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'Eyes Sore

3/22/2006

TUESDAY NOTES

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.

EXPERTS' TAKE


What was the key to eighth-seeded Boston College's upset of No. 1 Ohio State?

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 ON MY MIND

Graham Hays, ESPN.com

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.