The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

79° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “ASU moves on, NAU goes home”

    No. 14 seed NAUs senior guard Kim Winkfield from Tucson Magnet High School defends No. 3 seed Baylors senior guard Jordan Davis in the Lady Bears first-round, 74-56 win Womens NCAA Tournament in McKale Center on Saturday.
    No. 14 seed NAU’s senior guard Kim Winkfield from Tucson Magnet High School defends No. 3 seed Baylor’s senior guard Jordan Davis in the Lady Bears’ first-round, 74-56 win Women’s NCAA Tournament in McKale Center on Saturday.

    WOMEN’S TOURNEY IN TUCSON

    Game 1: No. 5 Utah vs. No. 12 Middle Tennessee State

    Down by 15 with just over 10 minutes to play, the No. 5-seeded Utah women’s basketball team seemed destined to become the first upset victim of the women’s NCAA Tournament in McKale Center Saturday morning.

    That is, until Shona Thorburn took over the game and led them to a 76-71 win over No. 12-seed Middle Tennessee State, which finished the season at 20-11.

    Driving down the lane with 1:09 left, the senior guard gave Utah (25-6) its first lead since late in the first half at 69-68, laying the ball past Middle Tennessee State sophomore guard Starr Orr, who also sent Thorburn to the line with a foul.

    Thorburn nailed the free throw and then sealed the game moments later by drawing a charge and knocking down the ensuing free throws – her team-high 20th and 21st points – to push the Ute lead to four points at 72-68 with 32 seconds to play.

    “”I think that gave us some extra firepower to end the game,”” Thorburn said.

    After Middle Tennessee State junior guard Chrissy Givens was fouled by Ute freshman guard Morgan Warburton – Warburton lost two teeth and a lot of blood on the play – Givens hit her first free throw but missed the second.

    She finished with a game-high 25 points.

    The Utes would go on to score the game’s next 10 points over the next 3:30 to take a 74-68 lead with 12 seconds to play.

    “”It was a game of runs,”” Utah head coach Elaine Elliot said. “”They made theirs; we made ours.””

    Game 2: No. 4 ASU vs. No. 13 Stephen F. Austin

    A largely pro-ASU crowd watched as the No. 4-seeded Sun Devils raced out to a massive 46-23 lead against an overmatched No. 13 seed in Stephen F. Austin en route to cruising to an 80-61 victory in the second game in McKale Center.

    With the win, the Sun Devils (25-6) advanced to play No. 5-seed Utah.

    “”I thought we really started strong and executed well,”” said ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne.

    Added Sun Devils senior forward Kristen Kovesdy: “”We are really excited to be here, and I think we definitely came out and showed that in the first half.””

    Sloppy play marked the start of the second stanza, as neither the Sun Devils nor the Ladyjacks (23-8) could find any kind of any kind of a rhythm until midway through the second half, when ASU opened up a 68-42 lead and never looked back, dishing out 25 assists along the way.

    “”Typically, we share the ball really well,”” said ASU junior forward Aubree Johnson. “”We love sharing the rock. Nobody’s selfish.””

    Ladyjacks senior forward LaToya Mills led all scorers with 24 points, and Kovesdy led the Sun Devils with 22 points and added 11 rebounds.

    Of the 2,234 fans on hand, about 80 percent were sporting Sun Devil gold, something Turner Thorne believed aided her team.

    “”It was a huge boost today just with the fan turnout,”” she said. “”We feed off that, and there was a lot of energy created in this building by those fans.

    “”We were feeling really blessed that we didn’t have to travel really far.””

    Game 3: No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 14 NAU

    No. 14-seeded NAU scored the first basket of the game but never sniffed the lead again, as the defending national champion and current No. 3-seed Baylor began its title defense in impressive fashion over the Lumberjacks, 74-56.

    The Lumberjacks (22-11), who traveled a large contingent of fans from Flagstaff – nearly four hours north of Tucson – weren’t able to match the intensity and sharp-shooting of the Lady Bears (25-6), who stormed out to a 17-4 lead eight minutes into the first half, scoring, rebounding and blocking shots almost at will.

    “”With the intensity of the NCAA Tournament, you can’t always expect a blowout,”” said Baylor senior forward Sophia Young, though most of the game was exactly that.

    The Lady Bears’ lead was extended to 31-10 with just under 10 minutes to play in the first half as NAU’s poor shooting – they hit just 20 percent in the first half – cost them chance after chance at the offensive end, something Baylor capitalized on with an up-tempo style of play, dashing out to yet another run, this one 10-2.

    The second half wasn’t much different, as NAU never got closer than 12.

    Game 4: No. 6 Florida vs. No. 11 New Mexico

    In what was supposed to be the closest game of the day, the No. 11-seeded Lobos of New Mexico and their passionate cheering section spanked No. 6-seed counterpart Florida en route to an 83-59 upset.

    Senior center Jana Francis picked the right time to set a new career high for the Lobos (22-9), netting 25 in the win. Junior guard Katie Montgomery tied her career best as well – adding 21 – and sophomore forward Dionne Marsh chipped in with 18 points and seven rebounds of her own.

    The Gators, who finished the season at 21-9, were led by senior forward Dalila Eshe’s 17 points and senior guard Danielle Santos’ 15.

    Tonight’s games

    No. 3 Baylor tips against No. 11 New Mexico at 5 p.m. and No. 4 ASU faces No. 5 Utah 30 minutes after the conclusion of the early game, approximately 7 p.m., with coverage on ESPN2.

    “”I think as well as we played (Saturday), we can play even better (today),”” Turner Thorne said after the Sun Devils’ win.

    Both games feed into the Albuquerque Regional.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search