Arizona State Tops Notre Dame In NCAA Second Round, 70-61

March 21, 2005

AP Sports Writer

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - Arizona State's aggressive defense, timely shootingand gritty determination earned the Sun Devils that coveted trip home for theTempe Regional.

Kylan Loney scored eight points in the final 1:29 and finished with 20 andthe fifth-seeded Sun Devils erased an early 13-point deficit to shock No. 4Notre Dame 70-61 on Monday night, winning a second-round game for the firsttime.

They immediately rushed to center court to celebrate.

Aubree Johnson had 12 points and nine rebounds and Amy Denson added 11points and eight rebounds off the bench for the spirited Sun Devils, who gainedthe momentum on Betsy Boardman's buzzer-beating 3-pointer at halftime.

The Fighting Irish, ranked 11th in the nation and trying to advance past thesecond round for the third straight year, didn't exhibit the kind of fight theSun Devils showed in the second half.

Arizona State (24-9), the Pac-10's top defensive team this season, hustledinto the huddle during timeouts and hit the floor for loose balls. Coach CharliTurner Thorne high-fived her players to fire them up at every opportunity - andthe Sun Devils kept making big baskets whenever Notre Dame (27-6) threatened.

After Jacqueline Batteast's putback pulled the Irish to 49-44 with 6:11remaining, Emily Westerberg converted a three-point play on the other end forArizona State, making an off-balance layup at 5:47. And Kristen Kovesdyanswered a Notre Dame score with a fast-break layup at 3:30 to make it 58-50.

Batteast had 20 points, eight rebounds and three blocks for Notre Dame,which committed 23 turnovers, had only seven assists and went away from whathad worked so well in the first half: pounding the ball inside. Megan Duffy,who brought the Irish back in their first-round win over UC Santa Barbara,scored 20 of her 24 points after halftime.

Her two free throws with 2:34 made it 58-54, then Reagan Pariseau swished a12-footer at 2:06.

All season, Arizona State refused to talk about the possibility of playingat home in the tournament - but it was always the objective. The Sun Devilswent 12-1 at home this season, including a 61-50 upset of three-time defendingNCAA champion Connecticut on Dec. 21.

Turner Thorne asked her team to be aggressive Monday against the physicalIrish, and the Sun Devils more than obliged.

Stanford's fans, in the seats for the next game, cheered 'Go Pac-10!' and'A-S-U!' in the waning moments.

The Sun Devils reached the round of 16 in 1982 and '83, but that's when thebracket featured only 32 teams.

Notre Dame freshman guard Charel Allen went down with a left knee injurywith 14:23 remaining after colliding with Boardman and did not return.

The Sun Devils trailed by as many as 13 in the first half, but opened thesecond half with a 12-2 run to build a 35-30 lead.

Batteast, the Big East player of the year and Notre Dame's leading scorer,had eight points and six straight during a key 16-3 run midway through thefirst half.

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