Quite a debut
No. 11 seed TCU upsets No. 6 seed Penn State
Updated: Saturday March 17, 2001 10:21 PM
RUSTON, La. (AP) -- The slogan "A Season of Firsts" is splattered all over TCU's postseason media guide.
The Lady Frogs can add another one to the list - first NCAA tournament victory.
Kati Safaritova scored 21 points, including what proved to be the game-winning basket with 48 seconds left, as TCU beat Penn State 77-75 in the Lady Frogs' first-ever NCAA tournament game Saturday.
Lisa Shepherd, who had 20 points and five 3-pointers for the Lady Lions, hit the front of the rim with a 30-foot shot at the buzzer.
Maren Walseth had 21 points and 13 rebounds for sixth-seeded Penn State, which went to the Final Four last season.
Tricia Payne scored 15 for the 11th-seeded Lady Frogs in the East Regional game.
"We really believed coming in that we could win this game," said Jill Sutton, who had 12 points on four 3-pointers for TCU, "I heard everyone in the locker room before the game saying that we don't feel like underdogs coming into this game."
It's been a breakthrough season for TCU. The Lady Frogs (25-8) reached 20 wins for the first time, earned an NCAA bid by winning the Western Athletic Conference tournament for the first time and won the program's first regular-season league title.
"It's been a dream season," second-year coach Jeff Mittie said. "I don't know how long the ride is going to last, but we're going to enjoy it."
Penn State (19-10), which trailed by as many as 19 in the first half, tied the score at 72 when Walseth sank one of two free throws with 2:17 remaining.
TCU regained the lead when Payne swished two free throws a minute later, but Shepherd nailed a 3-pointer just seconds later to give the Lady Lions a 75-74 lead.
On the next possession, the 6-foot-2 Safaritova got position down low and spun in a reverse layup to give TCU a 76-75 lead. After Tiffany Evans missed the second of two free throws with five seconds left, Shepherd raced down court but her shot came up just short.
"I made a bad choice," said Shepherd, gulping back tears. "We didn't need a 3."
TCU plays the winner of Saturday's second game between Louisiana
Tech, which is hosting the subregional, and Georgia State on