- The Washington Times - Monday, March 26, 2007

DALLAS — There would be no repeat for George Washington.

Ten years after an upset victory, this year’s NCAA tournament meeting with North Carolina ended on a much different note, a 70-56 loss in the Dallas Region semifinals.

“I remember a lot of similarities to this year,” said Colonials coach Joe McKeown, whose lone Elite Eight appearance came after that victory in 1997.

“We went undefeated [in the Atlantic 10] in 1997, and we did the same thing this year. In 1997, we lost to St. Joseph’s and got upset in our tournament, and we did the same thing this year. We got to the Sweet 16 and played a No. 1 seed and we were a No. 5 seed.”

Fifth-seeded George Washington reached the Sweet 16 with an upset over Texas A&M.; But North Carolina was too much, not only the top seed in Dallas but also the highest-ranked team left (second in both major polls) following No. 1 Duke’s upset loss to Rutgers on Saturday.

North Carolina (33-3) took a 6-0 lead before Kimberly Beck hit a jump shot for the Colonials’ first points 3:10 into the game. George Washington tied it at 10-10, but North Carolina went on a 9-0 run and for much of the half had nearly twice as many points as George Washington.

Fourteen turnovers limited the Colonials to 23 shots in the first half. The Tar Heels finished the half with 23 rebounds to GW’s 9, including a 13-6 edge on offense to record 12 second-chance points.

In a physical game, North Carolina simply outnumbered the Colonials’ 6-foot-4 center, Jessica Adair. Four Tar Heels starters are more than 6 feet tall. Center LaToya Pringle (6-3) led them with nine points and six rebounds in the first half. The other three 6-footers had at least seven points and two rebounds each.

George Washington’s largest deficit was 19 points at 38-19 with 1:12 remaining in the first half. The Colonials (28-4) began using halfcourt pressure to create Tar Heels turnovers but missed shots after two consecutive steals. In the final minute, a 3-pointer by Kenan Cole and Whitney Allen’s bank shot pulled GW within 38-24 at halftime.

The Colonials scored on their first possession after halftime to pull within 38-26. North Carolina again took charge and regained the 19-point advantage at 50-31 with 13:48 to play.

The lead reached as many as 22 points before GW again put together a late string of points to pull within a 14-point final deficit.

Sarah-Jo Lawrence had scored 16 of her game-high 23 points in the second half before fouling out with 3:18 to play.

“They showed why they’re probably the number one team in the country,” McKeown said. “I was a little surprised that we couldn’t do a better job attacking their pressure. They get their hands on just about everything.”

Purdue 78, Georgia 65

DALLAS — Not wanting her career to end yet, Katie Gearlds had 30 points, nine rebounds and helped the Boilermakers overcome a big early deficit to beat the Bulldogs (27-7) and earn a spot in the Dallas Region final against North Carolina.

Purdue (31-5) won its 10th straight game, all since Gearlds had impromptu meetings with her teammates and first-year coach Sharon Versyp, who in the mid-1980s was also a four-year starter at the school.

Mississippi 90, Oklahoma 82

DAYTON, Ohio — Armintie Price scored 31 points, Ashley Awkward added 25 for the Rebels, who fast-breaked and trapped their way to a win over the Sooners in the Dayton regional semifinals.

Next up for the Rebels (24-10) is Tennessee tomorrow, with a spot in the Final Four awaiting the winner.

Courtney Paris led Oklahoma (28-5) with 31 points and 20 rebounds.

Tennessee 65, Marist 46

DAYTON, Ohio — Candace Parker hit her first eight shots as the top-seeded Volunteers used a 14-0 first-half run to take control, ending the Red Foxes’ great tournament run.

Parker roamed the lane, frequently leaping over the smaller Red Foxes, for 16 points. Shannon Bobbitt and Sidney Spencer each had 11 for Tennessee (31-3), which improved its record to 22-4 in regional semifinals.

Meg Dahlman had 16 points and Rachele Fitz 13 for Marist (29-6).

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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