Tennessee, Duke capture women's Final Four slots

Posted: Tuesday, April 01, 2003

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee can finally 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.

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.

Trish Juhline and Courtney Mix each finished with 17 points.

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 in the Midwest Regional final.

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.

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.

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