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UT takes Irish's lucky charm

Posted: Monday, March 18, 2002

Tennessee has much more experience than Notre Dame in the role of defending women's national champion.

And it showed.

Kara Lawson scored 16 points, and Brittany Jackson added 10 for the six-time champion Lady Vols as they coasted to an 89-50 victory over the Irish on Sunday night in the second round of the Midwest Regional.

The rout ended Notre Dame's run as defending champion.

''We just really couldn't get anything going,'' Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said.

The second-seeded Lady Vols (27-4) advanced to the round of 16 to face either BYU or Iowa State in Ames, Iowa, next weekend. Tennessee beat Georgia State 98-68 in the first round.

Tennessee won three straight titles from 1996-98. Notre Dame captured its first last year.

''You can feed off the frustration of the other team when they're not getting many open looks as they're used to,'' Lawson said. ''It just creates a lot more emotion when you get a defensive stop or a shot clock violation.''

In other Sunday games, it was Duke 76, Texas Christian 66; Drake 76, Baylor 72; and Texas 76, UC Santa Barbara 60 in the East Regional. In the Mideast, it was Penn State 96, Florida International 79; and Kansas St. 82, Arkansas 68. In the West, it was Texas Tech 77, Mississippi State 55; and Colorado 69, LSU 58.

Two big runs put the Lady Vols ahead 53-27 at halftime. They led by 30 points just 2:15 into the second half.

The seventh-seeded Irish (20-10), 0-14 against the Lady Vols, couldn't match Tennessee's pressure or quick shooting. The loss was their worst of the season, surpassing a 27-point defeat at Connecticut on Jan. 21.

Tennessee has won 40 straight NCAA games at home and hasn't lost at home in the postseason since 1979 against Old Dominion in the AIAW tournament.

Duke 76, Texas Christian 66

Alana Beard had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Monique Currie scored 22 as top-seeded Duke beat eighth-seeded Texas Christian for its 20th straight win.

The Blue Devils (29-3) advanced to the round of 16 for the fifth straight year.

Drake 76, Baylor 72

Stephanie Schmitz made two free throws with seven seconds remaining to clinch an upset victory for seventh-seeded Drake over the No. 2 seed Baylor.

Trailing 74-72, Baylor's Jessika Stratton missed a 3-point attempt with 16 seconds left, and Schmitz pulled down the rebound.

Carla Bennett, who scored 19 of her 29 points in the second half, led Drake (25-7). But Schmitz, who had 19 points, keyed the win by scoring Drake's final nine points. She made a 3-pointer that put the Bulldogs up 74-70 with 1:15 remaining.

Drake will play either Cincinnati or South Carolina on Saturday.

Texas 76, UC Santa Barbara 60

Kala Bowers scored 20 points and keyed the pivotal second-half run with a pair of 3-pointers in leading Texas over UC Santa Barbara.

The win sends No. 4 seed Texas (22-9) to the regional semifinals to play top-seeded Duke in Raleigh, N.C., next Saturday. The Longhorns are in the round of 16 for the first time since 1990.

Kayte Christensen and Lindsay Taylor each scored 13 points for No. 12 seed UC Santa Barbara (26-6), which saw its winning streak end at 22.

Mideast

Penn State 96, Florida International 79

Kelly Mazzante scored 32 points, breaking a 17-year-old Big Ten single-season scoring record, to lead Penn State over Florida International.

With 6:46 left, Mazzante made a 25-foot 3-pointer to give the fourth-seeded Lady Lions (23-11) an 87-69 lead and break the scoring mark of 855 points.

Penn State had his biggest offensive showing of the season, topping a 95-point effort at Ohio State on Feb. 3.

Freshman Tanisha Wright scored a career-high 26 points for Penn State, and freshman Jess Strom had a career-high 14 assists.

Cormisha Cotton had 20 points for the Golden Panthers.

Kansas St. 82, Arkansas 68

Laurie Koehn scored 25 points, and Nicole Ohlde had 19 as Kansas State reached the round of 16 for the first time in 20 years.

The lead changed 17 times before Koehn capped off an 8-1 Wildcats run with a three-point play. That gave the Wildcats (26-7) their biggest lead at 65-57 with 8:47 left.

The sixth-seeded Lady Razorbacks (20-12) cut it to three with three minutes left. But Kansas State scored eight straight points to seal the victory.

The Wildcats will play in Milwaukee on Saturday against either Old Dominion and Purdue.

Texas Tech 77, Mississippi St. 55

Amber Tarr scored 25 points, and Cisti Greenwalt added 19 as Texas Tech defeated Mississippi State.

The win earned Tech (20-11) its fourth straight trip to the Sweet Sixteen.

The Lady Raiders will play Saturday in Boise, Idaho, against either Oklahoma or Villanova.

In the first half, Tech held Mississippi State (19-12) scoreless for more than eight minutes and kept the top two scorers -- LaToya Thomas and Tan White -- to just seven points.

Colorado 69, LSU 58

Mandy Nightingale scored 20 points, and Tera Bjorklund had 13 of her 17 points in the second half, leading Colorado past LSU.

Colorado (23-9), the No. 3 seed, advances to the regional semifinal in Boise, Idaho, against the winner of Monday night's Tulane-Stanford game.

Doneeka Hodges, who led LSU (18-12) with 23 points, scored the Tigers' first seven points of the second half during a 12-2 run that produced a 39-39 tie.



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