NCAA ACCtion: Duke, Georgia Tech and North Carolina Post First-Round Wins

March 19, 2011

Jackets Top Bowling Green, 69-58, Advance To NCAA Second Round

The toll of Georgia Tech's constant pressure was revealed in a look. Sasha Goodlett took care of things in the paint with 19 points, and the fifth-seeded Yellow Jackets used their relentless pressure to force 25 turnovers in beating Bowling Green 69-58 Saturday in the NCAA Tournament.

The Falcons (28-5) had never seen anything like Georgia Tech's swarming, trapping defense blanketing all 94 feet of the court. Bowling Green came in making more than eight 3-pointers a game. But it didn't make any until trailing by 15 points and finished only 2 of 6 behind the arc.

The 25 turnovers were the most by the Falcons, winners of the Mid-American Conference tournament, in a game all season. But it was nothing new for Georgia Tech, which has forced as many as 35 this year.

The Jackets' pressure-cooker of a press started paying dividends at the start of the second half. The Falcons had an over-and-back call just 3 seconds in, part of six turnovers on their first nine possessions.

Unlike the first 20 minutes, the Yellow Jackets were able to make a long pass after a steal and it was usually Ty Marshall who turned it into points at the other end. Marshall, who finished with 14 points, had three buckets by simply getting behind the Falcons for breakaway layups in the first 5 minutes of the half as Georgia Tech stretched a 33-32 lead at the break to 45-36.

Bowling Green, with Prochaska stifled by Georgia Tech's skintight defense, couldn't seem to find her range. The Falcons went scoreless for more than 4 minutes in an 8-0 Yellow Jackets run that swelled the lead to 57-42. The Falcons never threatened again.

Duke Tops UT Martin, 90-45, in NCAA Opener

Jasmine Thomas scored 18 points to help Duke beat Tennessee-Martin 90-45 on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Freshmen Chelsea Gray and Haley Peters each added 11 for the Blue Devils (30-3), the No. 2 seed in the Philadelphia Regional. Duke won its seventh straight overall and 24th straight game in Cameron Indoor Stadium, the home court where the Blue Devils are opening the NCAA tournament for the second straight season.

It also marked the 18th straight year Duke has won its tournament opener, sending the Blue Devils to face 10th-seeded Marist in the second round Monday night.

Facing a young and undersized team in its first NCAA tournament, the Blue Devils led 41-31 at the break and ran off nine straight points to open the second half and blow the game open against the 15th-seeded Skyhawks (21-11).

The Blue Devils came out of halftime looking like the more experienced and physically superior team, holding UT Martin without a basket for the first 4 minutes. The Skyhawks managed just 14 points total in the second half.

Carolina Outlasts Fresno State For 82-68 Victory

Italee Lucas scored 22 points and countered the nation's top three-point shooting team with four 3-pointers of her own as No. 14 North Carolina outlasted Fresno State 82-68 in the first round of the NCAA tournament Saturday.

In all, the Bulldogs fired up 50 3-pointers, a record at The Pit, and they sank 14 of them for a 28 percent clip, a little below their season average of 34.2 percent. They only hit seven 2-point baskets.

Chay Shegog added 12 points for the Tar Heels and Jessica Breland finished with 10 points in limited minutes. Hayley Munro led Fresno State with 15 points and Ross and Rosie Moult each scored 14.

Behind Ross's two quick 3-pointers, the Bulldogs raced to a 14-5 lead in the first four minutes.

Tar Heels coach Sylvia Hatchell called a timeout, after which North Carolina responded with a 16-2 run, scoring the last nine points while Fresno State point guard Taylor Thompson was on the bench after running into a screen at fullspeed.

The Tar Heels opened the second half on a 7-0 run, however, with five of the points coming from Breland, North Carolina's leading scorer, who played just seven minutes in the high altitude.

Breland's high-arcing 3-pointer fluttered the net just as the shot clock expired and on the next trip upcourt, she stepped back for a sweet 15-foot jumpshot that made it 47-36. But Breland went to the bench after picking up her third foul with 14:34 left, and Taja Edwards sank both free throws to pull the Bulldogs to 47-44.

They never got any closer.