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 her
only 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 five
previous NCAA tournament appearances, but the Spartans looked completely
comfortable when they donned their championship caps, delighting a small but
vocal band of supporters that included Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and her
two teen-aged daughters.
"Well, I tell you, Michigan State is the best," coach Joanne P. McCallie
said. "The people are amazing, the homegrown talent is very special. And we're
so proud of our men's team - we're going two, baby! We're going two! I can't
The Spartans will play in the national semifinals in Indianapolis on Sunday
night, 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-point
lead 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 lead
and its 23-game winning streak ended, denying the Cardinal a seventh Final Four
Shimek scored 17 of her 24 points in the second half and grabbed 10
rebounds. When the Spartans needed something at the end, she was there - and so
With the score tied at 61, Michigan State's Rene Haynes made four free
throws and sank a 3-pointer to put the Spartans up 68-61, which proved to be
just 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 for
the rebound, producing a fastbreak layup by Kelli Roehrig. And Bowen stole the
ball at the end to make two final free throws.
Haynie went 4-for-4 on 3-pointers and finished with 20 points, plus seven
assists and seven rebounds. Haynes scored 14 and Roehrig had 10, plus six
Wiggins led Stanford with 19, Brooke Smith scored 16 and Suminski 11.