Hawks Fall to Rutgers, 62-37
Playing before more than 6,000 in the first round of the NCAA tournament at UConn's Gampel Pavilion, 14th-seeded Hartford took on No. 3 seed Rutgers with the same heart and tenacity that led the Hawks to a record 22-win season. Playing even with Rutgers for stretches, including a 12-minute span during the second half, Hartford remained within striking distance of the top-10 Scarlet Knights, trailing 49-35 with five minutes remaining.
Rutgers eventually prevailed, 62-37, displaying a ferocious defense directed by a coach who, according to ESPN analyst Doris Burke, has one of the best defensive minds in the game.
Hartford finished the season with an overall record of 22-9, its best ever. Rutgers (26-6), which entered the game ranked ninth in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, advanced to face Temple University in the second round on Tuesday, March 22.
This was Hartford's second appearance in the NCAA Tournament in four years. It was a huge moment for the Hawks and the many Hartford fans who cheered loudly at Gampel Pavilion, including Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
The Hawks earned their spot in the tournament – and extensive media coverage -- by becoming the 2005 America East champions, with a thrilling 52-50 win over Boston University on March 12.
For details of Sunday's Hartford-Rutgers game, visit www.hartfordhawks.com.