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Colorado-Villanova Preview

Mar 26, 2003

GAME: No. 6 Colorado (24-7) vs. No. 2 Villanova (27-5).
REGIONAL: Mideast, semifinals.
TIME: Saturday, noon EST.
SITE: Thompson-Boling Arena; Knoxville, Tenn.

In the round of 16 for the first time, Villanova faces a frequent participant in the regional semifinals when it meets Colorado in the Mideast Regional.

The second-seeded Wildcats had never advanced past the second round in six previous NCAA tournament appearances before beating George Washington 70-57 on Tuesday.

"I think it's great for the kids first and great for the school," Villanova coach Harry Perretta said. "These kids have done a fabulous job all year. They do a great job fighting and trying as hard as they can. ... I am very proud of them."

Katie Davis led the Wildcats with 24 points. Davis, who averaged 15.5 points during the regular season, also led Villanova in its opening round win over St. Francis, when she had 15 points.

Playing on their home floor, the No. 6 Buffaloes upset No. 3 North Carolina 86-67 on Monday to reach the regional semifinals for the sixth time in their last eight NCAA tournament appearances.

The main reason for Colorado's success in the tournament has been the play of center Tera Bjorklund, who scored a career-high 34 points Monday. The 6-foot-5 junior was 11-of-14 from the floor and added eight rebounds, four blocks and two steals.

"I definitely was in a zone," Bjorklund said. "I think anybody can relate to that, when things are just falling for you and you are just really, really focused."

With Bjorklund drawing double teams in the post, Colorado was also able to capitalize from the perimeter, hitting nine 3-pointers. Guard Katie Fagan made five en route to 16 points.

Colorado and Villanova met on Nov. 30, with the Wildcats winning 59-54 in the Coors Classic at Boulder. Bjorklund finished with 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

The tightly contested game featured three ties and five lead changes before Villanova took over down the stretch.

The winner advances to face top-seeded Tennessee or No. 4 Penn State.

Colorado - F Sabrina Scott, F Randie Wirt, C Bjorklund, G Fagan, G Linda Lappe.
Villanova - F Davis, F Courtney Mix, C Nicole Druckenmiller, G Jana Redinger, G Trish Juhline.

Colorado - Bjorklund, 17.9 ppg; Scott, 6.9 rpg and 3.1 apg.
Villanova - Juhline, 18.2 ppg; Mix, 6.8 rpg, 4.9 apg.

Colorado - At-large bid, Big 12; beat No. 11 BYU 84-45, first round; beat No. 3 North Carolina 86-67, second round.
Villanova - Automatic bid, Big East tournament champion; beat No. 15 St. Francis 51-36, first round; beat No. 7 George Washington 70-57, second round.

Colorado - 17-10, 11 years.
Villanova - 5-6, 7 years.