Washington Edges Old Dominion, 67-65
By ODU Athletics
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Loree Payne got Washington's tournament off to a magical start Friday, hitting a 15-foot jump shot at the buzzer to lift the Huskies past Old Dominion 67-65 in the first round of the West Regional.
With 0.7 seconds remaining, Payne, a sophomore, took the inbounds pass from Megan Franza, spotted up on the baseline and swished home the game winner as the buzzer blared.
The sixth-seeded Huskies (20-9) rushed off the bench and mobbed Payne, pushing her into press row, as they celebrated a triumphant return to the tournament after a two-season absence.
Washington will play the winner of Friday night's game between No. 3 seed Florida and No. 14 Holy Cross.
No. 11 seed Old Dominion (21-9) trailed by as many as 10, but chipped away, and when Monique Coker hit a layup, the Lady Monarchs tied the game at 65 with 54 seconds remaining.
After a Washington turnover, Old Dominion had a chance for the go-ahead bucket, but lost the ball after shooting an air ball, then getting whistled for a shot-clock violation.
The Huskies brought the ball down, and Franza missed a 15-foot jumper. But the ball went out of bounds off Old Dominion, giving Payne her chance to be the hero.
It was a quick turnaround for Washington, which blew its chance to win the Pac-10 outright with two bad losses to to UCLA and USC _ both at the bottom of the conference _ to close the regular season.
The Huskies, who depend largely on their 3-point shooting, won despite making just 7 of 22 from long range. Payne hit four 3-pointers and led Washington with 20 points. Franza, an All Pac-10 first-teamer, finished with 12 points and six assists.
Long a powerhouse in the women's game, Old Dominion came into the tournament with its lowest seed ever, even though it won its 10th straight Colonial Athletic Association title.
Myriah Spence came off the bench to lead the Monarchs with 13 points while teammate Hamchetou Maiga had 11 points and seven rebounds. The was ODU's first opening-round loss since 1995.