Cork basketball star Edel Thornton helps team make history in the US

Irish basketball star Edel Thornton has helped her team make history in reaching the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championships, writes Mary White.

Against all odds, Quinnipiac - with whom Thornton is on a basketball scholarship - caused their second upset in-a-row when they defeated fourth seed Miami 85-78 in Florida on Tuesday morning (1am Irish time).

It is not yet officially confirmed, but Thornton is likely to be the first Irish-born basketball player who will feature at this stage of the prestigious 'March Madness' tournament.

Edel Thornton of Quinnipiac in action against Miami last night. Credit: Quinnipiac University
Edel Thornton of Quinnipiac in action against Miami last night. Credit: Quinnipiac University

A former Irish international who played SuperLeague basketball as a teenager with Brunell in Cork City, Thornton is in her second year on scholarship with the Quinnipiac Bobcats. The Hamden-based college in Connecticut are 29-6 for the season, and will continue their Cinderella run into the Sweet 16 when they face the number one seeded South Carolina in the Stockton region in California on Saturday at 1pm local time (8pm Irish time).

Thornton featured throughout the game in which the Bobcats hit an incredible 15 three-pointers - the second most in NCAA finals history in a single game - to shock Miami in Florida on Tuesday morning.

It is the first time the team has reached the Sweet 16 stage of the competition.

The win also makes Quinnipiac the fourth 12th seed in NCAA Division I women's basketball history to advance the Sweet 16, joining BYU in 2014, Kansas in 2013 and San Francisco in 1996. In addition, Quinnipiac becomes the fourth team in history to defeat a No. 5 and No. 4 seed to advance to the Sweet 16.

Edel Thornton, far right, and her teammates celebrate with their coach in the aftermath of winning their second round NCAA Championship game against Miami last night in Florida. Credit: Quinnipiac University
Edel Thornton, far right, and her teammates celebrate with their coach in the aftermath of winning their second round NCAA Championship game against Miami last night in Florida. Credit: Quinnipiac University

The game was broadcast live on ESPN2 in the United States, and Saturday's game will also be broadcast live.

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