Some reward: Fla. State women win, get UConn next

March 29, 2010|By John Altavilla | Tribune newspapers

DAYTON, Ohio - For the first time in its history, Florida State's women's basketball program advanced to the Elite Eight on Sunday after outlasting Mississippi State 74-71 in the Dayton Regional semifinals.

"We're trying to establish something here that is stronger than anything we could do in one season," coach Sue Semrau said. "This win, this appearance in the Elite Eight, will help us continue our goal of being a (perennial) national contender."

But instead of being able to celebrate the greatest team accomplishment on Semrau's watch, the Seminoles (29-5) must now ponder the next challenge - No. 1 Connecticut (36-0), which has won 75 consecutive games.

"There's nothing else to do but practice and stay focused," said Seminoles guard Courtney Ward, who scored her team's final six points to finish with 14. "We need to go over everything."

Five Seminoles scored in double figures, led by Alysha Harvin with 21.

The score was tied 66-66 with 2 minutes, 19 seconds to play before the Seminoles built a 72-66 lead with 18.5 seconds left on a basket by Ward.

But the Lady Bulldogs (21-13) used a five-point play with 8.1 seconds remaining to pull within 72-71.

Chanel Mokango scored 20 points for Mississippi State.

UConn 74, Iowa State 36: Maya Moore scored 16 of her 25 points in the opening nine minutes and the Huskies took it from there.

Kelly Faris came off the bench for 16 points and Tina Charles also had 16 for Connecticut, which has won its first three games in the tournament by a combined 148 points, surpassing its previous record of 131 in 2000 and 2001.

Kentucky 76, Nebraska 67: A'dia Mathies scored 17 of her 21 points in the second half and the fourth-seeded Wildcats held off the top-seeded Cornhuskers to reach the regional final in Kansas City, Mo.

Dominique Kelley led Nebraska, which entered the game with only one loss this season, with a game-high 22 points.

Oklahoma 77, Notre Dame 72: Nyeshia Stevenson hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 4.4 seconds left in overtime and then added two free throws to give the third-seeded Sooners (26-10) the victory over the second-seeded Irish (29-6) in the Kansas City, Mo., semifinal.

Stevenson wound up with 21 points to lead Oklahoma, while Abi Olajuwon, daughter of Hakeem Olajuwon, added 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Tribune wires contributed.

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