No. 17 George Washington 62, Rutgers 57
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) _ Kristin McArdle hit two driving layups and a free throw in a 7-0 second- half run that led No. 17 George Washington to a 62-57 victory over Rutgers and its first Atlantic 10 Conference tournament championship Saturday.
The victory guaranteed fourth-seeded George Washington (24-6) its second straight NCAA tournament berth and ended years of frustration at the Rutgers Athletic Center, where the Colonial Women had never won in 10 games.
The 11th time was the charm and it cost Rutgers coach Theresa Grentz her 400th career victory and made the third-seeded Lady Knights (20-10) wait until Sunday to find out whether they will get an at-large spot.
Tournament MVP Jennifer Shasky led George Washington with 16 points, while McArdle had 12 and Mary K. Nordling added 10. Tanya Hansen topped Rutgers with 24, while Caroline DeRoose added 16.
Rutgers, which split its regular-season games with George Washington, rallied from 33-26 halftime deficit and grabbed a 39-37 lead on two free throws by Hansen with 12:09 to play. The run was aided by a technical foul late against the George Washington bench.
There were three ties after that, the last coming at 43 on a short jumper by Hansen.
McArdle, a senior, then took over. She hit one of two free throws to put George Washington ahead and Maureen Dolphin followed with a layup off a steal. McArdle then twice drove the lane to baskets and a 50-43 lead with 7:09 to go.
Rutgers managed to get within 57-54 with 1:17 on three free throws by DeRoose. But freshman Darlene Saar drove the baseline for a basket and Wanda Lanham hit two free throws to give the Colonial Women a 61-54 lead with 28 seconds left and the championship was theirs.
George Washington trailed 14-9 in the early going but closed the first half with a 24-12 burst to take a seven-point lead at halftime, with Shasky scoring seven points of her nine points in the half.
The 24 wins by George Washington are a school-record, breaking the mark set last year.