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
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
"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
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.