Jacobs' 22, Deveny's 20 pace Eagles

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Boston College had the confidence of a

champion in the Big East Conference tournament -- even before

beating powerhouse Connecticut to reach the title game.

It paid off.

The No. 23 Eagles cruised to their first league tournament title

Tuesday night with a 75-57 victory over Rutgers, earning a berth in

the NCAA tournament. On Monday, Boston College stunned third-ranked


"They believed before we left Chestnut Hill that we have the

opportunity to be doing this tonight," coach Cathy Inglese said.

"I can't be any more proud of their belief in themselves and how

they played as a group."

Amber Jacobs had 22 points and Jessalyn Deveny added 20 for the

Eagles. It was the first Big East final in 11 years that did not

include Connecticut.

It also was a moment of great personal satisfaction for Inglese,

who grew up in nearby Wallingford and played at Southern

Connecticut State in New Haven.

"This is right up there," she said.

The Eagles (25-6), who shot a tournament-record 63 percent

Monday night against the Huskies, also were on target against

Rutgers. They made 58 percent against the Scarlet Knights on

26-of-45 shooting.

"Boston College is an outstanding team," said Rutgers coach C.

Vivian Stringer. "It certainly was no fluke that they beat

Connecticut because they can come at you so many different ways,"

Fifth-seeded Boston College became the first Big East team to

win the tournament after playing all four days. The Eagles also

knocked off Syracuse and Miami en route to the title.

"It's an unbelievable experience," said Jacobs, who wore the

championship net like a prized pendant after the game. "We've

believed since day one. We had to fight through being a fifth seed

and not getting a bye in the first round. We just persevered every


Cappie Pondexter led the seventh-seeded Scarlet Knights (21-11)

with 27 points.

Rutgers limped into the championship game with just seven

players after losing guard Dawn McCullouch to a knee injury in

Monday's semifinal win over West Virginia. The Scarlet Knights were

forced to dress two student managers to round out the lineup, but

they didn't play.

Chelsea Newton, Rutgers' second-leading scorer, hasn't played

since being hit in the head during a victory March 2 over Seton

Hall. She's expected back before the postseason.

"Our heads are spinning just trying to get a feel for who's in

and what we can do," Stringer said. "Even though we have seven

players, we're one player away from doing exactly what we want to


Tournament MVP Deveny scored 15 points in the first half on

6-of-7 shooting to help the Eagles build a 41-24 lead. Boston

College used an 11-2 run to pull away from an 8-8 tie.

Rutgers would get no closer than 11 points thereafter. Pondexter

had eight points in a 16-5 run to close the deficit to 59-48 with

6:05 left. But the Eagles responded with a 15-0 run over the next

three minutes.

The Eagles can't wait for the rest of the postseason.

"What we did here this weekend, it just gave us the utmost

confidence in ourselves that we can do whatever we set our minds to

do," Deveny said.