UConn women rally to beat G'town, 68-63


UConn women rally to beat G'town, 68-63

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Georgetown knows all about Maya Moore and Connecticut's rich postseason history, and the Hoyas were determined to rock the bracket with one of the NCAA tournament's biggest upsets ever.

Backed into a corner, Moore got some help from fellow senior Lorin Dixon and the Huskies responded.

Moore had 23 points and 14 rebounds, leading Connecticut to a 68-63 victory after the Hoyas led by seven in the second half of their regional semifinal Sunday.

"Me and Maya decided we didn't want our careers to end here today," Dixon said. "That's just a great feeling. I think everyone wanted to continue the tournament."

While Moore put up the numbers, Dixon was the catalyst for the game-changing run.

Connecticut trailed 53-46 with 9:36 left, but responded with a 16-2 run sparked by the 5-foot-4 guard.

"Today was a great reflection of what she's been doing for the last month for every single day," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said of Dixon, who finished with four points, four assists and four steals.

Bria Hartley got the spurt started with a 3-pointer and Dixon followed with a layup off a steal. She then had another steal and fed Hartley for an easy lay-in that tied it at 53 with 7:12 left.

Moore then scored four straight and, after Alexa Roche's basket, Hartley capped the run with a 3-pointer that made it 62-55 with 4:03 left.

Monica McNutt's 3-pointer got Georgetown within four with 1:41 remaining, but Moore answered with a long jumper from the corner to seal the win.

"My players aren't in these situations very often and it's good to be tested," Auriemma said. "It's easy to be a winner when you're winning. You find out a lot about yourself when you have to go and win. We found out a lot about us today."

Hartley added 17 points for UConn (35-1), which is now three victories away from a third straight national championship that would match the school's own run from 2002-04 and Tennessee's from 1996-98.

This was the third meeting between the two Big East teams in the past 30 days. UConn won the first two games by double digits, but Georgetown was able to remain close in those games by forcing the Huskies into a combined 47 turnovers with its relentless pressure.

The Hoyas (24-11) showed no fear from the start on Sunday, giving the top-seeded Huskies all they could handle. McNutt led the way with 17 points.

"Our program is on the rise," McNutt said. "We're past moral victories - we should be in the Elite Eight."

It was Auriemma's 80th victory in the NCAA tournament, moving him into second on the career wins list for men or women. Tennessee coach Pat Summitt is tops with 109, and Duke men's coach Mike Krzyzewski is third with 79 victories.

Auriemma has had a lot of success in Philadelphia, making his first Final Four in 1991 after playing at the regional at the Palestra. In 2000, Auriemma's team won its second national championship here.

While UConn is a regular in the round of 16, Georgetown is a relative newcomer. The Hoyas have been this far only once before in 1992-93. That team lost to Virginia in the regional semifinals.

Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy, who was an assistant on that 1993 team, doesn't think it will be another 18-year wait for the Hoyas to return to this level.

"I think we're only a few notches away," she said. "Really one more player."

Sensing the buzz around the women's program, the school sent up two bus loads of boisterous students to the game and the Hoyas gave their fans plenty to cheer about.

Sugar Rodgers had said on Saturday that the coaching staff put together a highlight film showing the team the two good halves they had played against UConn in the previous two meetings. They added one more Sunday, but couldn't close it out after leading 35-32 at halftime.

The Hoyas continued to press UConn in the second half, building their lead with the 3-pointer. McNutt and Rodgers hit back-to-back 3s to make it 47-42 with 15:41 left.

Tia Magee then added four straight points to give the Hoyas a seven-point lead before UConn took over.

"We didn't hit shots," Williams-Flournoy said. "Sugar missed a layup, we turned the ball over twice. Against a team like Connecticut you can't make those kinds of mistakes. That's the only way you're going to give yourself any kind of cushion to beat Connecticut. They have Maya Moore, she hit those big shots."

The Huskies haven't lost in the round of 16 since Stanford beat them in 2005. It has been 12 years since they lost as a one seed in the regional semifinals, falling to Iowa State in 1999.

Even Auriemma kidded in the press conference Saturday that his family and friends weren't going to show up until the championship game Tuesday night when the Huskies will play the winner of the Duke-DePaul game.

They would have missed a great game.

The Huskies have won 23 straight overall and 70 in a row against Big East schools.

-- The Associated Press

BC's ACC losing streak reaches 12 after 28-20 loss to Syracuse


BC's ACC losing streak reaches 12 after 28-20 loss to Syracuse

BOSTON - Eric Dungey threw for three touchdowns, Ervin Phillips had a pair of scores and Syracuse beat Boston College 28-20 on Saturday, sending the Eagles to their 12th straight Atlantic Coast Conference loss.

