Marist 67

(28-5, 18-1 MAAC)

Ohio State 63

(28-4, 15-1 Big Ten)

    10:00 PM ET, March 17, 2007

    Maples Pavilion, Stanford, California

    1 2 T
    MRST 30 3767
    OSU 34 2963

    Top Performers

    Marist: J. Viani 24 Pts, 3 Reb

    Ohio State: A. Trebilcock 23 Pts, 6 Reb

    Red Foxes reach second round for first time in school history

    Associated Press

    STANFORD, Calif. -- Nobody will overlook Marist anymore. The Red Foxes would not be bullied into an early exit this March.

    They drew offensive fouls and scrapped with a bigger, more physical Ohio State team, shocking the heavily favored Buckeyes 67-63 on Saturday night to reach the second round for the first time in school history.

    Julianne Viani made six 3-pointers, including three in an 18-5 second-half run that also featured a 3 by Meg Dahlman, and finished with 24 points as Marist (28-5) earned a Monday night date with Middle Tennessee and the Blue Raiders' nation-long 27-game winning streak.

    More from Mowins
    Marist came to play and exhibited a lot of grit from the tip-off. But the real turning point occurred about five minutes into the game when the Red Foxes' Meg Dahlman took an elbow from Ohio State senior Jessica Davenport.

    No foul was called, but the incident occurred right in front of Marist's bench, and Red Foxes fans in the crowd and seemed to fire up everybody. Dahlman, whose head snapped back from the impact, slowly made her way back down the floor but kept playing. And from then on, Marist seemed to play with a "we took your best shot and now we're coming right back at you" mentality. The Red Foxes never backed down and were fearless. They made the big shots when needed and hung right with the Buckeyes, trailing just 34-30 at halftime.

    Marist did a terrific job containing Davenport. The Red Foxes, very poised and well-prepared, came out in a 2-3 zone and brought a lot of post help in to double- and triple-team Davenport. The Kodak All-American was constantly surrounded by red jerseys and committed 11 turnovers under the pressure.

    Julianne Viani was outstanding for Marist, nailing six 3-pointers, and point guard Alisa Kresge played all 40 minutes, dishing eight assists with only three turnovers. Ashlee Trebilcock was really the only Buckeye to have a great game (23 points, six rebounds).

    This was the kind of game and Marist is the kind of team the women's tournament needs. And now, with Marist -- which ranks No. 1 in the NCAA in fewest turnovers -- and Middle Tennessee -- which forces 26 turnovers per game -- meeting in the second round, we are guaranteed of a non-BCS school reaching the Sweet 16.

    -- Beth Mowins

    "The feeling, I can't describe it in words," Viani said. "I definitely felt it. We all just had such a peace and they were falling."

    Viani converted two free throws with 18.1 seconds left after Ohio State cut the lead to three, then Ashlee Trebilcock hit a long 3 on the other end for the Buckeyes. Nikki Flores swished a pair of free throws for Marist with 8.2 seconds to go and her team secured a loose ball as the buzzer sounded -- sending off a wild celebration at midcourt.

    It was a monumental night for the little-known Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, which had been 0-21 in the tournament under its current membership before the 13th-seeded Red Foxes put the league on the map in the school's third NCAA trip in four years under fifth-year coach Brian Giorgis.

    "It's the best win in our school's history," Giorgis said. "Just a tremendous job to beat a top-10 school. They believed. I looked in every single one of their eyes, and they believed. ... It's the true dream season thus far."

    Trebilcock scored 23 points for the Buckeyes (28-4), who got a quiet 13 points, five rebounds and two assists from three-time Big Ten player of the year Davenport -- a 6-foot-5 senior who stayed home in Columbus for college but had her farewell run end earlier than she planned.

    Davenport committed 11 turnovers.

    "We weren't playing like ourselves and I have to take the blame for that," Davenport said. "I know this team depends on me a lot and I didn't play the game I'm capable of playing."

    Viani, who came in with a team-best 33 3s, shot 6-for-10 from long range for the Red Foxes from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who won their seventh straight and 19th in 20 -- and has held their opponents under 60 points in all of those victories. The team's lone loss during that stretch came at Loyola on Feb. 16, 62-55, and Marist was conference champion for the fourth straight year.

    Marist suffered first-round defeats in 2004 and '06 -- losing by double digits to No. 3 seeds Oklahoma and Georgia in those years. Pulling off Saturday's biggest upset might be enough to erase all that.

    "We just got sick and tired of people underestimating us," said Dahlman, who finished with seven points and four steals and earned kudos for standing her ground against Ohio State star Jessica Davenport. "They definitely played physical down low, but it's all about staying within yourself."

    The Red Foxes drew three offensive fouls in the second half and forced fourth-seeded Ohio State into poor decisions down the stretch and 23 total turnovers.

    Rachele Fitz, Marist's leading scorer and rebounder averaging 15 points and 6.4 rebounds, made back-to-back baskets to tie it at 49 with 10:05 to play, then Viani gave the Red Foxes their first lead of the half on a 3-pointer from the top of the arc on their next possession.

    Sarah Smrdel hit consecutive 3s early in the second half and scored eight straight in the stretch on the way to 10 points, and Marist overcame a 40-22 disadvantage on the boards. Ohio State held a 30-11 rebounding edge midway through the second half.

    Dahlman, Marist's junior center, returned with 15:49 remaining after going down hard and hitting the back of her head on the floor with 3:49 left in the first half. She had been trying to catch a pass when her footing was taken out.

    Davenport threw an early elbow in the face of Dahlman, who quickly informed the officials. With about 7 minutes left in the half, Dahlman went to the floor and drew an offensive foul that sent Davenport to the bench with her second personal. Davenport was whistled for another offensive foul in the second half and Tamarah Riley had one on Ohio State's next time down at 9:37 -- and Dahlman pumped her fist.

    "She means everything to us," Giorgis said. "You saw when she went out we struggled. We know we're not going anywhere without her. The job she did guarding Jessica was tremendous."

    Dahlman got help defending Davenport from Alisa Kresqe, who had eight assists, three steals and four rebounds.

    The Red Foxes came out cold, shooting 9-for-23 to start, but stayed close despite the Buckeyes making 11 of their first 15 shots because Marist forced 12 first-half turnovers and only committed five.

    "They played a terrific game -- a lot of intensity, a lot of heart," Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. "They showed a lot of character."

    The teams' combined 55 wins entering the game were the most of any first-round women's matchup.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 67 63
    FG Made-Attempted 23-50 (.460) 22-52 (.423)
    3P Made-Attempted 9-19 (.474) 7-18 (.389)
    FT Made-Attempted 12-16 (.750) 12-18 (.667)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 13 (0/0) 16 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 8 8

    Game Leaders

    PointsJ. Viani 24A. Trebilcock 23
    ReboundsR. Fitz 5S. Allen 8


    » Mar 17, 2007 MRST 67, @OSU 63Recap | Box Score