Sunday, March 23, 2003

Lady Vols have no problems at home

Women's tournament roundup: Virginia Tech advances on timely layup

The Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Ah, home sweet home. Playing on its own campus against an NCAA Tournament newcomer, top-seeded Tennessee was in control right from the start and beat Alabama State 95-43 Saturday to open the Mideast Regional.

Shyra Ely had 17 points and eight rebounds, and reserve Brittany Jackson scored 16 on nearly perfect shooting for Tennessee (29-4), which raced to a 12-0 lead after 3 1/2 minutes.

The Lady Vols' defense was impressive, holding Alabama State to just 24 percent shooting from the field (17-of-70).

Tennessee will play Virginia in the second round Monday - another home game for the Lady Vols. Indeed, Tennessee can reach the Final Four this year without ever leaving the comfort of home, scheduled to play four games at its Thompson-Boling Arena.


Virginia 72, Illinois 56

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Anna Crosswhite and Brandi Teamer each scored 17 points as Virginia beat Illinois.

The eighth-seeded Cavaliers (17-13) advanced to the second round to face top-seeded Tennessee.

Virginia, playing in its 20th straight NCAA Tournament, had lost in the first round the last two years.

The Cavaliers have plenty of tournament history with Tennessee even though they have beaten the Lady Vols only once. The win in the 1990 regional final in Norfolk, Va., was a big one, because it kept Tennessee out of the Final Four, which it was hosting.

Tennessee avenged the loss the next year by beating the Cavaliers in the national championship game.


Virginia Tech 61, Georgia Tech 59

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Carrie Mason drove the lane for an uncontested layup with one second to go, giving Virginia Tech the victory.

The Hokies (22-9) led 59-53 with just more than three minutes left after consecutive 3-pointers by Ieva Kublina and Chrystal Starling.

But Fallon Stokes hit two free throws and Alex Stewart scored, too, pulling the Yellow Jackets (20-11) to 59-57 with a minute remaining. Stokes then scored on a fast-break layup to tie the game with 18 seconds left.

Kublina led Virginia Tech with 18 points, and Starling added 15. Stokes had a game-high 25 points for the Yellow Jackets. Virginia Tech next plays Purdue.

The Hokies led the entire first half by as many as 10 points but were hurt repeatedly by turnovers and fouls. Georgia Tech pulled within 29-28 at halftime, then took its first lead on two straight baskets at the start of the second period by Stewart, who finished with 10 points.

Purdue 66, Valparaiso 51

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Erika Valek scored 23 points and Purdue forced eight turnovers during a 24-2 first-half run.

Second-seeded Purdue (27-5) will play Virginia Tech (22-9) in the second round Monday.

Valparaiso (18-13), which reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time as Mid-Continent Conference champion, couldn't sustain its strong start and fell apart midway through the first half under Purdue's constant pressure.

Valparaiso - which matched its season high with 23 turnovers - was led by Jenna Stangler with 12 points.

Boston College 73, Old Dominion 72

NORFOLK, Va. - Amber Jacobs' jumper with 3.3 seconds remaining lifted Boston College.

The Eagles (21-8) inbounded the ball with 21 seconds left and missed two shots under the basket before Jacobs made her shot from the top of the key.

Old Dominion (21-11) scored eight straight points, capped by Shareese Grant's jumper in the paint with 1:40 left, to go up 72-68. Jacobs, who led Boston College with 23 points, hit a 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining to bring the fifth-seeded Eagles to 72-71.

The No. 12 seed Lady Monarchs were led by Monique Coker with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Okeisha Howard added 17 points.

Vanderbilt 54, Liberty 44

NORFOLK, Va. - Ashley McElhiney scored 17 points for Vanderbilt.

The fourth-seeded Lady Commodores (22-9) play Boston College in the second round Monday.

Liberty (26-4), seeded 13th, trailed the entire game but closed to 37-34 on a layup by Katie Feenstra with a little over nine minutes remaining. Vanderbilt responded with a 9-0 run to push the lead to 13 with less then five minutes to go.

Abi Ramsey had 11 points and Chantelle Anderson added seven points and 10 rebounds for Vanderbilt. Liberty was led by Daina Staugaitiene with 13 points.

Kristal Tharp added 10 points for Liberty.

The Lady Flames have been to the NCAA Tournament the last seven years and have never advanced past the first round.


Rutgers 64, Western Kentucky 52

ATHENS, Ga. - Cappie Pondexter scored 13 of her 21 points in the last 11 minutes, and Rutgers overcame an eight-minute scoreless drought in the second half to win.

Pondexter added 10 rebounds, five assists and six steals, and Chelsea Newton scored 14 points for fourth-seeded Rutgers (21-7), which plays Georgia in the second round.

Leslie Logsdon scored 13 points for 13th-seeded Western Kentucky (22-9).

Western Kentucky overcame a 31-23 halftime deficit by scoring 11 straight points early in the second half. Rutgers' press forced 12 second-half turnovers by Western Kentucky.

Georgia 80, Charlotte 61

ATHENS, Ga. - Christi Thomas scored a career-high 31 points to lead Georgia.

Fifth-seeded Georgia (20-9) plays Rutgers on Monday. The Knights advanced earlier with a 64-52 victory over Western Kentucky. Rutgers advanced to the Final Four in 2000 with a regional final victory over Georgia in the last meeting between the two teams.

No. 12 seed Charlotte (21-9), playing in its first NCAA Tournament, had no answer for Thomas, who went 13-of-24 and had eight rebounds. She also had four steals.

Mississippi St. 73, Manhattan 47

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Tan White made five 3-pointers and scored 22 points and Mississippi State took advantage of an early scoring drought by Manhattan in a win in the first round.

Third-seeded Mississippi State (24-7) cruised into the second round as Manhattan (20-10) missed its first 13 shots and 21 of its first 24.

Mississippi State will play the winner of the game between New Mexico and Miami in the second round.

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