College basketball round-up: Notre Dame women win Big East tourney

March 13, 2013 

BEast Connecticut Notre Dame Basketball

Connecticut's Bria Hartley, second from left, was pressured by Notre Dame players Skylar Diggins, left, and Madison Cable as she handed the ball to Kelly Faris, right.

JESSICA HILL — AP

Natalie Achonwa's layup with 1.8 seconds left lifted No. 2 Notre Dame to its first Big East Tournament championship with a 61-59 victory over third-ranked Connecticut on Tuesday night.

Skylar Diggins stole an errant pass from Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis with 8 seconds left, and after dribbling through a few defenders, found Achonwa for the uncontested lay-in.

After a desperation shot by Connecticut fell harmlessly off the backboard, the Irish, who have won 26 in a row, began a wild celebration.

The Fighting Irish players, wearing championship hats and T-shirts, set up a dance line to celebrate and did an Irish jig in front of the school band.

Notre Dame (31-1) had been in the title game six previous times, including the last two, and lost to the Huskies in each one. The Irish had beaten Louisville in the semifinals Monday.

The Irish weren't going to be denied in their final chance to win a Big East championship. Earlier in the day, Notre Dame announced it would be joining the ACC starting next season — a year earlier than expected.

Kayla McBride, named the tournament's most outstanding player, scored 23 points to lead the Irish.

Men

LIU-Brooklyn 91, Mount St. Mary's 70: C.J. Garner scored a career-high 31 points and Long Island University-Brooklyn made the NCAA Tournament with a win in the finals of the Northeast Conference Tournament.

Jamal Olasewere added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Blackbirds (20-13), who became the only team to win three straight conference tournament titles. Coach Jack Perri also became the third coach in the conference to win the title in his first year on the job.

After a frantic back-and-forth first half, LIU-Brooklyn opened the second half with a 35-31 lead. Led by a decisive dunk by Olasewere and a three-point play from Garner, the Blackbirds went on a 13-4 run to go ahead by 13 with only six minutes left to play.

The enthusiastic LIU- Brooklyn crowd, which spent much of the second half chanting "Brooklyn Three-peat," stormed the floor.

Kentucky beat LIU-Brooklyn 104-75 in November.

John Thompson III Big East coach of year

Georgetown's Otto Porter Jr. is the unanimous choice as Big East player of the year and the Hoyas' John Thompson III is the coach of the year, more than three decades after his father won the award for the first time.

Porter, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, led the Hoyas to a share of the regular-season title with Louisville and Marquette. In conference games, he was second in the league in scoring with 18 points per game.

Thompson's selection is his first but the family's fourth. Hall of Fame coach John Thompson won the award three times at Georgetown, including the first one presented in 1979-80.

Three coaches fired

Siena fired Coach Mitch Buonaguro on Tuesday after an 8-24 record this season that tied the school record for losses. Buonaguro went 35-59 in three seasons.

Also, Missouri-Kansas City fired Coach Matt Brown after six seasons and with the program poised to leave the Summit League for the Western Athletic Conference. Brown was 64-122 with the 'Roos, including an 8-24 record this season.

And Georgia Southern Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young was fired after going 43-84 in four seasons. The Eagles were 14-19 overall this season.

USC short on big men after two suspended

Southern California starting center Dewayne Dedmon and backup big man James Blasczyk have been suspended indefinitely following allegations they were involved in a melee in Spokane, Wash., over the weekend. They will not play in the Trojans' game against Utah in the Pac-12 Conference Tournament on Wednesday night in Las Vegas.

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