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NCAA Women’s Tournament Notebook

Assisting a win

The Maryland Terrapins will be extremely tough to beat in the NCAA tournament if they can keep sharing.

The defending champions had 23 assists on 36 baskets in an 89-65 first-round victory over Harvard on Sunday.

“We were extremely unselfish, really looking out for each other and really in sync and I love watching our team when they are playing like that,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said.

Kristi Toliver, who didn’t start for the first time this season, had nine assists, and her team shot 51 percent from the field (36-for-71).

“Right now we are trying to get into that flow where we could get a lot of good shots,” said Shay Doron, who had 21 points. “The extra pass was there today and we made it, which is why we shot the ball real well today.”

Inspirational leader

It’s been six years since N.C. State last won an NCAA tournament game. With losses in the first round the past three years, the Wolfpack didn’t want it to happen again — especially since they are playing for coach Kay Yow as she battles a recurrence of cancer.

N.C. State routed Robert Morris 84-52 on Sunday and have won 11 of 13 since Yow returned from a 16-game leave to concentrate on her cancer treatment.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and it first recurred during the 2004-05 season.

“They know as seniors they want to go further and this was their last chance,” Yow said. “Their focus was really very good.”

Baylor is up next and the Lady Bears have been in awe of the veteran coach.

Coach Kim Mulkey was a player and Yow was an assistant coach on the U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal in 1984 in Los Angeles.

“We understand it’s going to be a tremendous challenge for us, yet at the same time it’s quite an opportunity for me as a young coach in this profession to coach against Kay Yow,” Mulkey said.

Luck of the Irish

A little extra luck never hurts, especially with a young inexperienced team. Notre Dame pulled out all the stops, in its first-round win over California.

The Irish wore green uniforms for the first time since last year’s NCAA tournament and the players painted their fingernails green — a tradition any time the Irish play on or near St. Patrick’s Day.

“I was thinking there was so much excitement in the locker room, I was afraid we were too loose,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “We were almost giddy for getting to the tournament. This is the way this team’s been with the freshmen because everything’s new to them.”

The Associated Press

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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