March 25, 2008

Meeting In Virginia

With about 20 seconds to play in the game and Virginia down by three. The Cavaliers had one last chance.

Playing on Old Dominion's home court, the Cavs missed once, twice, three times, four times, five times and finally...when they probably should have just taken a three-pointer with the clock rocketing towards zero...finally they hit a lay up. And the whistle indicated the foul. Aisha Mohammad hit the foul shot to send the game into overtime.

And in the extra period it was Virginia who took the early advantage. But at home, Old Dominion still had fight left in them.

Up one, they put the ball in Jazzmin Walters hands and she delivered with a long three to ice it for the Monarchs.

Old Dominion has now not lost in its last 26 games at home. They advance to the Sweet 16 where they will face top overall seed UConn.

Well, it was a good run.

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Sweetness Engulfs NCAA Tournament

By the end of today there will only be 16 remaining teams in the NCAA Tournament. And boy will that be sweet.

Monday saw the 2-seeds and most of the 3-seeds in action. While the 2-seeds - Rutgers, Stanford, Texas A&M and LSU - had little trouble advancing, the 3-seeds weren't as fortunate.

Both Cal and Baylor dropped their matchups with George Washington and Pitt, respectively. And 11-seeded Florida State took Oklahoma State to overtime before losing by a single point to the 3-seeded Cowgirls.

There is only one more 3-seed left to play, and if Monday's games are any indication, it won't be an easy night for Duke.

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Maples On Ice

While the 3-seeds had a lot of trouble on the day with both Cal and Baylor losing their second round games, the 2-seeds had no such trouble.

Rutgers, LSU and Texas A&M all won easily and advanced to the Sweet 16 Monday. For them, it all went according to plan. For the other 2-seed, Stanford, it went according to plan, but with a special Palo Alto send off for Candice Wiggins.

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March 24, 2008

Cowgirl Heroes, Panther Prowess and Sarah Jo

Andrea Riley may be the resident superhero of Stillwater, Okla., but Maria Cordero deserves a heroes welcome whenever the Cowgirls' dance ends as well.

But thanks very much to both players, it didn't end Monday night against Florida State.

It started with Cordero. With just under two minutes remaining in the overtime, Cordero looked visibly tired as she stumbled back onto the court after a time out. But then, moments later, from the Oklahoma State offensive corner a three-pointer was launched by none other than the embattled senior and when it swished the Cowgirls had a 70-65 lead with 1:38 to play. She would finish with just nine points, but that might be the biggest 3-pointer in Cowgirls history.

They never looked back. Of course, it did get hairy thanks to Florida State's Mara Freshour.

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The Cinderellas Go Today...Both Of Them

Do you know how many upsets there were in the first round of this year's NCAA Tournament?

Three. Just three.

And 9th-seeded Purdue - the Big Ten Tournament champs - beating 8th-seeded Utah - a team that didn't win its smaller conference tournament - can hardly even be considered an upset.

No, in reality, there are only two teams remaining who even draw the slightest resemblance to anything considered a Cinderella remaining. OK three if you count 7th-seeded UTEP, but they were the higher seed in their first round game.

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Doing It With Defense

When Vanderbilt lost in the second round to Bowling Green in the NCAA Tournament last season, coach Melanie Balcomb probably thought her Commodores had missed out on a golden opportunity.

The Commodores were a senior-laden team who had just come off an impressive run to win the SEC Tournament. This was supposed to be their time. Instead, little Bowling Green ended their run prematurely.

With the season's end, so did the careers of Vandy stars like Carla Thomas, Caroline Williams and Dee Davis. The Commodores' two leading scorers and their best ball distributer gone, they weren't expected to compete at as high a level this season. How could they? Who would score the ball?

Well, as her 'Dores prepare for a second round matchup with the 5-seed West Virginia out of the Spokane regional, Balcomb and her team are back and looking for second-round redemption. And they're doing it with defense.

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