Brittany Wilson scored just before the buzzer, and eighth-seeded Dayton rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat No. 9 seed TCU 67-66 Saturday in the opening round of the NCAA women's tournament.
"With it being our first time in the NCAA tournament, we had nothing to lose, so we tried to give it all that we could," Wilson said.
That they did.
Dayton (25-7) trailed by 18 with 13:07 left and took advantage of TCU (22-9) going cold down the stretch to pull off the incredible rally in the Flyers' NCAA debut. Patrice Lalor found Wilson inside with time running down, and Wilson hit the layup with 1.1 seconds left to start the celebration at midcourt.
"I just tried to let her know I was open, and I tried to go up strong with the ball because I really wanted it," Wilson said.
That started the Flyers' celebration as the players piled at midcourt after the buzzer. Their reward? They play top-seeded Tennessee on the Lady Vols' home court Monday night for a trip to the Memphis regional semifinals.
"We have a lot of character to be down 18 and come back like that. I'm very, very proud of our kids," Dayton coach Jim Jabir said.
TCU lost for a second straight year to a tournament newcomer.
This time, the Lady Frogs weren't taken down by a tournament-tying 16 3-pointers as in 2009 in an upset by South Dakota State. The Mountain West regular-season champs failed to hold onto a lead that grew to 52-34 with 13:07 left by finishing the final 4:15 without a field goal.
"If you're going to lose a basketball game, you want to lose a basketball game that while it hurts a lot more you can look in the mirror and know you threw everything at them ...," TCU coach Jeff Mittie said. "They hit some huge shots and credit goes to them for hitting those."
Kendel Ross led Dayton with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Kristin Daugherty added 10 as the Flyers outrebounded TCU 47-44.
Helena Sverrisdottir led TCU with 17 points and matched her career-high with 13 rebounds. TK LaFleur, Emily Carter and Eboni Mangum each had 11 apiece and Starr Crawford had 10 for TCU, a program making its ninth appearance in 10 years.
TCU looked like it put the game away with a 16-point spurt that gave the Lady Frogs the lead for most of the game.
The Flyers, with three sophomores starting, refused to quit and go home.
They started whittling away at that lead once Delisa Gross hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 4:15 left. That was the Lady Frogs' last field goal as they struggled against Dayton's zone. Sverrisdottir had two free throws with 17 seconds left for their only other points that put TCU back ahead briefly at 66-65.
LaFleur said she thought the Lady Frogs kind of relaxed with the lead and didn't react as well as they could have once Dayton started coming back.
"We started taking shots that we wouldn't normally take. That sort of backfired on us," she said.
That was it as the Flyers, who finished second in the Atlantic 10 during the regular season, kept chipping away and finished the game on a 9-2 run. Justine Raterman scored on a fast-break layup, Kayla Moses hit one of two free throws, and then Wilson hit a jumper in the paint with 33 seconds left to give Dayton only its second lead of the game and first since 7-6.
"To get a win in the NCAA tournament is always amazing ...," said Ross, Dayton's lone senior. "After being 18 (down) in any game is exciting in any game. To be in the NCAA tournament makes it that much better."