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Missed free throws doom Blue Devils

The Associated Press

Duke’s free-throw failure in the final second sent Rutgers to the regional finals.

Epiphanny Prince went coast-to-coast for the go-ahead layup with 20 seconds left and Duke star Lindsey Harding missed two free throws with 0.1 seconds left, preserving fourth-seeded Rutgers’ 53-52 upset of the top-seeded Blue Devils on Saturday in the semifinals of the Greensboro Regional.

Harding could have given the Blue Devils (32-2) the win — or at least forced overtime — when she stole an inbounds pass near midcourt, drove hard to the basket and was fouled by Myia McCurdy.

The ACC player of the year missed both free throws hard off the back iron, and Carrem Gay’s tipback as the horn sounded failed to come close. Harding fell to her back and covered her face in horror, while the Scarlet Knights (25-8) celebrated at midcourt.

Matee Ajavon had 20 points for Rutgers, which advances to face Arizona State (31-4) on Monday night with a berth in the Final Four on the line.

Arizona State 67, Bowling Green 49: 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.

The win gave third-seeded Arizona State (31-4) its first trip to the round of eight.

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.

Ali Mann scored 15 points to lead Bowling Green (31-4).

Connecticut 78, N.C. State 71: Charde Houston and Tina Charles sent Connecticut on another second-half surge that ended North Carolina State’s emotion-fueled run through the NCAA tournament.

Houston scored 18 points and Charles added 17 to help the top-seeded Huskies take control early in the second half before they held on for a victory over the fourth-seeded Wolfpack that ended coach Kay Yow’s inspiring season.

North Carolina State got off to a fast start and had the Huskies so frustrated heading into the half that coach Geno Auriemma shoved one of his assistant coaches at the end of the half while arguing with the officials.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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