The rest of the world can call Boston College beating Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament an upset; Boston College will just call it finishing the job.
The Eagles had Ohio State on the ropes late in a Dec. 3 game at Conte Forum in Boston, but the Buckeyes rallied behind Marscilla Packer's brilliant shooting and escaped Beantown with an overtime win. They won't be going back.
In the final minutes of the final slot of games during the first four days of an NCAA Tournament ruled by the chalk, No. 8 seed Boston College became the first team since 1998 to send home a No. 1 seed during the first two rounds. So while the Sweet 16 will have 14 of the top-four seeds, the most since all 16 top-four seeds advanced in 1999, it will also have a collection of upstarts just two games away from returning home for the Final Four.
By earning the 79-69 win in a game in which they led almost the entire time, the Eagles proved that a five-game losing streak in the ACC to end the season was just one more part of a learning process that in many ways began in the final few minutes of their first game against the Buckeyes, a 66-61 overtime loss.
They learned how fine a line it is when you win by producing more than the sum of its parts might suggest is possible.
In a conference with go-to options like Latta, Monique Currie and Crystal Langhorne, Brooke Queenan seemed miscast as Boston College's leading scorer. It was a role she hadn't yet grasped in the first game against Ohio State, scoring just eight points in 31 minutes. But there she was on Tuesday night, working the mid-range game to perfection on her way to 19 points.
And when Queenan picked up her fourth foul with more than 11 minutes left in the second half, Kindyll Dorsey stepped up with big shot after big shot, finishing with 24 points and an NCAA Tournament single-game record six 3-pointers. It was a dramatic turnaround for a player who, after taking just three shots in 40 minutes against the Buckeyes in December, looked nothing like the heir apparent to the legacy of shooting heroics provided by Jessalyn Deveny and Amber Jacobs in past NCAA Tournaments.
Getting the ball to both of them all night was Sarah Marshall. She isn't a pass-first point guard, because the term implies that there's another option. But in a world increasingly ruled by shoot-first superstar lead guards like Latta and Rutgers' Cappie Pondexter, Marshall proves there is still room for a point guard who made just one 3-pointer all season and has as many assists as field goal attempts.
Thanks in large part to the growth from those three players, the Eagles were a better team than the one the Buckeyes survived in December, but that doesn't mean they were a completely different team. Just as they did in the first game, the Eagles used the size of Kathrin Ress and Lisa Macchia to body Kodak All-American Jessica Davenport like few teams in the Big Ten could. And by collapsing on Davenport when she was able to get the ball, the Eagles again dared Ohio State to beat them from outside. And in the end, despite a strong shooting night from Debbie Merrill, the Buckeyes simply didn't have enough support for their center.
Boston College planted the seeds for this accomplishment on a blustery day in December. They took hold during a subsequent upset of Stanford on Dec. 28, and Cathy Inglese nurtured them through the good and the bad of the team's first season in the ACC. And barely 24 hours after the official start of spring, Inglese watched as the upset bloomed in West Lafayette.
ESPN's Stacey Dales-Schuman
Boston College mixed it up defensively with Jessica Davenport, jumping from man to zone. The Eagles went straight up with her at times, then would fly somebody at her at other times. That took Ohio State out of its entire system. The Buckeyes couldn't find any production out of their point guards, which were a factor all season long. But they just couldn't get it going tonight.
ESPN's Kara Lawson
Boston College set the tone early on with its energy. When the ball changed possessions from defense to offense, Ohio State was lethargic on those changes of possessions. Boston College was the faster team, the team with more energy. Boston College clearly wanted it more tonight.
ESPN.com's Mechelle Voepel
Before the game, Ohio State coach Jim Foster talked about how important it was to play very sound, fundamental defense against the Eagles. And how the Buckeyes had to be prepared for a physical game. Knowing all that, though, wasn't enough. Boston College executed its offense very well, and Ohio State couldn't come back with enough of an answer. Tuesday was a good example of why, in the last five years, teams have not wanted to see BC in their bracket. Vanderbilt (which lost to BC in overtime in the second round in 2003) and Duke (which escaped BC 70-65 last year in the second round) could both attest to that.
Georgia's Tasha Humphrey rates as one of the better outside shooters in college basketball, hitting 48 percent of her shots from behind the arc this season and draining one against Hartford on Tuesday. A lack of volume hurts her case for place at the top of the upper echelon, but the accuracy at least puts her in the argument.
Now the scary part: Humphrey unquestionably rates as one of the three or four best power forwards in the nation.
DePaul forward Khara Smith can knock down shots from behind the arc, and Stanford guard Candice Wiggins crashes the boards like a post player, but nobody matches Humphrey's mix of perimeter and post. She was at her best right from the start against Jennifer Rizzotti's Hawks in the second round, grabbing an offensive rebound on the very first Georgia shot and draining a long jumper just a few possessions later. By the time it was over, Humphrey had 24 points and 17 rebounds as the Bulldogs pulled away for a 73-54 win that was more competitive than the final score indicated.
