COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Put the team bus in the garage, and
keep it there until at least Tuesday.
For the first time in school history, Liberty won't be going
home after the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Flames outhustled and outplayed perennial powerhouse Penn
State in a 78-70 upset Sunday night, taking control with a 16-1 run
and then holding on with a solid performance at the free-throw
It was only the fourth time in tournament history that a 13th
seed defeated a No. 4 seed, and this one could not have been more
Liberty (25-6) was 0-8 in the tournament, and this was the first
time in four tries that Penn State failed to reach the Sweet 16 as
a No. 4 seed.
"We've been trying to get this one for nine games," Flames
coach Carey Green said. "It's been a process. This happens to be
the No. 1 greatest win in our history."
Katie Feenstra had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Rima
Margeviciute contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Big
South champions, who will next face DePaul on Tuesday night.
Penn State (19-11) lost in the opening round for the first time
in four appearances since 2001. The Nittany Lions shot 37 percent
from the floor and were outrebounded 39-35.
"We're certainly disappointed because it's not the end of the
season that we anticipated," said Penn State coach Rene Portland,
who was denied a 23rd season with at least 20 wins. "I want to
thank our seniors for a great run; it's hard on them because their
season is over and their time at Penn State is over."
No one on the team expected to lose to a Liberty squad that last
month lost at home against High Point.
"I'm extremely disappointed. We never wanted to go out this
way," said Penn State senior guard Tanisha Wright, who scored 19
but went 5-for-19 from the field. "They just wanted it more than
we did, and it showed. They got a ton of offensive rebounds, and we
just didn't do it tonight. We had the opportunities."
Allyson Fasnacht scored 18 for the Flames, who have won six
straight and 18 of 19. Liberty made only two baskets in the final
7:59, but sank 13 free throws -- including eight of their last nine
-- during that span.
"I like to show people what our team is made of and what we're
capable of doing," Feenstra said. "I don't think that it's sunk
in yet. I'm still a little jittery. I'm so happy. We've wanted this
so bad for so many years."
The Flames never trailed after using a 16-1 run early in the
second half to take a 43-35 lead. Margeviciute made two 3-pointers
in the surge, and Feenstra had five points.
"They came out and hit two 3s and got two crucial rebounds off
foul shots," Portland said. "We didn't come up with key steals.
We tried a little bit of everything tonight defensively. It just
After Penn State closed to 47-42, Margeviciute hit a 3-pointer,
Kristal Tharp scored on a drive and Feenstra added a three-point
play to make it 55-42 with 11:26 left.
The Lions fought back, getting three-point plays from Ashli
Schwab and Jess Strom in an 8-2 run that cut the gap to seven.
Liberty kept up the pressure, however, and two foul shots by
Margeviciute put the Flames up 63-52 with 6:50 remaining.
It was 66-52 before Penn State used a 12-3 run to slice the
margin to five. A free throw by Feenstra made it 72-65 with 2:13 to
go, and the Lions didn't get closer than five points after that.