4:00 PM ET, March 12, 2005
NORMAL, Ill. (AP) -- Jaci McCormack's last-second shot has Illinois State in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1989.McCormack made a turnaround jumper with 0.8 seconds left to give Illinois State (13-17) its first MVC tournament championship, 72-70 over Indiana State on Saturday."I actually saw a pretty good angle and had a lot of confidence in it," McCormack said. "As soon as it went through the net, I couldn't do anything. I just started screaming."McCormack, the tournament MVP, scored 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting. She finished with eight assists and three steals.After McCormack's shot, streamers and confetti flew as players piled on. But there was still 0.8 seconds left on the clock.Indiana State's Kristin Weddle attempted to throw the ball the length of the court to senior guard Melanie Boeglin, who didn't catch it cleanly as the buzzer sounded."This game was about just heart and guts," said Illinois State coach Robin Pingeton, whose No. 8 Redbirds are the lowest seed to win a MVC tourney title.The Redbirds took control of the game in the second half and led by as many as 13 before Indiana State (22-8) launched a comeback. Boeglin hit a 3-pointer with 23.4 seconds remaining to tie the game at 70."I thought that coming into this tournament our team was on more of a mission than any team in this league, but Illinois State obviously proved us wrong tonight," said Boeglin, who finished with 30 points and was an all-tournament selection.Indiana State was denied the tournament championship for the second time in three years.Reserve Amber Shelton had eight points and 10 rebounds, while Lashawn Johnson worked hard to disrupt Indiana State inside. Johnson scored seven second-half points and grabbed six rebounds."We always talk about being ready to play, and (Johnson) was," McCormack said. "She was ready and she contributed huge."Illinois State will make its fourth appearance in the NCAA tournament.
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