Dungey went 32 for 38 for 434 yards. He also ran 17 times for 54 yards for the Orange (4-4, 2-2 ACC).

Last week, he became the first player in school history to throw for over 300 yards and rush for over 100 in an upset victory over then-No. 17 Virginia Tech.

Patrick Towles went 4 of 14 for 45 yards for Boston College (3-4, 0-4) but did run 75 yards for a touchdown. He was taken out of the game early in the fourth quarter and appeared to be favoring his right leg.

Back-up Darius Wade drove the Eagles deep into Syracuse territory, but was sacked and then threw incomplete on fourth-and-14 with just under 2 minutes left.

The Orange went 86 yards for a score to make it 21-10 after an interception by linebacker Parris Bennett inside their own 5.

Receiver Steve Ishmael made an 11-yard TD catch along the side of the end zone, making a leaping grab and getting one foot to touch before he was knocked out of bounds.

One play later, Towles broke around left end and went down the sideline for his score on the final play of the third quarter. Mike Knoll's second field goal - a 39-yarder - cut it to 21-20.

Dungey's third TD toss - a 68-yarder to Amba Etta-Tawo - made it 28-20.

BC's Myles Willis had an 89-yard kickoff return for a TD.


SYRACSE: The Orange didn't play smooth offensively, collecting a handful of false start penalties and turning the ball over three times, but they go into a bye week with a pair of key victories.

BC: The Eagles can't make key plays when the game's close. They were driving for a possible go-ahead score late in the third when wide-open receiver Michael Walker bobbled a pass - with the ball flying into the air and into the hands of linebacker Bennett.


SYRACUSE: Travels to No. 4 Clemson on Nov. 5.

BC: Faces North Carolina State on the road next Saturday.

© 2016 by STATS & The Associated Press.

Spooner to jump back in for Bruins, knows he 'wasn't good enough'


Spooner to jump back in for Bruins, knows he 'wasn't good enough'

BRIGHTON, Mass. – After serving as a healthy scratch for Thursday night’s home opener, Ryan Spooner will be back in the lineup manning the left wing position alongside David Krejci and David Backes as that line looks for an offensive breakthrough.

Spooner will also be looking to change his early season storyline as it’s clear that Claude Julien is looking for more from a player that looked a little too passive on the puck to start the season.

Spooner wasn’t really utilizing his speed to put pressure on opponents, he wasn’t creating enough on the power play and there were a couple of instances where his mistakes led to directly to goals against. That’s not a good combination from a B’s perspective with a player who has showed plenty of game-breaking talent while posting 13 goals and 49 points last season.

“I have to take [the scratch] as a message that I wasn’t the player that I can be,” said Spooner. “I have to use it as motivation and just go out there and play.”

The speedy, skilled forward had just a single assist in three games to start the season, but to be fair none of the three forwards on his line, Spooner, Krejci or rookie Danton Heinen, looked particularly good once Backes was moved to fill in for the injured Patrice Bergeron.

Instead, it looked like Krejci centering one player skating out of position (Spooner) and another young guy (Heinen) just trying to gain some confidence in the NHL and things looked much better for Krejci and Backes after being reunited on Thursday. Spooner’s speed and playmaking could be an asset there tonight vs. Montreal, and certainly could help a power play that is 1-for-14 through the first four games of the season.

“He just has to be better. That’s why we sat him out. He just wasn’t good enough and he’s capable of doing more,” said Claude Julien. “We expect more out of him. He’s a guy that can produce and can play the full game, and he’s shown that he can do it. It’s nothing something that he has to do, but it’s something that he can do. That’s what we want.”

So, Spooner was scratched for the home opener after totaling an assist and seven shots on net in the first three games, and knows that he needs to be better than he was in the early going.

“I wasn’t moving my feet. I think I was playing too much of a passive game. I need to use my speed a little more when I’m on the wing there,” said Spooner, who still hasn’t played much more than a couple dozen games at the wing over the course of his career. “The first two games I didn’t think I played good at all, and the last game against the Jets was just so-so. I don’t think it was good enough, so it needs to be better.

“At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter which players I was playing with, the game I was playing just wasn’t good enough. That’s on me and I need to change that.”

Spooner will get a big chance to change that conversation when he suits up in a top-six winger role with Krejci and Backes on Saturday night while looking to provide a little more balanced scoring against Montreal.