Michigan St. Advances to Elite Eight over Vanderbilt, 76-64
March 27, 2005
By DOUG TUCKER
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - What a great day to be a Spartan.
Shortly after the men reached the Final Four on Sunday with a dramatic double-overtime victory over Kentucky, Kristin Haynie had a triple-double and led Michigan State's women past Vanderbilt 76-64 in the semifinals of the Kansas City Regional.
Haynie, a 5-foot-8 senior guard, had just two points in the first half that was mostly dominated by the Commodores. But she finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the second triple-double in the program's 32-year history.
The top-seeded Spartans (31-3), who never even reached the round of 16 in five previous tournaments, scored 18 of the first 21 points of the second half. They are now a win away from the women's Final Four.
Liz Shimek, their top scorer who was held without a point in the first half, got the blitz started with a layup. Lindsay Bowen then followed with a long 3-pointer.
Rene Haynes stole a pass and drove in for a bucket, and the stunned Commodores (24-8), who led 37-30 at the break, could not regroup until the Michigan State lead reached 57-44 on Laura Hall's second straight basket.
In the regional final on Tuesday night, the Spartans will meet either Stanford or three-time defending national champion Connecticut, who played later Sunday night.
Dee Davis finally stopped the Michigan State surge when she hit a 3 for Vanderbilt with 9:40 left. But the Spartans made 18 of 29 second-half shots, and the closest the Commodores came until the final minute was 61-55 when Ashley Earley sank two free throws at 6:29.
Haynie quickly got the lead back into double figures with a 6-footer that made it 69-58.
Carla Thomas, Vanderbilt's 6-foot-3 power forward, had 16 points in the first half but only six in the second. Her reverse layup got the Commodores to 69-64 with 39.5 seconds left but Michigan State scored the final seven points en route to its school-record 15th straight win.
Thomas, who usually works inside with Earley, popped in a succession of 12 and 15-footers to help the fifth-seeded Commodores get off to a surprisingly fast start. Vanderbilt led by as many as 10 in the first half as Liz Shimek, the Spartans' 6-foot-2 junior who scored 32 points in opening-round games over Alcorn State and Southern Cal, went scoreless.
Vanderbilt's Abi Ramsey, who broke three school records for 3-point shooting this season, was 2-for-3 from beyond the arc in the first half but 0-for-3 in the second.
With their usual balanced attack, Kelli Roehrig had 18 points for the Spartans while Lindsay Bowen had 14, and Haynes 12.
Thomas had 22 for Vanderbilt and Earley added 15.
Haynes sparked the Spartans' 13-5 run late in the first half, erasing all but two points of a 10-point deficit. Thomas then drained a pair of free throws, Dee Davis hit an uncontested 3, and Ramsey, taking a great pass from Thomas, got a layup to get the lead back to 32-25.