Season Comes To An End For Cardinal Women's Hoops

March 29, 2005

By CHUCK SCHOFFNER
AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Liz Shimek made a series of huge plays down the stretch, Lindsay Bowen made heronly basket of the game at a critical time and the top-seeded Spartans beat No.2 seed Stanford 76-69 in the Kansas City Regional final on Tuesday night.

Michigan State (32-3) had never even made it past the second round in fiveprevious NCAA tournament appearances, but the Spartans looked completelycomfortable when they donned their championship caps, delighting a small butvocal band of supporters that included Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and hertwo teen-aged daughters.

'Well, I tell you, Michigan State is the best,' coach Joanne P. McCalliesaid. 'The people are amazing, the homegrown talent is very special. And we'reso proud of our men's team - we're going two, baby! We're going two! I can'twait!'

The Spartans will play in the national semifinals in Indianapolis on Sundaynight, meeting the winner of Tuesday's late game between Tennessee and Rutgers.

But booking that trip wasn't easy, even after Michigan State beat a 13-pointlead against the team that was ranked No. 1 in the final Associated Press poll.Stanford (32-3) came back to tie the score three times, but never got the leadand its 23-game winning streak ended, denying the Cardinal a seventh Final Fourtrip.

Shimek scored 17 of her 24 points in the second half and grabbed 10rebounds. When the Spartans needed something at the end, she was there - and sowas Bowen.

With the score tied at 61, Michigan State's Rene Haynes made four freethrows and sank a 3-pointer to put the Spartans up 68-61, which proved to bejust enough of a cushion.

Stanford drew to 70-69 on a three-point play by its brilliant freshman,Candice Wiggins, with 43.6 seconds left. But Bowen, who had been 0-for-7,answered with her only basket of the game, a 15-footer with 27.1 seconds to go.

When Stanford's Kelley Suminski missed a 3-point shot, Bowen was there forthe rebound, producing a fastbreak layup by Kelli Roehrig. And Bowen stole theball at the end to make two final free throws.

Haynie went 4-for-4 on 3-pointers and finished with 20 points, plus sevenassists and seven rebounds. Haynes scored 14 and Roehrig had 10, plus sixassists.

Wiggins led Stanford with 19, Brooke Smith scored 16 and Suminski 11.

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