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Fending off the Bears

No. 2 seed Old Dominion holds off Maine 72-62

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Posted: Sunday March 14, 1999 05:55 PM

  Old Dominion's Mery Andrade (right) reaches over the shoulder of Maine's Andrea Clark. AP

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- Two quick fouls limited Lucienne Berthieu to eight minutes in the first half Sunday against Maine, but Old Dominion's center learned enough in that time to make the difference down the stretch.

Berthieu scored 12 of her 19 points in the final 10:54 Sunday, and fifth-ranked Old Dominion fought off a relentless challenge by Maine to beat the Black Bears 72-62 in the women's NCAA Tournament's East Regional.

"They don't let you post up, they don't let you use your body," Berthieu said of Maine's Jamie Cassidy and Martina Tinklova, both 6-foot-4 and physical. "But I came back in the second half and I learned from it."

The Lady Monarchs (28-3) led by only 47-44 after a 6-0 Maine run before Berthieu, scoreless since the first four minutes, made three free throws and a layup in a span of 50 seconds to give Old Dominion a 52-44 advantage.

The Black Bears (24-7) closed within three four times, the last on Cassidy's layup with 4:18 left made it 60-57. But Berthieu answered again with a layup and then a free throw to push the lead back to six.

Old Dominion, which uncharacteristically struggled last weekend in winning its eighth straight Colonial Athletic Association tournament, will have to play better to keep its season alive, coach Wendy Larry said.

Maine, which made the field as the first at-large entrant from the America East, lost despite shooting 60.9 percent from the field in the second half. In the tournament for the fifth straight year, Maine had beaten Stanford 60-58 in the first round for its first NCAA tournament victory.

'Right now we're not looking at how far we came because we're disappointed not to win," said point guard Amy Vachon, who scored 9 points. "But when we look back, I'll be proud of what we did as a team."

Cassidy led the Black Bears with 20 points and seven rebounds. Maine finished with a season-high 30 turnovers, 11 by Vachon in 38 minutes.

"We didn't take care of the ball," said Vachon, who played much of the second half in foul trouble as well, drawing her fourth with 10:54 left.

Old Dominion advanced to regional play for the fourth straight season as senior co-captains Mery Andrade and Aubrey Eblin finished their home careers with 58-2 records at the Field House, including 8-0 in the tournament.

But the Lady Monarchs had to work harder for this victory than any since a 69-65 second-round win here against Purdue in 1997. That year, Old Dominion advanced to the NCAA championship, losing 68-59 to Tennessee.

"Every game you take things away that you can use," said Natalie Diaz, who scored 13 points and had 10 of Old Dominion's 20 steals. "The fact that we gutted it out just adds to our arsenal."

Andrade and Hamchetou Maiga each added 11 points. Berthieu also had 11 rebounds, nine on the offensive end, and Maiga added 10 rebounds.

The Lady Monarchs led 36-28 at halftime after limiting the Black Bears to six field goals in 20 tries (30 percent) and forcing 16 turnovers. Maine made up much of the difference at the foul line, sinking 15 of 18 attempts.

In one stretch of 31/2 minutes beginning with the scored tied at 9, Old Dominion's pressure forced seven straight turnovers without allowing the Black Bears to get a shot off. But Old Dominion scored only eight points in the streak, the last three baskets coming on fast break layups off steals.

 
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