March 24, 2013


NCAA FIRST ROUND
DAYTON 96, St. JOHN'S 90 (2OT)
NEW YORK (AP) --
Jim Jabir took a deep breath as he sat in the news conference. His young Dayton Flyers had just pulled off one of the biggest wins in school history.

It's been a season of thrills for the veteran coach.

"I'm going to enjoy this win," Jabir said. "I'll be savoring this for a long time. It's one of the most complete games I've been a part of. It was a complete game, total team effort."

Andrea Hoover scored a career-high 24 points and seventh-seeded Dayton outlasted No. 10 St. John's 96-90 in a double overtime thriller Sunday in the opening round of the NCAA women's tournament. Freshman Kelley Austria had a career-high in points too with 21.

It was the first double overtime game in the NCAA tournament since 2000 when Vanderbilt outlasted Kansas in the opening round.

"This whole season has been improbable," Jabir said. "A bunch of freshmen running around out there against St. John's on their home court. We've done it all year. I'm proud of the way they handled the whole season. The presence and maturity of these guys."

The win was the second for the Flyers in their brief NCAA tournament history. The team first made the NCAAs in 2010 and pulled off a win over TCU. They had lost the past two years in their opening games. Brittany Wilson, who hit the game-winning shot in UD's 18-point come-from-behind victory over TCU, also scored a trey in the second overtime that gave Dayton the lead for good.

"This means a lot for our program," said senior Olivia Applewhite, who had 13 points and a game- and season-high 16 rebounds for Dayton.

"Our freshman year we were happy to be here. We won the first-round game on a game-winner. Now we're no longer that type of team. We expect to get here. We're not happy to be here and lose the first game like we did the last two seasons."

It has been an exceptional season for Dayton. The Flyers won their first Atlantic 10 regular-season title before falling to Saint Joseph's in the conference tournament semifinals. The team has already surpassed the school record for wins and is in its fourth straight NCAA tournament.

Not bad for a squad that lost a lot to graduation last year and has the sixth youngest roster in the country. The Flyers used a balanced offense that features four players averaging in double figures. Eight different players have led the Flyers in scoring at some point this season.

"It takes a lot of heart to pull out that game," Hoover said.

The Flyers (28-2) will face Kentucky in the second round Tuesday night.

"I'm a senior and bottom line is I didn't want to go home," Applewhite said. "My shots weren't falling so I crashed the boards really hard."

Brittany Wilson hit a 3-pointer and Kelley Austria had a three-point play to make it 90-86 with 2:11 left in the second extra period. After St. John's failed to score, Applewhite added a basket with 47 seconds left to seal it.

The Red Storm (18-13) trailed by 13 with 5:30 left in regulation before rallying. Nadirah McKenith, who led her team with 22 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds before fouling out, hit a layup with one-tenth of a second left in regulation to force OT.

Dayton's Amber Deane tied it with 15 seconds left in OT to force a second one. Aliyyah Handford had one final chance for the win in overtime, but her floater in the lane fell harmlessly off the rim.

"We left everything we had on the floor," St. John's coach Joe Tartamella said. "We don't play a lot of players and we started the game slowly and dug ourselves a hole. It was a special play by Nadirah at end of the game to force overtime. I can't say enough about these players."

St. John's was hosting an NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.

WNIT SECOND-ROUND
CHARLOTTE 72, DAVIDSON 60
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte grinded out another hard-fought win over its cross-country rival, clinching a 72-60 victory against Davidson Sunday afternoon inside Halton Arena to advance to the WNIT Sweet 16 for the second time in program history. The triumph set a single-season school record for home wins (14), lifted the seniors into the winningest class in school history (87 victories) and provided head coach Cara Consuegra the most wins by a Niners head coach in his or her first two years at the helm of the program (42).

Overall, Charlotte (26-5) moved within one of the single-season school mark for victories, set during the 2010-11 run to the WNIT Semifinals. 

The 49ers were once again led by a standout performance from Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Jennifer Hailey, who turned in a 22-point, eight-rebound effort to go along with her four blocked shots to extend her consecutive games streak with at least one rejection to 43.

Classmate Jai Forney added 13 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore Hillary Sigmon dropped in her first three postseason triples as part of her baker's dozen. She also recorded a career-best two blocked shots, as the Niners finished with eight as a team.

Junior Ny Hammonds, an All-Atlantic 10 Third Team honoree, nearly added her second career double-double with 12 points and a career-high nine rebounds, including seven on the defensive glass. She shared game-best honors on the boards with senior Amanda Dowe, who also was picked to the All-Atlantic 10 Third Team.

Sophia Aleksandravicius, the Southern Conference Player of the Year, paced the Wildcats with 18 points and a team-high tying five rebounds. Hannah Early (13 points) and Jasmine Calin (12) came off the bench to contribute double-digit scoring numbers for the visitors.

Hailey and Aleksandravicius opened the game by netting the first seven combined points, helping neither team lead by more than three during the opening four minutes. Back-to-back Hailey layups during a 49-second span capped a 6-0 spurt, as Charlotte built a 14-7 cushion with 15:10 to play.

Aleksandravicius answered with a jumper and then a foul shot, slicing the margin to four, before Sigmon buried two of her 3-pointers in the next 2:19 to increase the advantage to double figures for the first time, 20-10, with 12:04 left. A 5-0 Davidson stretch pulled the 'Cats within five, but again, the Niners had a counter as freshman Kira Gordon started a 6-0 run as the defense kept the Wildcats off the board for nearly five minutes.

Two Hailey free throws kept the margin at 11, 28-17, with 4:33 to play but Davidson (22-13) never quit, as Early tallied six points and Calin chipped in four in a 10-0 surge, cutting the 49ers edge to just one, 28-27, with 53 seconds remaining in the period. A Hailey charity toss and Hammonds jumper in the lane pushed the cushion back to four at the break, 31-27.

The Wildcats opened the second frame with a 11-6 run, capped by an Aleksandravicius old-fashioned three-point play at the 15:43 media timeout to claim their first lead, 38-37, since she did the same at 18:03 of the first half.

Forney dropped in her own old-fashioned three-point play following a midcourt steal at 15:26, but again, Aleksandravicius answered to keep the game tied, at 40-40, with 14:04 to go. A single free throw from Dowe at 13:37 provided Charlotte the lead and it never relinquished it again the remainder of the contest.

Davidson kept it between a two and six-point difference until an old-fashioned three-point play from Calin at 7:59 trimmed the deficit to one, 50-49. Sigmon responded with her final 3-pointer before Early countered with a trifecta of her own for a one-point, 53-52, game with 6:47 left.

From that point on, however, a 12-3 Niners spurt during the next 5:37 allowed Charlotte to expand its lead to 10, 65-55. Hailey added seven points during the stretch, helping to put the game out of reach.

On the receiving end of fouls in the waning minutes, the 49ers converted 7-of-8 at the charity stripe to ice the victory to complete the season sweep over the Wildcats.

Charlotte returns to action at 7 p.m. Wednesday when it plays host to the winner of Florida and Winthrop. The Gators and Eagles meet at 7 p.m. Monday in Rock Hill, S.C., to determine who advances to the WNIT Third Round.