Dallas: Semifinal Wrap-Up

By Jean Neuberger - March 26, 2007

Four teams fought their way to get to Reunion Arena and play tonight. Now, we're down to just two, as North Carolina and Purdue will face off for a ticket to the Final Four, and Georgia and George Washington head home, with their seasons officially finished.

Today we saw two teams pick up momentum and never look back, but they did it in two completely different scenarios. While Purdue dug themselves a 12-point hole to Georgia before making an inspired comeback, North Carolina ran off seven unanswered from a 10-10 tie and just never looked back, keeping the game well within distance of the Colonials.

Tuesday's game should be a classic. Last year, UNC beat Purdue on a last-second bank shot by Ivory Latta. This year, both teams return...can Purdue turn the tables on the Tar Heels? Can Katie Gearlds take over against Camille Little and the UNC frontcourt? We'll find out in what should be one of the best games of the tournament to date.

So, with tonight's games in the books, here's tonight's awards for the regional semifinals.

It's not that UNC looked back, but Purdue made the biggest statement with their comeback win. Katie Gearlds locked up All-Region honors with her performance tonight. Impressive win for the Boilers.

PLAYER OF THE NIGHT: Katie Gearlds, Purdue
She dominated inside, outside, offensively, defensively....you name it, she did it, and did it well.

MASCOT OF THE NIGHT: George Washington
How can you go wrong with America's founding father? His picture's been all over this site, so we're not going to post it again, but let's just say that is one awesome Colonial. And G-Dub, if the offer's up...send a note my way and I'll take that hat!

BAND OF THE NIGHT: Purdue/Geo. Washington
The Purdue band picked up during the game. UGA's music selection was better to start with, but I love the Purdue chants on free throws, especially going back to Sesame Street days. There is nothing like classic taunting during free throws to keep people laughing (as well as grabbing the attention of everyone on press row). That was some FUNNY stuff. As for George Washington, their band was vocal, loud, and easily outplayed the North Carolina pep band. Not. Even. Close.

This is the first time ever that the fan award and the spirit squad award has been combined into one, but we've really never had the scenario in which it fit perfectly. Tonight, it did. With a small crowd, George Washington's fans were hands down the more vocal group, and that's a credit to both their band and their spirit squad. What amazed me though tonight was their spirit squad never lost faith, or never showed it at least, until the final buzzer sounded. They never stopped smiling (and these were genuine smiles, not those fake plastered ones you see from certain West Coast schools....you know which ones they are), enjoying the moment for themselves and their team, and they made it contagious, as even the GW bench smiled and did cheers late in the game. GW lost the game, but UNC, as well as Georgia and Purdue, could've learned a thing or two from the First Ladies. Also, they did a halftime show....where were the other schools?

So, to Hope Krasniewicz, Alyssa Steinmetz, Megan Shea, Meg Cerullo, Cat Corbo, Katrina Ulcickas, Ally Tranchina, Emma Geller, Rachel Hornak, Allison Zoch, Megan Dillon, and Thayer Case, the cap is tipped to all of you, who set the bar very high for any other programs to match.

Right now, Katie Gearlds, LaToya Pringle, and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton seem to be locks, unless they really choke for their respective teams on Tuesday.

"There's no whining in basketball!" - Fan behind me during both games.
Question: Has this guy ever seen John Calipari at Memphis? The little girl on American Idol doesn't cry as much as he does!

And with that, we'll close tonight's coverage of the Dallas Regional semifinals. Will all of these candidates end up getting an All-Regional Award (which I now proclaim are the "Ewings" in honor of the 80s TV show Dallas). Wait and see on Tuesday, when we find out who gets a golden ticket to Cleveland for the 2007 Women's Final Four.

For now, though, we bid you good night from Reunion Arena in Dallas!

Posted by Jean Neuberger at 01:24 AM on March 26, 2007

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