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MARCH MADNESS / NCAA MEN'S TOURNAMENT | WOMEN'S NOTES

Erb Returns for N.C. State

March 16, 2000|Asssociated Press

As winter turns to spring, North Carolina State is looking forward to a healthy Summer.

Summer Erb, that is.

The Wolfpack's 6-foot-6 center and only senior is back after being sidelined seven games because of a broken foot--just in time for the NCAA tournament.

With Erb in the lineup, North Carolina State was a top-10 team. The Wolfpack started the season 14-0 and climbed to as high as third in the poll. It seemed destined for a high seeding in the NCAA tournament, maybe as the Atlantic Coast Conference champion.

Then Erb was fouled from behind by North Carolina's LaShonda Allen on a breakaway layup with 36 seconds left in North Carolina State's 86-76 victory Feb. 3. Erb crashed to the floor and suffered a broken bone in her left foot.

The Wolfpack (20-8) won its first three games without her, but has lost the last four and plummeted to 23rd in the national rankings. North Carolina State is seeded fifth in the Midwest Regional and will play Southern Methodist Saturday in Norfolk, Va.

"I feel like we hit a wall," North Carolina State Coach Kay Yow said. "We have seven freshmen. Half our team are freshmen, and the intensity and the pressure of having to change roles three-fourths of the way through the season because of Summer's injury, it was just too much."

Erb was the ACC player of the year last season and helped North Carolina State reach the Final Four two years ago. She was averaging 15.8 points and 8.4 rebounds and shooting 55.5% when she was injured.

"I wouldn't expect her to play more than 15 minutes, but you never know. Every day means a lot to her healing," Yow said. "And I think in a game situation, particularly the NCAA playoffs, the adrenaline might kick in and enable her to do more than she thinks.

"But just having Summer cleared, knowing that she will play, will give the team a boost."

*

UC Santa Barbara's Erin Buescher, a 6-3 junior forward was a third-team selection on the Associated Press' All-America team. UCLA senior forward Maylana Martin, a third-team choice last season, was an honorable-mention selection.

Eight of the first 10 selections were juniors, including the entire first team. The two second-team seniors were Texas' Edwina Brown and Iowa State's Stacy Frese.

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First-Round Games

Southland women's teams in the NCAA tournament:

MIDEAST REGIONAL at Charlottesville, Va.

* No. 4 Virginia vs. No. 13 Pepperdine (Fri., 5:30 p.m.*)

MIDEAST REGIONAL at South Bend, Ind.

* No. 6 Geo. Washington vs. No. 11 UCLA (Friday, 3 p.m.)

WEST REGIONAL at UC Santa Barbara

* No. 4 Santa Barbara vs. No. 13 Rice (Saturday, 9 p.m.)

* Officially starts 30 minutes after previous game

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