Maryland knocks off Tennessee 58-48 in regional final
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Maryland is going back to consecutive Final Fours and for the second straight year the Terrapins pushed aside Tennessee to get there.
Lexie Brown scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half, Brionna Jones added 14 points and nine rebounds and top-seeded Maryland advanced to its second straight Final Four with a 58-48 win over Tennessee on Monday in the Spokane Regional final.
Brown hit three 3-pointers in the second half as the Terrapins (34-2) overcame their lowest-scoring first half of the season to knock out Tennessee from the NCAAs for the second straight year.
It's the fifth Final Four appearance for the Terrapins and third under coach Brenda Frese.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 12 points for the Terrapins, who held Tennessee to one field goal over the final 5 minutes. Maryland has won 28 straight games.
Ariel Massengale led Tennessee (30-6) with 16 points, but the Lady Vols missed their chance at reaching the Final Four for the first time since 2008.
Next up for the Terrapins: Connecticut in the national semifinals. The Terrapins lost to Notre Dame in last year's national semis.
Tennessee's focus all season had been on getting back to the Final Four, which just so happened to be in Tampa, Florida this season, the site of the Lady Vols' most recent Final Four appearance and most recent national title.
That task became far more difficult when leading scorer Isabelle Harrison was lost for the season to a knee injury in February.
Tennessee showed resiliency in the aftermath of Harrison's injury and again in the Sweet 16, rallying from 17 down with less than 7 minutes remaining to beat hometown Gonzaga in overtime.
But the Lady Vols' run ended against the Terrapins.
Maryland trailed by as many as five early in the second half, but that deficit was gone immediately after Walker-Kimbrough scored in transition Maryland's first fast-break points and followed with a 3-pointer.
Brown added a 3 and Jones scored inside and Maryland's lead was 39-34 with 10:50 left.
Tennessee answered with 10 of the next 12 points behind 3s from Massengale and Cierra Burdick to go up 3. But Brown's 3-pointer tied the game at 44 and started Maryland on a 17-4 run to close the game. Brown added a layup with 1:10 left for a 51-46 lead.
Massengale answered for Tennessee and the Lady Vols' press forced a turnover. But Burdick's attempt at a tying 3-pointer was short and went out of bounds with 41.9 seconds left and Maryland hit 7 of 8 free throws in the final minute.
Tennessee: The 21-point first half for the Lady Vols was tied for the third fewest in any game this season. Tennessee was held to 18 against Arkansas. ... Tennessee is 18-9 all-time in Elite Eight games.
Maryland: The Terrapins' victory over Tennessee in the 2014 Sweet 16 came on the same date, March 30. ... Maryland is 5-5 all-time in regional finals. ... Maryland was held to a season-low 22 points in the first half but led 22-21.