By Associated Press
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - As quickly as it seemed to begin, Loree Payne's college basketball career at the University of Washington has ended. The former Havre High star, widely considered to be the best female prep player in Montana history, was limited to seven points in a 78-65 defeat to Wisconsin-Green Bay in the first round of the NCAA women's tournament Saturday night.
Tiffany Mor scored 15 points as Wisconsin-Green Bay Saturday advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
They'd had five previous tries.
"We said in the locker room before the game that this wasn't going to be our last game," senior guard Kristy Loiselle said. "We knew right from the minute it started that there was no way we were going to lose."
The Phoenix, seeded eighth in the West Regional, won their 12th consecutive game. Wisconsin-Green Bay (28-3) has not lost since Jan. 25.
"This was a joyous celebration for us, something our school has never done before," Phoenix coach Kevin Borseth said. "This was a goal when I started at this program. Everything after this is just icing on the cake."
In the second round, Wisconsin-Green Bay will face Louisiana State (28-3), a 86-50 victor over Southwest Texas State.
Green Bay advances to play top-seeded LSU in the second round on Monday night.
Ninth-seeded Washington (22-8) got closest when Giuliana Mendiola's jumper made it 50-49 with 11 minutes left, but Loiselle quickly put the Phoenix back in control with a 3-pointer. The Phoenix took over in the final 10 minutes, going up by as many as 14 points as the Huskies lost steam.
Loiselle, the Horizon League player of the year, averaged 14.4 points and 5.3 rebounds coming into the game. The Huskies held her to just two first-half points, but didn't pay enough attention to Mor, who came off the bench to score 11.
Loiselle finished with 12 points, one of five Green Bay players in double figures.
Mendiola, the Pac-10 player of the year, had twisted her ankle in Washington's loss to Arizona in the Pacific-10 conference tournament but still managed to lead the Huskies with 22 points.
The Phoenix went up 30-20 with 2:49 to go in the first on a pair of free throws by Sara Boyer, but Loree Payne answered with a 3-pointer to keep the Huskies close.
Wisconsin-Green Bay led 36-29 at the half.
The Huskies pulled within 36-34 early in the second half on Kellie Dalan's short jumper and free throw, then kept it close until Mendiola's jumper put them within one.
Washington, making its second NCAA appearance in three seasons, was an at-large selection.
The Huskies faced adversity earlier in the season when sophomore guard Kayla Burt's heart stopped during a New Year's Eve sleepover with some of her teammates.
The teammates, including Mendiola, performed CPR until paramedics arrived. Burt underwent surgery six days later to implant a tiny defibrillator in her heart to help treat Long QT syndrome, which causes irregular heartbeat.
Burt's on-court career ended, but she watched Saturday night from the bench.
The Huskies got another blow when reserve forward Sarah Keeler tore a ligament in her left knee.
"To go through what these young people have gone through and come out and compete," Huskies coach June Daugherty said. "We asked a lot of this team and they gave us more than we could ever imagine."