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VERMONT WOMEN'S PERFECT SEASON ENDS

Unbeaten Vermont was seconds away from victory in the first-round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament Wednesday night when an errant pass brought the Catamounts' storybook season to a close.

After No. 17 George Washington (25-6) missed the front end of three one-and-one foul shot opportunities with a 70-69 lead in the last half-minute, Vermont, which finished the season at 29-1, grabbed a rebound and took off downcourt with a chance for a potential game-winner and a major upset in the home of the Atlantic 10 champions.But Maureen McCarthy's pass intended for Sharon Bay was too low to handle and skipped out of bounds. The Colonials ran out the clock on the next possession to escape with a victory.

In other East games Wednesday night, sixth-seeded Connecticut (23-10) defeated visiting St. Peter's 83-66. Seventh-seeded North Carolina (22-8) advanced with a 60-54 victory over visiting Old Dominion (20-11). Fifth-seeded Clemson (21-9) defeated visiting Tennessee-Chattanooga 76-72.

Mideast regional

In the Mideast, Northern Illinois (18-13) found its shooting touch to oust visiting Louisiana Tech 77-71 in overtime.

In other Mideast games, Rutgers defeated visiting Southern Mississippi 93-63.

No. 18 Alabama (23-6) defeated visiting Tennessee Tech 100-87. Mid-American champion Toledo (25-5) won a road opener for the second straight year in beating Providence 74-64.

Midwest regional

In the Midwest, the Chicago area had a second NCAA first-round winner when DePaul (21-9) edged visiting Arizona State 67-65. In another Midwest first-round game, No. 10 Southwest Missouri State (28-2) beat No. 17 Kansas 75-59. UCLA (20-9) ended Notre Dame's season at 14-17 with a 93-72 victory over the visiting Irish.

No. 24 Colorado (22-9) had its 14-game win streak ended by visiting Southern Illinois 84-80 in overtime.

West regional

In the West, visiting Montana (23-6) upset sixth-seeded Wisconsin 85-74, while UC Santa Barbara (27-4) stopped Houston 80-69.

In the other two West games, Santa Clara (21-9) upset host California 73-71 and No. 21 Creighton (28-3) made a successsful NCAA debut with a 79-66 win over visiting Long Beach State.