SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Cierra Burdick scored 22, including four late free throws for the winning points, as Tennessee beat Gonzaga 73-69 in overtime on Saturday to advance to the Spokane Regional final of the NCAA Tournament.
Burdick added 15 rebounds and Ariel Massengale scored 16 points for Tennessee (30-5), which overcome poor shooting and a 17-point deficit for the win.
Sunny Greinacher scored 24 points and Keani Albanez, 20 for surprising 11th-seeded Gonzaga (26-8), which upset third-seeded Oregon State last weekend to advance to the round of 16. That was its record eighth win as a double-digit seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Second-seeded Tennessee will play top-seeded Maryland (33-2) on Monday for a trip to the Final Four in Tampa, Florida.
The game at the Spokane Arena wasn’t on Gonzaga’s home court, but its campus is only about a mile away and most of the crowd was rooting for the Bulldogs.
Gonzaga, led by first-year coach Lisa Fortier, was a surprise to get this far after being selected to the tournament field. They lost to BYU in the West Coast Conference tournament.
The score was tied at 63-all at the end of regulation, and Greinacher scored on a long jumper to put Gonzaga up 65-63 in overtime.
Jordan Reynolds replied with a pair of free throws to tie the score.
Jaime Nared hit two more free throws for Tennessee, but Greinacher replied with a basket to tie the score at 67-all.
Burdick sank two free throws for Tennessee for a 69-67 lead with 1:39 left.
Greinacher missed a long jumper with 17 seconds left and Burdick was fouled. She made both for a 71-67 Tennessee lead and the Zags could not close the gap.
All of Tennessee’s overtime points came on free throws. The Lady Vols were 10 for 10 from the line and missed all five of their shots from the field.
The score was tied 34-all at halftime, and Gonzaga opened the second half with an 11-2 run behind four baskets by Greinacher for a 45-36 lead. Her baskets included two jumpers and two layups, and the Lady Vols could not stop her.
With just under 12 minutes left, Tennessee had made only one basket in the second half and the crowd was roaring against the Lady Vols.
Massengale finally broke the drought, sinking a long jumper. But Gonzaga’s Shaniqua Nilles replied with a 3-pointer for a 50-38 lead midway through the second half.
Greinacher scored again to put Gonzaga up 54-40 with 7:31 left.
Six straight Tennessee points cut Gonzaga’s lead to 11, but Greinacher scored again for a 59-46 lead for the Bulldogs with 5:13 left.
But the Zags suddenly went cold from the floor, and Tennessee scored 15 consecutive points.
Massengale’s 3-pointer cut Gonzaga’s lead to 61-54 with four minutes left, and she scored on a layup a minute later to cut the lead to five points.
Burdick sank two free throws for Tennessee and Bashaara Graves had a steal and layup to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 61-60 with 1:50 left.
Reynolds sank a pair of free throws to give Tennessee its first lead of the second half at 62-61 with 1:31 left.
Emma Wolfram finally broke Gonzaga’s drought with a layup for a 63-62 lead.
But Reynolds hit her first free throw and missed her second to tie the score at 63-all with 42 seconds left. Neither team could score in the ensuing regulation scrambles.
GONZAGA: Gonzaga and Tennessee had played three times before, with the Lady Vols winning all three … The Zags are making their seventh straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and have never advanced to the Final Four. They reached the Elite Eight in 2011.
TENNESSEE: The Lady Vols are 27-6 all time in Sweet 16 games, and 120-25 all time in the NCAA Tournament. They rank first in games played and in wins. … Tennessee players Jordan Reynolds, Mercedes Russell and Jaime Nared all hail from nearby Oregon … Maryland knocked Tennessee out of the tournament last year in the Round of 16
Gonzaga: Season is over
Tennessee: Plays Maryland in the Elite Eight on Monday.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.