March 18, 2006
DENVER (AP) — Ambrosia Anderson hit a baseline jumper and ran down the court with a huge grin on her face.
This was the homecoming she had in mind.
Anderson scored 20 points and BYU used its post play early to open up the perimeter as the Cougars won their first NCAA tournament game in four years with a 67-62 victory over Iowa in the first round of the San Antonio Regional.
The seventh-seeded Cougars (26-5) will play No. 2 seed Oklahoma on Monday in the second round.
Megan Skouby led Iowa (17-12) with 19 points, and Crystal Smith added 17.
BYU centers Dani Kubik and Lauren Riley played in foul trouble most of the first half, and fouled out in the second during a 9-0 run by Iowa that cut the Cougars lead to 54-47.
Anderson ended the spurt when she fought for a pass down low and kicked it out to Melinda Johnsen, who hit a 3-pointer from the left side to give BYU a 57-47 advantage with just under 5 minutes left.
Iowa cut BYU’s lead to three on two free throws by Smith with 32.5 seconds left, then Melinda Johnsen missed a free throw at the other end.
Iowa managed to get the ball to Smith, who had her 3-pointer blocked by Mallary Gillespie. Anderson was then fouled with 10.9 seconds remaining, but she missed the front end of a 1-and-1.
Abby Emmert was fouled at the other end, but she, too, missed her free throws before Anderson sealed it with two free throws.
Anderson, a senior who played high school ball in nearby Colorado Springs, hit a baseline jumper that gave BYU a 54-40 lead with about 8 minutes left, breaking into a smile as she ran back down the court.
The celebration may have been a bit premature, but she made some big plays down the stretch and finished 7-of-21 from the field with nine rebounds to give the Cougars their school-record 26th victory.
BYU worked the ball inside to take a 30-25 halftime lead, which opened up the perimeter in the second half. BYU finished 10-for-23 from 3-point range, making seven in the second half.
The Hawkeyes, who received the fifth and final bid from the Big 10, fell to 7-2 in first round games and is 16-16 in tournament history.