Jeanette Pohlen drove the length of the court for the winning lay-in as the final buzzer sounded to give top-seeded Stanford a 55-53 win over third-seeded Xavier in the Sacramento Regional final last night and a third straight trip to the Final Four.
Xavier's Dee Dee Jernigan missed two wide-open lay-ins in the closing 12 seconds that likely would have sent the Musketeers to San Antonio for their first Final Four. Then the Cardinal's Kayla Pedersen inbounded the ball underneath Xavier's basket to Pohlen with less than five seconds left, and she dribbled all the way for the winning shot.
Baylor 51, Duke 48: Brittney Griner caught a pass, spun around and hit a short jumper with 45 seconds left to put fourth-seeded Baylor ahead for good as the Bears beat second-seeded Duke in the Memphis Regional final and earned their second Final Four trip. "I knew we needed that bucket,'' Griner said, "so I did everything I could to get position and to have [the defender] pinned behind me and step through and go up strong."
The 6-8 freshman just missed her third triple-double of the season, finishing with 15 points, 11 rebounds and nine blocks. Griner, who blocked 14 shots in the second round to set an NCAA Tournament record, has 35 through four tournament games, breaking the record of 30 by Duke's Alison Bales in 2006.
Griner and her teammates hoisted Kim Mulkey onto their shoulders so the coach could cut down the net. Mulkey led Baylor to its only other appearance in the national semifinals in 2005 en route to the national title "I've never had players tall enough to lift me to cut the net, so that's a first," Mulkey said.
Duke (30-6), which had led by 10 points, still held a 46-38 advantage with 4:59 left before two free throws by Kimetria Hayden launched a 13-2 run for the Lady Bears (27-9). The Blue Devils missed their last nine shots.- AP