Tennessee moves past 11th-seeded Kansas 84-73
|women's BASkEtBALL RESULTS
|Tennessee 84, Kansas 73
|Stanford 76, South Carolina 60
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Meighan Simmons scored 22 points off the bench and Tennessee rallied past 11th-seeded Kansas 84-73 Saturday and advanced to its second straight regional final.
Glory Johnson added 18 points for the second-seeded Lady Vols (27-8), who'll meet the winner of Georgia Tech-Baylor on Monday night for a spot in the Final Four.
The Lady Vols trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, but they cut it to five by the break. Tennessee took the lead for good with a 19-9 run to open the second half, as Simmons had 16 points in the final 20 minutes.
Angel Goodrich had a game-high 23 points and Aishah Sutherland had 19 for Kansas (21-13), which fell to 0-3 in regional semifinals.
Tennessee couldn't do anything right for the first 11 minutes, falling behind 26-12 to a Kansas team that finished below .500 in the Big 12.
But there's a reason the Lady Vols are headed to their 25th regional final in 31 years.
The Jayhawks found out why from the moment the second half began, as Tennessee's superior depth and athleticism simply overwhelmed the underdogs.
The Lady Vols finally took the lead, 44-42, thanks largely to back-to-back 3s from Ariel Massengale, and a pair of free throws made it 53-46 Tennessee with 11:07 to go.
Freshman post player Chelsea Gardner did her best to keep the Jayhawks close with 14 points and 10 rebounds. But Simmons hit a layup off a give-and-go from Baugh to give the Lady Vols their first double-digit lead, 63-53, with 7:07 left.
Shekinna Stricklen had 16 points and nine rebounds for Tennessee, which shot 51. 5 percent in the second half.
This looked like the ultimate mismatch at the outset. Kansas was playing in just its third regional semifinal, while Tennessee was playing in its 30th -- and shooting for a record 19th Final Four.
But early on, the Jayhawks looked like the only ones awake for the late morning start.
Gardner bullied her way for four inside buckets in the opening five minutes, and back-to-back layups through the paint by Goodrich gave Kansas a surprising 18-10 lead. The Lady Vols called timeout in an effort to quell the run, but Goodrich and Tania Jackson buried 3s to help push the lead to as much as 26-12.
That's the kind of deficit that will get anyone's attention. They Lady Vols came out of a timeout with considerably more energy, responding with an energetic 19-5 run to get back within 31-29.
Tennessee went into halftime trailing 35-30 -- and knowing it could have been much worse.
Kansas lost star Carolyn Davis to a knee injury last month, but rallied to earn its first regional semifinals berth since 1998 with upsets of Nebraska and third-seeded Delaware.
Though Kansas was the better team to start the game, the Lady Vols finished it and gave their seniors the opportunity to avoid becoming the first four-year class in school history to miss the Final Four.
Top-seeded Stanford women beat South Carolina 76-60
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- Nnemkadi Ogwumike wants one final shot at an NCAA championship.
She would like nothing more than to carry her Cardinal to another Final Four, and she had 39 points and 10 rebounds in top-seeded Stanford's 76-60 victory over No. 5 seed South Carolina on Saturday night to get one win closer.
Now, Duke is all that stands in the way of a trip to Denver and the program's fifth straight Final Four.
Ogwumike shot 14 for 22 and made 11 of 12 free throws, and Toni Kokenis added 12 points and seven boards as the Cardinal (34-1) ran their school-record winning streak to 31 games with a hard-fought victory.
Markeshia Grant scored 14 points and made four 3-pointers and La'Keisha Sutton had 18 for scrappy South Carolina (25-10), which hung tough in its first regional semifinals since 2002 despite a significant height disadvantage.
Stanford will play Monday night against Duke, which beat St. John's 74-47 in Saturday's first game at the Save Mart Center.
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer topped her former U.S. Olympic star, Dawn Staley. The two captured a gold medal together in the 1996 Atlanta Games, with VanDerveer taking a year off from Stanford to coach the Americans.
But it wasn't as easy as Stanford usually has it -- South Carolina's guards regularly answered on the offensive end after baskets by Stanford. The Cardinal received their biggest push since a 74-71 overtime victory over rival California at home in Maples Pavilion on Jan. 28.
Nneka Ogwumike took over down the stretch, even playing with three fouls for the final 17:20.
She scored on a leaping layin off a reverse pivot with 9:23 left to put her team up 56-48. She hit one free throw with 8:54 to play, then drew a charge on Ashley Bruner moments later before scoring over Bruner for an 11-point lead of 59-48. Staley quickly called timeout.
Kokenis had a steal in the backcourt and drove the full length of the floor for a three-point play with 5:10 remaining to make it 68-54 and cap a 9-0 Stanford run.
Joslyn Tinkle banked in a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to end the first half with Stanford leading 36-30 despite getting points from only four players. Nneka Ogwumike shot 7 for 12, while the rest of the team went 7 of 20.
The Cardinal got a couple of scares with Chiney Ogwumike going down twice. She hit the ground awkwardly on her braced right knee on a first-half rebound attempt. She was undercut by South Carolina's Courtney Newton, but the sophomore stayed in the game after being helped up by her big sister.
With 15:11 remaining, she drove the lane was bumped by Ebony Wilson. She lay on the ground in pain, grabbing to stretch her troublesome right knee while holding her sister's hand. Chiney Ogwumike sat down and iced the knee before returning less than a minute later.
The talented Ogwumike sister tandem combined to score their team's first 10 points and the Cardinal led by as many as 10 in the first half.
South Carolina advanced to the NCAA's round of 16 for the third time in program history and first under fourth-year coach Staley. And this group looked drastically different from the Gamecocks team that took a 70-32 whipping on Stanford's home floor in Maples Pavilion on Nov. 26, 2010. That day, Staley asked VanDerveer to spend a few minutes with the South Carolina players in the locker room after the Hall of Famer earned career victory No. 797.
The Gamecocks beat six ranked opponents this season but couldn't pull off the upset this time.
VanDerveer eliminated Staley from the NCAA tournament again. The Cardinal beat Staley during her college career at Virginia in the NCAA semifinals in both 1990 and `92, and Stanford went on to win it all both times. But VanDerveer's teams haven't captured a title since `92.
Likely WNBA No. 1 pick Nneka Ogwumike hopes to do her part to change that.