Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Women: Tennessee headed to its 14th Final Four

Lady Vols will face Duke in semifinals

The Boston Globe

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee finally can pack its bags. The Lady Vols are headed to the Final Four again.

Gwen Jackson scored 20 points and Kara Lawson had 15 as the top-seeded Lady Vols advanced to their 14th Final Four by beating No. 2 Villanova 73-49 in the Mideast Regional final Monday night.

Shyra Ely added 14 points and nine rebounds for Tennessee (32-4), which hosted both the subregional and regional and improved its home record in NCAA Tournament games to 44-0.

Tennessee will play Duke in the national semifinals in Atlanta on Sunday night. Duke defeated Texas Tech 57-51.

"This is a big win for this team," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. "But we don't want to celebrate too much. After having a day off, we'll get back at it."

Villanova (28-6) completed one of the best seasons in school history by playing the same way it had all year, and it worked well in the first half.

The Wildcats trailed the entire game but cut the lead to one with 1:50 to go before halftime as they controlled the tempo.

Tennessee looked frustrated but figured it out at halftime. The Lady Vols began the second half with a 23-3 run and held Villanova scoreless for a span of 7:15.

Loree Moore had a pull-up jumper, and Tennessee got its transition offense going. Moore stole the ball at the other end and bounced it to Lawson, who made the fast-break layup. Jackson scored eight inside baskets during the spurt, and another basket by Moore capped it with 11:33 left, giving Tennessee a 55-32 lead"It's like trying to hold back a river with a piece of plywood," Villanova coach Harry Perretta said.

"They kept coming at us. Their defense was better in the second half.".

VILLANOVA (28-6) - Davis 1-6 0-0 3, Druckenmiller 1-2 0-0 3, Rediger 0-0 0-0 0, Juhline 7-20 0-0 17, Mix 8-11 0-1 17, McManus 1-3 0-0 3, Hatcher 0-0 0-0 0, Hilgenberg 0-0 0-0 0, Dessart Mager 0-2 0-0 0, Viani 1-4 0-0 3, Nash 1-1 0-0 3, Roantree 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-50 0-1 49.

TENNESSEE (32-4) - Butts 2-5 2-2 7, Ely 4-11 6-6 14, G.Jackson 9-13 1-2 20, Lawson 5-8 4-4 15, Moore 4-5 0-0 8, Davis 1-1 0-0 2, Zolman 1-3 0-0 2, B.Jackson 1-4 0-0 3, Robinson 1-4 0-0 2, McDaniel 0-0 0-0 0, Fluker 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 28-56 13-14 73.

Halftime-Tennessee 32-29. 3-Point goals-Villanova 9-21 (Juhline 3-8, Druckenmiller 1-2, Davis 1-5, Mix 1-1, Nash 1-1, McManus 1-2, Viani 1-2). Tennessee 4-13 (G.Jackson 1-2, Lawson 1-2, Butts 1-3, B.Jackson 1-3, Moore 0-1, Zolman 0-1, Robinson 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Villanova 17 (Mix 4), Tennessee 42 (Ely 9). Assists-Villanova 14 (Juhline, Mix 3), Tennessee 12 (Butts, Ely, Lawson 3). Total fouls-Villanova 12, Tennessee 5. A-10,217.

Midwest Regional final

Duke 57, Texas Tech 51

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - All Duke needed to get back to the Final Four was Alana Beard, and a great night on defense.

Beard scored 28 points as the top-seeded Blue Devils rallied to beat No. 2 Texas Tech.

Duke (35-1) will take its 15-game winning streak to Atlanta, where it will play Tennessee (32-4) in the national semifinals Sunday night.

Duke struggled on offense through its first three games in the tournament and still hasn't scored more than 66 points. The shooting problems continued Monday night, but the Blue Devils made up for it with their defense, as well as Beard's court savvy and clutch scoring.

Besides scoring nearly half of Duke's points, Beard had eight rebounds, four blocks and three steals.

Her three-point play with 1:55 left broke a 51-51 tie, and Duke forced three Texas Tech turnovers in the final minute. Iciss Tillis blocked a shot by Tech's Plenette Pierson with 30 seconds left to ensure Duke's third trip to the Final Four in the last five years.

Pierson, who missed two free throws with 40.5 seconds left, led Texas Tech (29-6) with 17 points and 17 rebounds. But the Red Raiders missed 23 of their 31 shots in the first half and shot 34.4 percent for the game.

TEXAS TECH 51 - Pierson 7-13 3-6 17, Ayers 3-5 2-2 8, Grant 4-14 0-0 8, Perkins 1-10 0-0 2, Ritchie 2-7 0-0 5, Greenwalt 3-7 0-1 6, Jackson 2-6 1-2 5, Clark 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-64 6-11 51.

DUKE 57 - Tillis 3-13 0-0 7, Matyasovsky 2-4 0-0 4, Harding 1-4 0-0 2, Krapohl 0-2 0-0 0, Beard 8-20 12-14 28, Bass 2-5 3-3 7, Mosch 3-4 2-2 8, Smith 0-0 1-2 1, Foley 0-0 0-0 0, Whitley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-52 18-21 57.

Halftime-Duke 26-21. 3-Point goals-Texas Tech 1-3 (Ritchie 1-3), Duke 1-7 (Tillis 1-2, Matyasovsky 0-1, Krapohl 0-1, Mosch 0-1, Beard 0-2). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Texas Tech 42 (Pierson 17), Duke 36 (Beard 8). Assists-Texas Tech 12 (Perkins 4), Duke 10 (Harding 5). Total fouls-Texas Tech 19, Duke 16. A-12,413.

TEXAS A&M HIRES BLAIR: Gary Blair was hired as coach at Texas A&M after spending the last 10 years at Arkansas.

He replaces Peggie Gillom, who had been at the school five years. Gillom was fired after A&M lost to Baylor in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament. The Aggies finished 10-18 and 3-13 in league play.

Blair, a Texas native, is among the top 25 of winningest active Division I basketball coaches. He has never had a losing season. He has a 408-163 career record during 18 years at Arkansas and Stephen F. Austin. His teams have made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the Final Four.

Blair was 198-120 at Arkansas.

WNIT: Natasha Brackett scored 26 points to lead Auburn into the championship game of the Women's National Invitation Tournament with a 73-62 victory.

Auburn (22-11) will play at Baylor for the WNIT title on Friday night. Baylor beat Colorado State in the other semifinal.

Dayna Finch led Creighton (24-9) with 20 points, while Laura Spanheimer had 16.

• Sophia Young and Ebony Jackson each scored 19 points to lead Baylor in its 78-69 win.

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