Maryland Coach Brenda Frese wanted her Terrapins to send a reminder that they’re still playing too. They did just that by sending home an eight-time national champion and putting themselves a win away from a Final Four.
Alyssa Thomas scored a career-high 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as fourth-seeded Maryland upset No. 1-seeded Tennessee, 73-62, on Sunday in the Louisville Region semifinal.
Maryland celebrated with a brief message on a board in the locker room: “THEY KNOW OUR NAME NOW!”
“Maybe people will start talking about Maryland and what Maryland’s accomplished,” Frese said. “We have a story too. We have tradition. I’m so proud of how these kids fought.”
The Terrapins (27-6) reached their ninth regional final, having last making one in 2012. They did it against a program the Terps had beaten only four times previously and never before in the NCAA tournament. Maryland improved to 5-10 against Tennessee (29-6) with a little revenge for their previous tournament loss
Thomas scored the most points allowed to a single player by Tennessee this season, and she also extended her school record with her 65th career double-double. Lexie Brown added 14 points, Laurin Mincy had 11 and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough 10. But Warlick said Thomas hurt them the most with Tennessee unable to find a way to stop her.
Maryland will face Louisville on Tuesday night with a trip to the Final Four at stake. The Terps haven’t been back there since winning the national championship in 2006, and they had lost earlier this season to UConn, Notre Dame and Duke. Brown credited those losses with helping them now.
“We have a lot to prove in this tournament and to get a big win over Tennessee is just giving us a lot more momentum going into our next game,” Brown said.
Meighan Simmons scored 31 points for Tennessee.
Jasmine Jones also had 11 points for Tennessee, which had won 15 of its last 16 games. Andraya Carter covered her face with her jersey walking off the floor, while another Lady Vol walked off with a towel over her head. Cierra Burdick sat crying with a towel over her head after a loss that junior Baashara Graves called different from others.
Louisville 73, Louisiana State 47: Shoni Schimmel scored 19 points, Tia Gibbs added five three-pointers and the third-seeded Cardinals rolled the seventh-seeded Tigers to reach the regional final on its home court.
Facing an injury-riddled Tigers squad that dressed just eight players, the Cardinals (33-4) rung up another rout highlighted by a season-best 12 3-pointers with the two seniors leading the way. Schimmel was 3 of 5 from beyond the arc and three other Cardinals contributed.
LSU (21-13) on the other hand went 31 minutes with just Danielle Ballard (24 points), Jasmine Rhodes (eight) and Theresa Plaisance (seven) scoring before other Tigers chipped in. By then the game was out of hand and the Tigers shot just 24 percent from the field.
Louisville moved on to host Maryland on Tuesday night, matching Cardinals coach Jeff Walz against Terrapins counterpart Brenda Frese, whom he worked under from 2002-07.
Stanford 82, Penn State 57: Chiney Ogwumike had 29 points and 15 rebounds, Mikaela Ruef produced a career performance on both ends, and the second-seeded Cardinal reached the regional final on its home floor in Palo Alto.
The Cardinal (32-3) built a big first-half lead and rolled against the third-seeded Lady Lions to move into Tuesday night’s regional final against either No. 4 seed North Carolina or top-seeded South Carolina.
Ruef recovered from getting poked in the eye early to contribute 11 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and two steals. She was cheered at every chance by the raucous home crowd at Maples Pavilion. Amber Orrange added 18 points in Stanford’s ninth straight NCAA tournament home win. Ariel Edwards scored 22 points for the Lady Lions (24-8), while leading scorer Maggie Lucas was held scoreless in the second half and finished with six.
North Carolina 65, South Carolina 58: Diamond DeShields escaped two close calls with injury to score 19 points, leading the fourth-seeded Tar Heels one win closer to a sweet reunion with healing Coach Sylvia Hatchell by beating the top-seeded Gamecocks in the Stanford Regional semifinals.
Brittany Rountree converted a pair of free throws with 1:14 left and two more at the 36.4-second mark to help seal it for the No. 4 seed Tar Heels (27-9), who backed up their December victory against the Gamecocks with another on the NCAA tournament stage.
Alaina Coates hit several key baskets down the stretch on the way to 22 points for South Carolina (29-5).