NCAA

Virginia upsets Cal, grabs first Women's NCAA Tourney win since '09

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Virginia upsets Cal, grabs first Women's NCAA Tourney win since '09

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Dominique Toussaint hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1:08 to go and No. 10 seed held off seventh-seeded Cal 68-62 in the Albany Regional for its first women's NCAA Tournament win in nine years on Friday.

Felicia Aiyeotan led the Cavaliers (19-13) with 16 points, just her second game in double figures since Jan. 7.

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Cal had a streak of seven straight first-round NCAA wins entering the game, but played without leading scorer and rebounder Kristine Anigwe, who was medically ruled out after missing a morning shoot-around. The team would not detail what was wrong with the 6-foot-4 junior.

No doubt Anigwe's absence gave Virginia and especially the 6-9 Aiyeotan room to move down low. Aiyeotan was 5-of-5 in the final two quarters as Virginia moved in front.

The Cavaliers will take on the winner of No. 2 seed South Carolina -- coached by the most famous female in Virginia athletics, Dawn Staley -- or No. 15 seeded North Carolina A&T.

Despite missing Anigwe, Cal appeared ready to take control as they scored the first two baskets of the third quarter to move in front 35-30. That's when Virginia went on a 20-8 run to lead 50-43.

Cal was not done, though, as Asha Thomas and Kianna Smith combined to score 12 straight points in the fourth quarter. Thomas' foul shot tied things at 57-all with 1:53 to play.

On Virginia's next time down court, Toussaint struck from the left side of the arc for her go ahead shot. Smith cut things to one with her basket a moments later before Aiyeotan was alone once more for an uncontested basket to restore the Cavaliers margin.

Cal could not respond.

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It was Virginia's first NCAA Tournament victory since defeating Marist, 68-61, in the opening round in 2009. The Cavaliers had not been back to the tournament since 2010.

For Cal, it was the latest disappointing postseason showing.

The Golden Bears have only been past the second round one time in coach Lindsay Gottlieb's six tournament appearances when they reached the Final Four in 2013.

Jocelyn Willoughby had 13 points and Aliyah Huland El 12 for Virginia.

Smith led Cal with 20 points while Thomas added 17.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia: The Cavaliers turned up their defense in the final two quarters to overcome Cal's hot start. The Golden Bears had 14 of their 20 turnovers in the final 20 minutes. Virginia will need that kind of effort if they hope to go further in the Albany Regional.

Cal: The Golden Bears needed more push from the rest of their starters with Anigwe out and did not get it. Mikayla Cowling and Penina Davidson, who combined for 17 points a game this season, were held to nine points on 4-of-15 shooting.

 

Georgetown gets a boost with Jessie Govan returning to school

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Georgetown gets a boost with Jessie Govan returning to school

After testing the NBA Draft waters, Georgetown center Jessie Govan decided to return to the Hoyas for his senior season.

Govan announced his intention to return on Instagram a week before the final commitment deadline.

Returning to the Hoyas is definitely a boost to the program that will be in their second year under head coach Patrick Ewing.  At 6-10, Govan was the team’s leading scorer (17.9 ppg) and rebounder (10.0 rpg) averaging a double-double last season.

Paired alongside power forward Marcus Derrickson, the Hoyas were nearly unstoppable in the paint. Derrickson though decided to forgo his senior year and signed with an agent after the season.

Had Govan decided to leave that would have meant over 56 percent of the team’s scoring and rebounding would have departed (to graduation or professional pursuits) in a handful of months. Not the best outlook for a 15-win team that went 5-13 in the Big East.

Instead Ewing gets back his leading scorer that many believe he can mold as a young protégée. While in the draft process without an agent Govan had workouts with the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks. Both are valuable experiences that he will bring to a relatively young Georgetown squad.

Having Govan for one more year will bridge Ewing’s second season to transfer big-man, Omer Yurtseven to his first year of eligibility in 2019. They were set up to having a walk-on and two sophomores being the only returning Hoyas over 6-6 for the upcoming season.

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Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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USA TODAY Sports

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.

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Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.