STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Keisha Hampton saved her best shots for the foul line.
DePaul’s junior forward scored 19 of her 26 points in the second half, including two free throws with 4.9 seconds left, to help DePaul rally from 14 down to defeat Penn State 75-73 in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
After Penn State’s Julia Trogele missed from 15 feet with 20 seconds left, the third-seeded Blue Demons set up their last shot for leading scorer Hampton. Penn State’s Alex Bentley was whistled for a foul after Hampton went up from behind the arc.
She missed the shot, but hit the two of the three critical free throws. Trogele misfired on a desperation 3 from near midcourt at the buzzer to seal the Blue Demons’ thrilling victory. DePaul (29-6) moves on to Philadelphia for the regional semifinal Sunday against No. 2 seed Duke.
Trogele, a senior, had 14 points and 11 rebounds in her final game in Happy Valley. After making the NCAAs for the first time since 2005, the sixth-seeded Lady Lions’ resurgent season came to an end.
They were 9-0 in NCAA games on their home floor before Monday’s loss.
Bentley, Penn State’s lightning-quick point guard, got double-teamed on the ensuing inbounds play after Hampton’s last foul shot, taking up precious seconds before finding Trogele for the final missed shot.
Penn State (25-10) led by 14 with 18:20 left before DePaul’s methodical second-half surge behind Hampton and Felicia Chester.
After shooting 1 of 6 in the first half, Hampton hit 6 of 12 after halftime, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range in the second half. The 6-foot-3 Chester took control in the paint, and her layup with 3:49 left gave the Blue Demons a 68-67 lead with 3:27 left.
It was back and forth from there in the frantic final minutes before Hampton’s final free throws. She exchanged high-fives with coach Doug Bruno as they jogged off to the locker room.
DePaul’s banner season, which already includes program-bests for single-season victories and NCAA seeding, will continue in Philly.
Bentley scored 17 of her 21 points in the second half, while Nikki Greene added 12 points, all in the first half, for Penn State.
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