|Hartford's MaryLynne Schaefer (right) rejoices with Jonyce Hollins (left) and Courtney Gomez. (TIM MUELLER/ASSOCIATED PRESS)|
BATON ROUGE, La. - MaryLynne Schaefer has never hit a bigger 3-pointer in her career.
Schaefer made a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left to put 10th-seeded Hartford ahead, then added a pair of free throws to give the Hawks a 59-55 victory over Syracuse in the first round of the women's NCAA Tournament yesterday.
"It was [a play] we have drawn up in practice a lot," Schaefer said. "And I was supposed to come off and see the post players. When I came, I felt like they were guarded, so I just didn't really think about it and I shot it. I thought I had an open look and the thing went in."
Schaefer said it was the first game-winner of her career. She finished with a career-high 19 points, sending Hartford (28-5) into the second round against Texas A&M tomorrow night.
Seventh-seeded Syracuse (22-9) is winless in four NCAA appearances.
Lisa Etienne scored 10 points for Hartford, the tournament's America East representative.
Erica Morrow led Syracuse with 17 points, Fantasia Goodwin added 15, and Chandrea Jones had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Hartford opened the game with a 10-0 run before Syracuse came back, scoring 8 points in the paint and outrebounding the Hawks to catch up. But poor shooting hampered both teams. The Hawks led, 25-23, at the break despite shooting just 29 percent from the field. Syracuse shot 27 percent.
Syracuse stayed close by hitting 21 of 24 from the free throw line. Morrow went 10 for 10 and Goodwin was 7 for 7.
"We work on free throws all the time," Morrow said. "Free throws are just a part of us being mentally tough and staying in the game."
Hartford took a 50-49 lead with 3:15 left in the game after Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman was called for a technical foul after sitting on the scorer's table. Schaefer hit both free throws.
She was one shy of her career high for 3-pointers, making 4 of 9, and hit all five of her free throw attempts.
Syracuse outrebounded the Hawks, 47-33.