Late shot, noncall give Bulls hope

USF junior guard Shantia Grace hit a running, spinning layup with five seconds left and after a controversial play at the buzzer, the Bulls kept their Big East tournament hopes alive with a 65-64 win Saturday against Pittsburgh.

By Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer
Published March 2, 2008

TAMPA - USF junior guard Shantia Grace hit a running, spinning layup with five seconds left and after a controversial play at the buzzer, the Bulls kept their Big East tournament hopes alive with a 65-64 win Saturday against Pittsburgh.

"It feels great," said Grace, who scored 17 to send two seniors home happy on their final home game. "We were 0-4 against Pittsburgh, and before the game, (senior ChiChi Okpaleke) said she wanted to beat Pittsburgh."

Grace put USF (14-14, 4-11) ahead with five seconds left, but Pitt (19-9, 9-6) had a chance to win. Chavonte Zellous went up for a 3-pointer at the buzzer and made contact with Okpaleke, but officials ruled no foul was made.

"She definitely got raked," Pitt coach Agnus Berenato said.

Replays showed Zellous made contact with Okpaleke using her nonshooting hand. Officials said after the game that because no foul was called, the play could not be reviewed using TV replays.

The Bulls trailed 18-2 early but rallied, trailing by six at halftime. They didn't tie the score until Gianna Messina hit two free throws with 37 seconds remaining. Grace finished with a team-high 17 points.

USF is one game out of 12th place and the last spot in the Big East tournament, but a Bulls win Monday at Marquette, combined with a Villanova loss at Louisville, would send USF to Hartford, Conn., and potentially to the Women's NIT.

CLEMSON 72, FSU 70: Morganne Campbell grabbed an offensive rebound and scored as time expired for the visiting Tigers, who erased a 15-point second-half deficit.

Campbell, a sophomore, had a career-high 18 points, and Lele Hardy added 20 points and 10 rebounds for Clemson. Mara Freshour had 23 points and Shante Williams 22 for the Seminoles (17-12, 7-7 ACC).

Clemson twice trailed by 15 in the second half but tied it at 68 when Campbell stole a pass with 1:33 left, was fouled and hit both free throws.

Williams hit a jumper to give FSU the lead with a minute left, then Christy Brown drove to the basket for a layup to tie it again. Williams missed two free throws with nine seconds left, and the Tigers rebounded and called timeout.

Tate got the inbounds pass and missed a shot from the left baseline, but Campbell was in position underneath for the rebound and putback.

TAMPA 68, LYNN 53: Erica Woodard had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Alexa Kane scored 18 for the host Spartans (22-5, 13-3 Sunshine State) in their regular-season finale.

ROLLINS 67, ECKERD 60: Jessica Pressley had 23 points to lead the visiting Tars past the Tritons (15-12, 5-11 SSC).

FLA. TECH 67, SAINT LEO 60: Melissa Guerero had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the visiting Lions (13-14, 6-10), the seventh seed for the SSC tournament.

Fordham sets dubious mark

WASHINGTON - Forever linked to 0-29, Fordham's Megan Mahoney goes down as the best player on the team with the worst record in NCAA women's history.

"It's going to be upsetting," said the freshman guard with the beautiful 3-point shot and nothing in her collegiate win column. "But we're going to turn heads as the years go on. We're going to be the big upset to all the other teams."

The Rams finished with one loss more than Charleston in 1990-91 and Centenary in 1999-2000. They have lost 33 straight overall since a 74-65 win over Duquesne on Feb. 4, 2007.

Fordham went 3-25 last season under first-year coach Cathy Andruzzi, who took over a decimated program that has enjoyed little success in decades.

"It's really funny because people look at the record, and they don't know the program history," Andruzzi said. "You've got to know what we inherited. ... We're in a building process; not rebuilding because there's nothing to rebuild from."

Fordham is well short of the NCAA record for consecutive losses over multiple seasons, 58 by Long Island University from 1987-89.

NO.1 UCONN 77, DePAUL 76: Ketia Swanier hit the go-ahead layup with 1.6 seconds left, and the visiting Huskies rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit. Connecticut closes at home Monday against Rutgers, the only team to beat it this season.

NO.4 RUTGERS 64, SYRACUSE 49: Essence Carson and Matee Ajavon scored 14 each, and the host Scarlet Knights hit a season-high 10 3-pointers.

NO.20 TEXAS A&M 72, NO.8 BAYLOR 53: Morenike Atunrase had 24 points, and the host Aggies used a 23-5 first-half run to win their Big 12-best fifth straight game.

NO.13 W.VA. 78, LOUISVILLE 70: Meg Bulger and Olayinka Sanni each scored 20 as the host Mountaineers overcame a sluggish start to clinch a first-round bye in the Big East tournament.

NO.14 NOTRE DAME 70, SETON HALL 55: Charel Allen scored 22 and the host Fighting Irish made all eight of their free throws to clinch a bye in the Big East tournament.

NO.17 OKLA. ST. 73, TEXAS TECH 54: Sophomore Andrea Riley scored 21 to become the second Cowgirls player to pass 1,000 points in her sophomore year, and host Oklahoma State pulled away.

NO.19 UTEP 65, TULSA 50: Kasia Krezel scored 13 and Natasha Lacy 12 as the host Miners won their Conference USA-record 21st straight game.

NO.21 KANSAS ST. 81, MISSOURI 52: Shalee Lehning matched her career high with 21 points, and the host Wildcats tied Baylor atop the Big 12.

NO.25 MARIST 71, ST. PETER'S 58: Meg Dahlman and Nikki Flores scored 17 each, and the host Red Foxes pulled away with a late 21-8 run.