Already adept at getting it done no matter where she is on the court, Humphrey now gets a chance to prove she can get it done no matter where the court is, as the Lady Dogs move on to face Connecticut in Bridgeport in the Sweet 16.
|PHOTO OF THE DAY|
AP Photo/Darron Cummings
Hey, she has two kids. So Kristy Curry must know how to pull off a temper tantrum -- and had a bit of one herself over a second-half call in Purdue's win over UCLA.
|STAT OF THE DAY|
6 -- The number of No. 1 seeds, including OSU, that have failed to reach the Sweet 16 in the tournament's 25-year history.
|PLAYER OF THE DAY|
Kindyll Dorsey wasn't ready for the spotlight when it found her last season. Forced off the end of the bench and into a prominent role when star Jessalyn Deveny suffered a season-ending injury, Dorsey managed just 14 points in two NCAA Tournament games in 2005. And without anyone to replace Deveny's shooting, the Eagles fell just short in their upset bid against second-seeded Duke in the second round.
Now a junior with the chance to write her own ending this season, the chance Deveny never got, Dorsey wasn't about to let the opportunity slip through her fingers again. A non-factor when the teams met in December, she was the deciding factor in No. 8 seed Boston College knocking off No. 1 seed Ohio State in the biggest upset of the first four days. With 24 points, including six 3-pointers, Dorsey shot the Eagles into the Sweet 16 and one step closer to the Final Four in Boston.
|NEVER GETS OLD|
Candace Parker's all-around athleticism is the flash, and Shanna Zolman's sweet shooting stroke is the sizzle, but Pat Summitt's recipe for success is as simple (and probably as old) as your mom's meatloaf recipe. And that recipe is why the Lady Vols will celebrate a silver anniversary of their own, advancing to their 25th Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Because for all their offensive skill, Tennessee still beats teams by beating them down on the boards.
Against No. 7 seed George Washington in the second round, the Lady Vols coasted to a 66-53 win by crushing the Colonials on the boards, pulling down 41 rebounds to GW's 28. For the year, Tennessee outrebounded its opponents by nearly nine boards a game. With Alexis Hornbuckle, herself a great rebounding guard, allowing Parker to spend more time down low, the Lady Vols will go to Cleveland and take their best shot at getting back to the Final Four.
And if they miss that shot, they'll probably just get the rebound.
|TRIPLE THREAT POSITION|
Imagine Muhammad Ali battling Joe Frazier in the first round of a title fight, only to find George Foreman waiting for him in the second round and Larry Holmes showing up for the third round. The blows exchanged in Tuesday's second-round game between UCLA and Purdue in West Lafayette were less physical in nature (unless Erin Lawless was involved) than a heavyweight bout, but Katie Gearlds endured the same kind of daunting challenge in checking the trio of Lisa Willis, Noelle Quinn and Nikki Blue.
An underrated all-around player who might actually suffer from the stereotype of great one-dimensional sharpshooters from the Hoosier state, Gearlds did as much as anyone to control the offensive flow for the Boilermakers. But with Purdue playing mostly man-to-man defense against the high-scoring Bruins, Gearlds also found herself guarding either Willis, Quinn or occasionally Blue. For the season, Willis and Quinn combined to average 36.3 points per game. Against the Boilers, they combined for just 24 points.
Gearlds didn't shut down either player by herself, getting plenty of help from players like Aya Trayore and Lawless in Purdue's active defense, but her willingness to stand in and trade punches with three of the nation's best offensive players (the Bruins missed their final 15 shots) is one of the biggest reasons the Boilers are heading to Cleveland for the Sweet 16.
|LAST ONE SITTING|
It's sort of musical chairs in reverse for Georgia's Janese Hardrick this season. When the music stops on the national anthem, the junior guard is almost always the only regular who finds herself in possession of a chair. The top, and really only, reserve for Andy Landers' No. 3 seed, Hardrick manages to achieve the difficult distinction of being overshadowed by the diminutive starting backcourt trio of Sherill Baker, Cori Chambers and Alexis Kendrick. But if Georgia is going to get past UConn in the unfriendly confines of Bridgeport in the Sweet 16, Hardrick will be the secret weapon.
A freshman All-American who battled injuries and slid to the bench as a sophomore, she quietly rates as Georgia's most consistent guard this season. Baker has the quick hands and gaudy theft statistics, and Chambers is a dynamite outside shooter, but it's Hardrick who has the best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team, shoots 45 percent from behind the arc and ranks second to Baker in steals. Against Hartford in the second round, Tasha Humphrey and Baker earned the spotlight by combining for 50 points, but Hardrick backed them up with 12 points, four rebounds and a pair of assists.
Graham Hays is a regular contributor to ESPN.com's women's basketball coverage. E-mail him at Graham.Hays@espn3.com.
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