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College basketball

Central Florida loses in Atlantic Sun final

©Associated Press
March 16, 2003

ORLANDO -- The tradition of winning championships isn't very old at Georgia State, but it still means a lot to the Panthers.

Evita Rogers had 22 points and 11 rebounds as Georgia State defeated Central Florida 80-63 Saturday to win the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament title for the third straight year.

Holly Coates scored 16 and had 12 rebounds and Patechia Hartman added 15 points and six assists for the Panthers (20-10), who clinched an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament and won their 10th straight.

Georgia State used a pair of 10-0 runs to build a 43-29 halftime lead. Hartman had a hand in all 10 points during the first run, making two three-point plays and assisting on two baskets by Rogers. The second run came just before halftime and ended with a 3-pointer from Monica Thomas that made it 43-26.

UCF (19-11) got a 3-pointer from freshman Celeste Hudson at the halftime buzzer to cut the deficit to 14. The Golden Knights, playing on their home floor, cut the margin to 58-55 on a putback by Adrienne Billings with 5:38 left, but UCF got no closer.

"We just let their big people get too many easy shots around the basket," UCF coach Gail Striegler said. "We finally got our defense straight in the second half and made a nice comeback, but Georgia State was too tough for us in the end."

Big 12

NO. 5 TEXAS 67, NO. 8 TEXAS TECH 57: Stacy Stephens scored 16 and the Longhorns hit all six of their free throws in the final two minutes for their first conference tournament title in Dallas.

Texas (25-5) trailed most of the game and was down by nine with about 14 minutes left, looking nothing like the team that came in with a 12-game winning streak.

But Stephens and frontcourt teammate Heather Schreiber began dominating the paint, and the Longhorns went on a 16-3 run to seize control.

Stephens was selected MVP of the tournament and Schreiber was named to the first team.

WAC

NO. 6 LA TECH 89, FRESNO ST. 57: The Techsters capped their perfect play in the conference (18-0 regular season) with another tournament title in Tulsa, Okla. Trina Frierson scored 18 and Cheryl Ford had 25 rebounds for Louisiana Tech, which won its second straight WAC tournament. The Techsters (29-2) dominated to win their 27th straight and extend the nation's longest winning streak.

Big West

NO. 17 UCSB 68, PACIFIC 50: After winning their seventh straight conference tournament in Anaheim, Calif., the Gauchos want more. "Our next goal is the Sweet 16," said Kristen Mann, who scored 17 in the final. Lindsay Taylor added 16 points, 12 rebounds and three steals for top-seeded UC Santa Barbara (26-4).

Colonial

ODU 66, DELAWARE 58: Shareese Grant scored 25 points as Old Dominion extended its perfect 12-year record in the tournament, winning the championship in Norfolk, Va. The top-seeded Monarchs (21-10) won their 12th title in as many years in the conference and improved to 35-0 all-time in CAA tournament games.

America East

BOSTON 69, MAINE 65: Katie Terhune hit a 3-pointer with 1:45 left for the title in West Hartford, Conn., snapping the Black Bears' 21-game winning streak. Boston (16-14) heads to the NCAA Tournament for the first time.

MAC

W. MICHIGAN 81, BALL ST. 76: Casey Rost had 20 points to lead the Broncos to the title in Cleveland. The Broncos (20-11) took their first lead with eight seconds left in the first half on a layup by Curleta Harris and never trailed after the break to capture their first championship since 1985.

MEAC

HAMPTON 69, DELAWARE ST. 57: Nicole Brathwaite scored 26 and had nine rebounds to lead the top-seeded Pirates to the title in Richmond, Va., and their second trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Missouri Valley

SW MISSOURI ST. 75, INDIANA ST. 70: Megan Hohenberger scored 23 and the Bears frustrated the Sycamores with a tough zone defense for the title in Des Moines, Iowa. SW Missouri State (18-12) recovered from a February slump during which it lost four of five

Northeast

ST. FRANCIS, PA. 58, UMBC 41: Beth Swink scored a game-high 22 as the Terriers won the tournament for the seventh time in eight seasons in Loretto, Pa. Since 1996, St. Francis has qualified for the NCAA Tournament every season except 2001.

SWAC

ALABAMA ST. 80, GRAMBLING ST. 67: In Birmingham, Ala., the Hornets advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Shameka Jackson scored 23 to lead Alabama State (20-10), which lost to Southern in last year's title game.

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