March 30, 2004

Tennessee Nips Stanford 62-60 on Late Shot

NORMAN, Okla. - Tasha Butts scored in the lane with 1.7 seconds left and Tennessee beat Stanford 62-60 on Tuesday night to advance to the Final Four for the third straight year.

Butts, guarded by All-American Nicole Powell, spun to her right and threw up a right-hander, which banked off the glass and fell through. Two nights earlier, Butts hit two free throws after a disputed end-of-game call to lift the Lady Vols past Baylor in the Midwest Regional semifinals.

After the basket Tuesday, Butts ran back on defense, slapped the floor with both hands and got a bear hug from Shyra Ely as Tennessee coach Pat Summitt called a timeout.

Powell caught a long inbounds pass on the right wing and heaved a 3-point attempt toward the basket, but it banged off the rim and out, and she exhaled in disappointment.

Tennessee had possession after Butts missed a layup from the right block and Stanford's Chelsea Trotter knocked the rebound out of bounds under the basket with 21.7 seconds left.

Butts ran the clock down to 8.4 seconds before Summitt signaled for a timeout to set up the final play.

Butts led Tennessee with 14 points, Ely scored 12 and LaToya Davis had 10 for Tennessee (30-3), which advances to play Southeastern Conference rival LSU in the Final Four on Sunday.

The Lady Vols overcame 31 points and 10 rebounds from Powell, who was the only Cardinal (27-7) player in double figures.

The Lady Vols will be making their eighth Final Four appearance in the past 10 years. They haven't won a championship since 1998.

Tennessee lost to Connecticut in the championship game last year. The Huskies also eliminated the Lady Vols in the national semifinals in 2002 and the final in 2000.

Connecticut plays Minnesota in the semifinals on Sunday.

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