Liberty 78

(25-6, 12-1 Big South)

Penn State 70

(19-11, 13-3 Big Ten)

    9:30 PM ET, March 20, 2005

    Comcast Center, College Park, Maryland

    1 2 T
    LIB 27 5178
    PSU 32 3870

    Top Performers

    Liberty: K. Feenstra 22 Pts, 12 Reb

    Penn State: T. Wright 19 Pts, 7 Reb

    Lady Flames will next face DePaul

    COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Put the team bus in the garage, and keep it there until at least Tuesday.

    For the first time in school history, Liberty won't be going home after the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

    The Flames outhustled and outplayed perennial powerhouse Penn State in a 78-70 upset Sunday night, taking control with a 16-1 run and then holding on with a solid performance at the free-throw line.

    It was only the fourth time in tournament history that a 13th seed defeated a No. 4 seed, and this one could not have been more improbable.

    Liberty (25-6) was 0-8 in the tournament, and this was the first time in four tries that Penn State failed to reach the Sweet 16 as a No. 4 seed.

    "We've been trying to get this one for nine games," Flames coach Carey Green said. "It's been a process. This happens to be the No. 1 greatest win in our history."

    Katie Feenstra had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Rima Margeviciute contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Big South champions, who will next face DePaul on Tuesday night.

    Penn State (19-11) lost in the opening round for the first time in four appearances since 2001. The Nittany Lions shot 37 percent from the floor and were outrebounded 39-35.

    "We're certainly disappointed because it's not the end of the season that we anticipated," said Penn State coach Rene Portland, who was denied a 23rd season with at least 20 wins. "I want to thank our seniors for a great run; it's hard on them because their season is over and their time at Penn State is over."

    No one on the team expected to lose to a Liberty squad that last month lost at home against High Point.

    "I'm extremely disappointed. We never wanted to go out this way," said Penn State senior guard Tanisha Wright, who scored 19 but went 5-for-19 from the field. "They just wanted it more than we did, and it showed. They got a ton of offensive rebounds, and we just didn't do it tonight. We had the opportunities."

    Allyson Fasnacht scored 18 for the Flames, who have won six straight and 18 of 19. Liberty made only two baskets in the final 7:59, but sank 13 free throws -- including eight of their last nine -- during that span.

    "I like to show people what our team is made of and what we're capable of doing," Feenstra said. "I don't think that it's sunk in yet. I'm still a little jittery. I'm so happy. We've wanted this so bad for so many years."

    The Flames never trailed after using a 16-1 run early in the second half to take a 43-35 lead. Margeviciute made two 3-pointers in the surge, and Feenstra had five points.

    "They came out and hit two 3s and got two crucial rebounds off foul shots," Portland said. "We didn't come up with key steals. We tried a little bit of everything tonight defensively. It just didn't work."

    After Penn State closed to 47-42, Margeviciute hit a 3-pointer, Kristal Tharp scored on a drive and Feenstra added a three-point play to make it 55-42 with 11:26 left.

    The Lions fought back, getting three-point plays from Ashli Schwab and Jess Strom in an 8-2 run that cut the gap to seven. Liberty kept up the pressure, however, and two foul shots by Margeviciute put the Flames up 63-52 with 6:50 remaining.

    It was 66-52 before Penn State used a 12-3 run to slice the margin to five. A free throw by Feenstra made it 72-65 with 2:13 to go, and the Lions didn't get closer than five points after that.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 78 70
    FG Made-Attempted 25-52 (.481) 24-62 (.387)
    3P Made-Attempted 4-9 (.444) 5-17 (.294)
    FT Made-Attempted 24-36 (.667) 17-21 (.810)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 15 (0/0) 25 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 14 7

    Game Leaders

    PointsK. Feenstra 22T. Wright 19
    ReboundsK. Feenstra 12A. Schwab 9


    » Mar 20, 2005 LIB 78, @PSU 70Recap | Box Score