No. 10 Southwest Missouri St. 94, No. 5 Mississippi 71
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) _ Southwest Missouri State extended its winning streak to 21, boosted by 16- point efforts by Karen Rapier and Charity Shira, and beat Mississippi 94-71 in the NCAA Midwest Regional Finals Saturday night.
The 10th-ranked Lady Bears’ upset of fifth-ranked Ole Miss earns Southwest Missouri State a berth in the NCAA Final Four tournament April 4-5 in Los Angeles. The Lady Bears (31-2), were seeded eighth in the regional tournament and are the first team seeded below No. 4 to make it to the finals.
Ole Miss, which beat Penn State in a 75-72 contest Thursday, finishes the year 29-3.
Mississippi dominated the first nine minutes of play, taking a 19-11 lead with 13:21 to play, and getting the Lady Bears in foul trouble early. But Southwest Missouri State adjusted, and began scoring with quick inside passing and ball control, taking a 29-28 lead on a Karen Howard basket with 5:64 to go. Her bucket capped a 16-8 Lady Bear run.
The Lady Bears kept up a frenzied offensive pace for the rest of the half, taking a 46-36 half time lead behind Rapier’s 11 points.
Southwest Missouri continued the pace in the second half. Tina Robbins’ three-pointer with 15:51 remaining put the Lady Bears up 55-40, a lead the Bears built on for the remainder of the game.