7:00 PM ET, March 22, 2005
XFINITY Center, College Park, Maryland
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- As the final seconds wound down on Liberty's second straight stunning upset, the Rev. Jerry Falwell broke into a smile as the fans around him yelled, "Sweet 16! Sweet 16!"One upset simply wasn't enough for the never-say-surrender Lady Flames, who followed their first NCAA Tournament victory by shocking DePaul 88-79 on Tuesday night.Katie Feenstra had 29 points and 13 rebounds and Liberty weathered a 16-0 run in the second half to become only the second 13th seed to advance to the round of 16 -- duplicating Texas A&M's feat in 1994."I'm so excited," Liberty coach Carey Green said. "They had determination, they were strong, they were courageous."The Lady Flames were 0-8 in NCAA Tournament play before beating fourth-seeded Penn State 78-70 on Sunday. For an encore, they beat fifth-seeded DePaul, limiting the nation's highest-scoring team to 32 percent shooting.Falwell, the school's chancellor, watched in a front-row seat at midcourt. Falwell and the school band were absent from the opening-round game, but both made the trip north this time to see if the Lady Flames could pull off another upset.And that's exactly what happened.Liberty (26-6) advanced to the Chattanooga Regional to face top-seeded Louisiana State, a 76-43 winner over Arizona on Tuesday night in Knoxville, Tenn.Khara Smith scored 27 points and Jenni Dant had 26 for fifth-seeded DePaul (26-5). Allie Quigley, the second-leading scorer on the team, had four on 1-for-15 shooting.The Blue Demons launched 89 shots, in part because they collected 33 offensive rebounds. But they simply couldn't put the ball in the basket."In our fast-break situations we did not convert," said Dant, who missed 14-of-23 field-goal tries. "I was trying to go too fast. I was too aggressive, too eager."Liberty led 35-33 at halftime, the first time this season that DePaul trailed at the break. After the Blue Demons tied it early in the second half, Daina Staugaitiene scored five points and Feenstra had four in a 9-0 run that made it 47-38.It was 53-43 before Dant had two 3-pointers and a three-point play in a 16-0 run that took only 1:45, thanks to five straight Liberty turnovers. But the Lady Flames wouldn't quit."You just have to stay strong, focused and keep your head in the game," said Kristal Tharp, who added 16 points for Liberty. "We knew it was within our reach, and we weren't going to lay down and die. You can't fear failure."A runner in the lane by Staugaitiene sparked a 9-0 spurt that put Liberty ahead to stay, and the Lady Flames extended the run to 21-3 for a 74-62 lead with four minutes left."Every time you fight back there's a tendency to relax," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. "I really thought we had them on the ropes."After scoring 16 points in less than two minutes, the Blue Demons were limited to one basket over the next eight minutes.The 6-foot-8 Feenstra played only eight minutes in the first half because of foul trouble but finished 11-for-14 from the floor and 7-for-7 at the line."I can't do anything without my teammates," Feenstra said. "If you've seen me dribble the ball, it's pathetic. They're wrong if they think this is a one-person team."Feenstra spent the last 7:55 of the first half on the bench with two fouls, but DePaul failed to take advantage, in part because of 1-for-13 shooting from 3-point range.
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||32-57 (.561)||28-81 (.346)|
|3P Made-Attempted||3-11 (.273)||10-28 (.357)|
|FT Made-Attempted||21-21 (1.000)||13-18 (.722)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||13 (0/0)||20 (0/0)|