No. 1 Virginia cruises into Final Four, 70-58


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Heather Burge and Dawn Staley made all but one of Virginia's second-half field goals to lead the top-seeded Cavaliers to a 70-58 victory over third-seeded Vanderbilt in the NCAA East Regional championship game yesterday.

Virginia (32-1) will travel to Los Angeles to play Stanford in the Final Four.

Burge scored 28 points, including 10 in a decisive 14-2 run late in the game.

After Misty Lamb hit her fourth three-pointer to give the Commodores a 56-54 lead, Burge sparked the surge with a layup with 6:07 left in the game.

Virginia's Dena Evans stole the ball from Jade Huntington and found Burge inside to set up the basket.

The Cavaliers opened a 68-58 lead with less than 2 minutes left. Tammi Reiss made both ends of a one-and-one with 57 seconds left to account for the final margin.

Staley, the tournament MVP for the East Regional, added 21 points for the Cavaliers. Shelley Jarrard paced Vanderbilt (22-9) with 15 points.

Burge and Reiss combined for 12 points in the opening minutes of the game to give the Cavaliers a 12-2 lead with 14:13 left in the first half.

Virginia maintained its lead throughout the half, but Vanderbilt gradually slowed the Cavaliers' running game and crawled back into the game.

VANDERBILT -- Lamb 5-9 0-0 14, Jarrard 6-11 0-0 15, Gillingham 3-6 0-0 6,

SW Mo. State 94, Miss. 71

BOULDER, Colo. -- Southwest Missouri State (31-2) extended its winning streak to 21, boosted by 16-point efforts by Karen Rapier and Charity Shira, and beat Mississippi (29-3) in the NCAA Midwest Regional final.

The 10th-ranked Bears' upset of fifth-ranked Ole Miss puts them in the Final Four.

Stanford 82, Southern Cal 62

SEATTLE -- Molly Goodenbour scored 22 and Christy Hedgpeth added 21, as No. 3 Stanford (28-3) defeated No. 23 Southern Cal (23-8) in the NCAA West Regional championship game.

Stanford, which beat Southern Cal in the teams' two meetings during the regular season, was in control almost from the opening tipoff. The Cardinal led by no fewer than 11 points in the

second half.

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