Sooners fight past Irish in OT, 77-72
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale is rarely at a loss for words yet even she struggled to find the right ones to describe her team's thrilling overtime victory over Notre Dame.
Nyeshia Stevenson hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 4.4 seconds left in overtime and third-seeded Oklahoma knocked off second-seeded Notre Dame, 77-72, last night to reach the regional finals for the second year in a row and the third time in school history.
"I don't get speechless very often," Coale said. "But I can't think of anything better to say than I'm just really, really proud of these kids."
Stevenson had 21 points, and Abi Olajuwon added 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Sooners (26-10), who lost to Notre Dame in overtime in the second round in 2008.
Oklahoma muffed a chance to win at the end of regulation, as Danielle Robinson slipped 30 feet from the basket. But in OT, Stevenson calmly drilled a 3 from the corner that proved to be the winner.
Notre Dame then chucked a long baseball pass, but Stevenson snagged it and knocked down two free throws to seal the win — Oklahoma's fourth in four OT tries this season.
Melissa Lechlitner had 22 points and Lindsay Schrader had 19 to lead Notre Dame (29-6), which lost its fourth straight regional semifinal dating to 2001.
No. 4 Kentucky 76, No. 1 Nebraska 67: A'dia Mathies scored 21 points and a quicker, more athletic Kentucky roared past Nebraska and into the finals of the Kansas City Regional.
The Wildcats (28-7), extending their school-record win total, opened the second half on an 11-1 run and led by as many as 19 points over the Big 12 champion Huskers.
Several thousand red-clad Nebraska fans tried to help fuel a late rally by the Huskers (32-2) when Lindsey Moore's 3-pointer cut the deficit to 68-56 with 3:52 to go. But the Wildcats held on to make their first regional final, where they'll meet Oklahoma.
No. 1 Connecticut 74, No. 4 Iowa State 36: Maya Moore scored 16 of her 25 points in the opening 9 minutes and seemingly invincible Connecticut routed Iowa State in an NCAA regional semifinal.
Kelly Faris came off the bench for 16 points and Tina Charles also had 16 for the Huskies (36-0), who extended their unprecedented winning streak to 75.
The Huskies have won their first three games in the tournament by a combined 148 points — the most in history.
Anna Prins scored 10 points for the Cyclones (25-8).
No. 3 Florida State 74, No. 7 Mississippi State 71: Courtney Ward scored Florida State's last six points in the final 38 seconds, leading the way over Mississippi State.
The Seminoles (29-5) advance to meet No. 1-seeded Connecticut (36-0) in tomorrow night's regional final.
Alysha Harvin had 21 points and Ward 14 as the Seminoles earned their first spot in a regional title game.
Chanel Mokango scored 20 points and Mary Kathryn Govero had 19 for the Lady Bulldogs (21-13).