jennifer Leitner scored 17 points to lead BYU, including six in the final 1:22. Her layup gave BYU the lead for good at 68-67, and she hit two free throws to make it 70-67. She got free for another layup for a 73-69 lead with 18.2 seconds left, and Erin Thorn sank two final free throws to finish off the upset.
"We just kept our focus, that was the big thing," said Thorn, who scored 16 points despite being the focus of Iowa State's box-and-one defense. "When the crowd got loud, we tuned into our coaches and we tuned into our team and we focused on us and not what was going on around us."
Iowa State (24-9) led 60-49 with 8:32 left, then went scoreless for more than four minutes while BYU ran off 13 straight points to get back in it. Angie Welle led the Cyclones with 22 points and 13 rebounds, and Tracy Gahan scored 20.
"At the beginning of the second half, we couldn't miss, and the middle of the second half, we couldn't make one," Welle said. "I think that probably was the biggest difference."
Hamchetou Maiga had 17 points and 17 rebounds to lead Old Dominion, which blew a five-point lead with 3 minutes left in regulation but scored five of the first six points in overtime.
Kelly Komara's baseline 3-pointer pulled Purdue to 72-70 with 13.8 seconds remaining, but Sharron Francis' two free throws with 9.5 seconds left sealed the victory.
Francis finished with 14 points. Komara had 14 and Erica Valek 13 for Purdue (24-6), the runner-up in last year's tournament.
"It was thrilling to watch and thrilling to play, but right now it hurts," Komara said.