Stanford guard Kelly Suminski, right, pressures Connecticut guard Nichole Wolff (21) during the NCAA Kansas City Regional at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo. Sunday, March 27, 2005.
AP Photo/Ed Zurga
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Women's basketball will have a new champion this year finally. Connecticut's remarkable run is over.
Stanford made all the right plays down the stretch and got 21 points from freshman sensation Candice Wiggins to beat Connecticut 76-59 on Sunday night in the semifinals of the Kansas City Regional.
After winning the last three national championships and four of the last five, Connecticut (25-8) won't even make it back to the Final Four, its 20-game winning streak in NCAA tournament play is history.
It was the Huskies' earliest exit from the NCAAs since they lost to Iowa State in the regional finals in 1999. Since then they had gone 30-1 in the tournament until running into a Stanford team that showed the same grit that has carried UConn to so many victories through the years.
Stanford (32-2), ranked No. 1 but only the No. 2 seed in the regional, moves on with a 23-game winning streak and is just a victory from its first Final Four trip since 1997. The Cardinal will play top-seeded Michigan State, a 76-64 winner over Vanderbilt, in the regional final Tuesday night.
They got there with a strong second half against the game's most dominant program. It wasn't always pretty, what with all the jostling and shoving underneath the basket and, in the first half especially, some near woeful shooting.
But the Cardinal will take it. They erased a six-point halftime deficit by starting the second half with a 6-0 run, then went ahead to stay with a 16-5 burst midway through the half.
Barbara Turner, with 17 points, was the only Connecticut player in double figures. Battle and Jessica Moore each scored eight for the Huskies and the usually reliable Ann Strother had only four on 2-for-8 shooting.
Michigan St. 76, Vanderbilt 64
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Kristin Haynie had 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the second triple-double in Michigan State history to help the top-seeded Spartans advance to the regional final against the Stanford-Connecticut winner.
Haynie, a 5-foot-8 senior guard, had just two points in a first half before helping the Spartans (31-3) pull away for their school-record 15th straight victory.
Kelli Roehrig led Michigan State with 18 points.
Carla Thomas had 22 points for Vanderbilt (24-8).
Tennessee 75, Texas Tech 59
PHILADELPHIA Shyra Ely scrawled her goal on the back of her sneakers: Homeward Bound. With the way Tennessee is playing, Ely might get her wish.
Ely scored 23 points to help the top-seeded Lady Vols advance to their 20th regional final with a 75-59 victory over Texas Tech on Sunday.
Tennessee (29-4) will play Rutgers in the Philadelphia Regional on Tuesday night for a trip to the Final Four in Ely's hometown of Indianapolis.
Rutgers 64, Ohio St. 58
PHILADELPHIA Cappie Pondexter scored 24 points, and third-seeded Rutgers turned 15 Ohio State turnovers into 22 points.
Freshman Matee Ajavon added 14 points, and Chelsea Newton had 13 for the Scarlet Knights (28-6). Jessica Davenport had 22 points and 14 rebounds for second-seeded Ohio State (30-5), which beat Rutgers 52-50 in Columbus on Jan. 16.
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