Houston 43

(21-9, 10-4 C-USA)

Boston College 65

(20-9, 10-6 Big East)

    2:30 PM ET, March 20, 2005

    Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

    1 2 T
    HOU 17 2643
    BC 34 3165

    Boston College advances to face No. 2 seed Duke

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Clare Droesch's hurting left heel wasn't enough to keep her from leading Boston College to another NCAA Tournament win Sunday.

    Droesch hit two 3-pointers in the first 30 seconds on her way to a season-high 23 points, lifting the Eagles past Houston 65-43 in the first round of the Chattanooga Regional.

    Droesch, a 5-foot-11 senior, added eight rebounds and played 30 minutes for the seventh-seeded Eagles (20-9) despite aggravating a heel injury in the first half. She was limping noticeably by the time the horn sounded and said she will have to have surgery after the season.

    She's just hoping that doesn't come too soon.

    "I'm playing. I'll play until I'm playing on one toe," she said. "I don't care."

    Brooke Queenan added 17 points and 12 rebounds to help Boston College win its first-round game for the fifth time in six tries. The Eagles advance to face No. 2 seed Duke on Tuesday in a matchup of future Atlantic Coast Conference rivals.

    Sancho Lyttle finished with 12 points to lead the 10th-seeded Cougars (21-9), who were trying to reach the second round for the second straight season.

    But Droesch and Queenan nearly provided enough offense by themselves to beat the Cougars, who trailed by 17 at halftime and never made a serious push after that.

    Houston shot just 21 percent -- 7-for-26 in the first half and 7-for-40 after the break.

    Lyttle came in averaging 19 points and a national-best 12 rebounds per game, but she finished just 5-for-17 from the field. She grabbed a season-low three rebounds before fouling out with her team trailing 48-33 with 8:25 left.

    "I think we all just did a great job in doubling down and scrambling, so basically it was the entire team," Queenan said.

    Boston College improved to 5-5 without Jessalyn Deveny, the team's leading scorer who sustained a season-ending ruptured right Achilles tendon last month. The Eagles were ranked 16th before losing Deveny's 17 points a game but have had strong performances from several players to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year.

    Droesch, who came in averaging 9.1 points a game, provided the latest boost by going 7-for-12 from the field.

    "We're so versatile. Anyone can come out and score," Droesch said. "Tonight it was my night. That's what I love about this team. Ever since Jess went down, everyone's had the opportunity to step it up a notch and show what they're capable of doing."

    Droesch has scored in double figures in five of the past eight games after doing so just seven times in the first 19 games.

    And it was her two 3s in the opening minutes that set the stage for Houston's disappointing NCAA showing.

    "She moves without the ball so well," Houston coach Joe Curl said. "You have to give their coaching staff and the players credit for getting her the ball when she was cocked and ready to go. ... What she may not have in total quickness, she makes up for it in the quickness of her release."

    The win sets up a second-round matchup between future conference rivals. The Eagles leave the Big East for the ACC after this season, becoming the league's 12th member.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press



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