SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Seimone Augustus gave her old neighborhood --
and all the rest of Baton Rouge -- another reason to celebrate.
Two days after her middle-school AAU teammate Glen "Big Baby"
Davis and other longtime pals got the LSU men into the Final Four,
Augustus did the same for the Lady Tigers in quite a memorable way.
She scored 17 of her 26 points in the second half, then drew the
game-saving charge with 4.8 seconds left, sending LSU past Stanford
62-59 Monday night in the finals of the San Antonio Regional.
While LSU will be the seventh school to have its men's and
women's teams playing in the Final Four, Augustus' focus is going
out on top. The nation's scoring leader and reigning national
player of the year got this far the last two years also, but the
senior has yet to win it all -- or even reach the title game.
"It's just a great opportunity in front of us, to take
advantage of it and end on a high note," she said. "That's the
key, end with a win at the end of the season."
Augustus carried LSU (31-3) in the second half with the
determination of someone not wanting her career to end. She hit
several clutch baskets, many coming after landing hard on her back
while grabbing a rebound. Then, with the Lady Tigers up 60-59 and
Stanford star Candice Wiggins driving, she set her feet in the way
and drew a charge.
Her reaction was priceless: Laying prone, she kicked her feet
and shook her fists for several seconds while the Cardinal (26-8)
begged for a blocking call.
"I mean, Seimone was planted," LSU coach Pokey Chatman said.
"It was one of those things where it was do or die. ... I thought
it was ironic that one of the best offensive players in the game
made a defensive stop."
Stanford was especially upset because Wiggins passed the ball to
Krista Rappahahn, who made a 3-pointer that of course didn't count.
"It is disappointing to get this close and to see the ball go
in the basket and then have it taken away from you," Cardinal
coach Tara VanDerveer said. "I just think that's a really tough
way to lose a game. It really surprised me that that would be
called then. ... It seems at that point it would be a no-call."
Back on the LSU campus, the guys certainly were watching and
hollering. When Augustus called star forward Tyrus Thomas to
congratulate him after the men's team advanced Saturday, he said:
"Y'all have to do your part. We've done our part."
The men play Saturday in Indianapolis. The women play Sunday in
Boston against the winner of Tuesday night's game between
Connecticut and Duke.
"As good as this feels, we're not done yet," said point guard
Erica White, who had 14 points and seven assists.
For all of Augustus' big baskets, White was a huge factor in the
second half, too. She was especially good at driving the lane and
taking advantage of the defense sagging toward Augustus and center
Sylvia Fowles, providing the third scoring option LSU lacked in
going into halftime down by five.
"They weren't guarding me to begin with and when I cut they
really lost me," White said. "I made it a point to get to open
areas. The open areas just happened to be right at the basket."
Fowles finished with 11 points and 17 rebounds.
The game ended with LSU's Scholanda Hoston stealing the ball
from Stanford's Brooke Smith. Hoston was so ready to celebrate that
she threw it high with about 3 seconds left. Smith fell to the
ground, banging her hands in disgust, and teammate Kristen Newlin
wrapped her arms around her head in disbelief.
The Lady Tigers bounced up and down as if they'd won more than a
regional final. Augustus gave Chatman a hug that lifted the former
point guard off the ground. Then Fowles lifted Chatman even higher.
Although Stanford was ousted in the regional finals for the
third straight year -- again coming a game shy of its first Final
Four since 1997 -- this was a great season. The Cardinal were
supposed to be in transition from last year's team that went into
the tournament No. 1 and a team that's expected to be among the
preseason favorites next year.
"I think that as a team we've come a tremendously long way
since November and December," said Brooke Smith, who had 14 points
on 7-of-16 shooting after making 14-of-16 for a career-best 35 in
the previous game. "But I don't think that makes this loss more
acceptable or makes it hurt any less."
Wiggins led Stanford with 23 points, including a 3-pointer with
39 seconds left. The Cardinal made only two field goals in the last
6:30, a drought proved to be the difference -- especially with them
also missing three free throws in the final minute.
The other schools to have men's and women's teams in the Final
Four in the same year are Georgia (1983), Duke (1999), Oklahoma
(2002), Texas ('03), Connecticut ('04) and Michigan State ('05).
Only Connecticut pulled off the title sweep; in fact, none of
the other teams won either the men's or women's titles.