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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Baylor, Utah punch tickets”

    Utah senior forward Kim Smith gets a hand in the action while ASU junior forward Aubree Johnson pulls the ball down in yesterdays 86-65 ASU loss to the Utes in McKale Center.
    Utah senior forward Kim Smith gets a hand in the action while ASU junior forward Aubree Johnson pulls the ball down in yesterday’s 86-65 ASU loss to the Utes in McKale Center.

    Women’s NCAA Tournament

    Game 1: No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 11 New Mexico “”Got game? We got Sophia.””

    The neon-yellow sign prominently displayed at midcourt by a group of fans from Waco, Texas, said it all last night, as Baylor’s senior guard Sophia Young rescued the defending National Champion Baylor Lady Bears from the upset-minded New Mexico Lobos in the McKale Center-hosted second round of the women’s NCAA Tournament last night, 87-67.

    “”We’re going to Albuquerque,”” said Baylor head coach Kim Milkey-Robertson.

    The No. 3-seeded Lady Bears closed out the No. 11 seed New Mexico with a well-timed 19-5 run late in the game that put them up 84-65 with just over 1:30 to play. They will face the winner of the St. John’s-Maryland second-round game in Albuquerque, N.M., on Saturday.

    “”We know what it’s like to be in (close) games like these,”” Young said.

    Added her teammate, senior guard Chameka Scott: “”Even the new players (know how). … We kind of let close games slip away at the beginning of the season.””

    Young, who finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds for her Big 12 record 61st double-double of her career, became one of just the four players in NCAA history to have 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 300 steals and 300 assists in her career at 5:48 of the second half when she handed out her second assist of the game.

    Sophomore forward Dionne Marsh led the Lobos with 25 points.

    The Lady Bears opened the second half with the dominance they displayed at the end of the first, scoring eight of the half’s first 10 points to take their biggest lead of the game to that point at 53-40.

    But New Mexico just wouldn’t go away, cutting the Baylor lead to five, 65-60, with 8:35 to play. That was as close as they would get.

    “”I wanted the ball at that point,”” said Young, who scored eight of her 19 points during the run, “”because the game was kind of getting out of control.””

    After a frantic pace to begin the game saw the lead change hands seven times in the games first nine minutes, the Lobos pulled away, raining 3-pointers from all over the court. The Lobo lead would grow to as much as seven points midway through the half, before the tournament-tested Bears regained control, battling back to take a 44-33 lead with an 20-3 run capped by freshman guard Jhasmin Player’s steal and ensuing lay-up with 1:16 to play.

    “”Going back to the Sweet Sixteen is good for us,”” Scott said. “”I’m just happy we have practice next week.””

    Game 2: No. 4 ASU vs. No. 5 Utah

    On Saturday, No. 4 seed ASU was dominant in a win over No. 13-seeded Stephen F. Austin. Last night, they continued that dominance – but only for the first 14 minutes.

    No. 5 seed Utah’s senior forward Kim Smith scored 25 points and fellow senior Shona Thorbrun, a guard, added 21 more, as the surprising Utes (26-6) will continue their postseason in the Sweet 16 for only the second time in their history after upsetting ASU 86-65 in McKale Center last night.

    “”I know all our hard work and perseverance (has paid off),”” said Thorburn, who narrowly missed a triple-double with 11 assists and nine rebounds. “”We’ve come so far since January as a team and as individuals, and it’s showing right now.””

    Senior forward Amy Denson led the Sun Devils with 14 points.

    The Sun Devils (25-7), dominated out of the gates, jumping out to an 11-2 lead to start the game and built a 15-point lead after senior forward Kristen Kovesdy’s 3-pointer with 6:48 to play.

    But the Sun Devils wouldn’t score the rest of the half, as the Utes gradually crawled back into the game, closing out the half on a 15-0 run after Thorburn – Saturday’s hero with a team-high 21 points in a comeback win over No. 12 seed Middle Tennessee State – hit a free throw with two seconds left to knot the score at 34.

    Said Utah head coach Elaine Elliot of ASU’s hot start: “”It looked like they were going to make a statement.””

    Utah took their first lead of the game, 36-34, 25 seconds into the second half after senior guard YoVanna Rosenthal netted her first points of the game and would extend their lead to 38-34 before ASU broke its nearly eight-minute scoreless streak that spanned both halves at 18:33 of the second half.

    The Sun Devils closed the gap to one, 47-46, with a 6-0 run midway through the half, and then tied the score at 50 just moments later when senior forward Amy Denson hit two free throws.

    Utah regained the lead for good when Smith sank two free-throws to put the Utes up 54-52 with 8:50 to play, and sealed the victory at the 4:23 mark when Smith nailed a 3-point shot from just beyond the arc, putting her team up 70-57.

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