ASU Blows Out Bowling Green, 67-49, On Way To Elite Eight

March 24, 2007

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - Arizona State finally got the chance to protect a lead in the NCAA tournament.

After rallying from 15-point deficits in each of the first two rounds, the Sun Devils got 16 points from last-minute starter Danielle Orsillo and led nearly the entire way to beat Bowling Green 67-49 Saturday in the Greensboro Regional.

The win gave third-seeded Arizona State (31-4) its first trip to the round of eight, where the Sun Devils will face the Duke-Rutgers winner Monday with a chance to go to the Final Four.

Emily Westerberg added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Sun Devils, who picked a good time to turn in their steadiest performance of the tournament. Arizona State shot 51 percent, took a 37-24 rebounding advantage and scored 16 points off turnovers to end the seventh-seeded Falcons' surprise tournament run.

Orsillo's big day made sure the Sun Devils didn't miss sidelined starter Briann January, the team's second-leading scorer who was a game-time scratch because of a concussion suffered in the second-round win against Louisville. Orsillo came in averaging 9.7 points with two starts this season, but she hit her first six shots and finished 7-for-12.

Ali Mann scored 15 points to lead Bowling Green (31-4), which upset No. 2 seed Vanderbilt in the second round to become the first team from the Mid-American Conference to reach the round of 16.

Arizona State should get a confidence boost from this performance after its earlier struggles in the tournament.

In the first round, Arizona State trailed by 15 points three times in the second half before using a 19-2 run late to beat 14th-seeded UC Riverside 57-50. Two days later against sixth-seeded Louisville, the Sun Devils missed their first 15 shots and trailed by 14 with 11 minutes left before rallying for a 67-58 win.

This time, the Sun Devils trailed only 2-0 when Mann scored on the Falcons' first possession. Arizona State responded with a 14-2 run - ending with consecutive 3-pointers from Orsillo - for an early 10-point lead, then pushed it to 40-24 at the break on Orsillo's jumper in the lane in the final minute.

Bowling Green got no closer than nine points in the second half.

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