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Rick Nixon | | March 19, 2014

Starting five

Robert Morris' Artemis Spanou
Artemis Spanou, Robert Morris, 6-2 Senior Forward

The two-time Northeast Conference player of the year, Artemis Spanou is finally a champion. Playing in the NEC tournament championship game for the first time in her career, Spanou totaled 30 points, 20 rebounds and six assists to lead Robert Morris' 78-64 victory against Saint Francis (Pa.). In addition to earning 2014 NEC tournament most valuable player honors, Spanou's performance helped the Colonials capture their first NCAA berth since 2008 and fifth all time. Spanou, who averages 19.8 points and 14.8 rebounds per game, will lead No. 16 seed Robert Morris against No. 1 seed Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA tournament this Saturday in Toledo, Ohio.

James Madison's Jazmon Gwathmey
Jazmon Gwathmey, James Madison, 6-2 Sophomore Guard

Jazmon Gwathmey picked a great time for her best day as a collegian, scoring a career-high 20 points and pulling down a career-high 14 rebounds as James Madison defeated Delaware 70-45 in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship game. Gwathmey, who averages 10.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, shot 6 of 11 from the field and connected on 8 of 10 free throws as the Dukes won a ticket to the Big Dance for the third time in the past five years. James Madison (28-5), a No. 11 seed, will open tournament play on Sunday against No. 6 seed Gonzaga in College Station, Texas.

Wright State's Kim Demmings
Kim Demmings, Wright State, 5-8 Junior Guard

Led by Horizon League player of the year Kim Demmings, Wright State claimed its first ticket to the NCAA ournament on Sunday, defeating Green Bay 88-69 in the championship game of the conference tournament. Demmings shook off a foul-plagued first half and scored 22 of her 26 points after the break, helping Wright State rally to the biggest win in program history. Limited to just nine minutes in the first half with three fouls, Demmings hit five 3-pointers in the second half as the Raiders overcame a 10-point deficit against the Phoenix, who were 27-0 at home against Wright State all time. Wright State, a No. 14 seed in the NCAA tournament, will open play at No. 3 Kentucky this Saturday.

Akron's Rachel Tecca
Rachel Tecca, Akron, 6-1 Senior Forward

A dominating inside presence, Rachel Tecca scored 30 points and dominated inside, leading Akron into the NCAA tournament for the first time with a 79-68 win against Ball State in the Mid-American Conference tournament championship this past Saturday. Tecca, who scored 20 in the first half, added 12 rebounds for the Zips (23-9), who started the season 4-4 but have won 16 of 17 and will enter the NCAA tournament as one of the nation's hottest teams. With its first MAC title, Akron also tied a school record for wins in the program's 40th year. The 13th-seeded Zips will open NCAA tournament play on Saturday on the road at No. 4 seed Purdue.

Idaho's Stacey Barr
Stacey Barr, Idaho, 5-8 Junior Guard

Idaho earned a trip to the NCAA tournament after defeating Seattle 75-67 in the Western Athletic Conference tournament championship game. Junior Stacey Barr scored 28 points in the game and 78 in the tournament on her way to being voted most valuable player. Barr’s effort helped lead the Vandals to a second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance for the first time in school history. Idaho, a No. 14 seed, will play No. 3 seed Louisville in the first round of the NCAA tournament, with the game Sunday in Iowa City, Iowa.  This will be the third NCAA tournament trip for the Vandals. Idaho first made the tournament in 1984.

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