9:00 PM ET, March 27, 2004
Bank of America Arena, Seattle, WA
SEATTLE (AP) -- Seimone Augustus played so hard, she worked up a cramp in her neck and missed LSU's postgame interviews.She left it all on the court, scoring 29 points on 14-of-19 shooting to lead fourth-seeded LSU to a 71-55 victory over top-seeded Texas on Saturday night in the West regional semifinals."Seimone can score at will," said Tameka Johnson, who added 12 points and 13 assists. "She is versatile because of her height and she can post up, beat people off the dribble. It's hard for people to guard her."The Lady Tigers (26-7) advanced to face third-seeded Georgia -- a 66-64 winner over Purdue -- in an all-Southeastern Conference regional final Monday night.Augustus wasn't available after the game. Team officials said she complained of a stiff neck and required treatment with intravenous fluids in the training room."My teammates did a good job of getting me open," Augustus said in a statement. "Once I got the ball, I just read the defense, made the correct cut and went to the basket aggressively when I had a good shot."LSU looked great in the hands of acting coach Dana "Pokey" Chatman, who has filled in over the past two months while Basketball Hall of Fame member Sue Gunter battled acute bronchitis.Texas (30-5) won last year's meeting 78-60 to reach the Final Four, and it was sweet for the Lady Tigers to take the rematch in such lopsided fashion."We all wanted to have a big game tonight," said LSU's Doneeka Hodges. "We all came out and played hard to win. That is what we focused on."This wasn't the kind of Texas two-step that Longhorns fans wanted to see. The loss came one night after Texas lost 79-71 to Xavier at the same point in the men's tournament.Augustus was fabulous in the first 20 minutes, hitting 6-of-8 from the floor to help LSU to a 37-24 halftime lead. She made shots from everywhere -- underneath the basket, jumpers from the top of the key and a few fast-break layups.She was just getting warmed up, and LSU kept rolling in the second half.The Longhorns cut the deficit to eight at 43-35 after a rebound and putback by Heather Schreiber and a layup by Tiffany Jackson, but Augustus made four baskets during a 14-5 run to force a Texas timeout with 7:56 to play."I expected she'd have 20, and I thought we could survive that," Texas coach Jody Conradt said.Hodges hit a 3-pointer coming out of that break, Tillie Willis scored another bucket and -- who else? -- Augustus got free for a fast-break basket and the Lady Tigers were up 64-45 with 5:39 remaining.It wasn't even that close. Texas led 15-8 six minutes after the tip, but the Lady Tigers went on a 24-9 run from there.Jamie Carey scored 17 points to lead the Longhorns, while Heather Schreiber and Jackson each had 14. Stacy Stephens collected 12 rebounds, but Texas' superior inside play was wiped out by LSU's strong defense."You've got to give them credit," Stephens said. "They were everywhere with their hands out there. They were like a swarm of flies."Carey had made 9-for-11 from 3-point range in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, but she was 1-for-4 against LSU before making four straight 3-pointers late in the second half.Texas shot 51.8 percent in its first two NCAA wins, but fell to 36.4 percent against the Lady Tigers."LSU played really, really well. They came out with a fire that our team lacked," Conradt said. "They got us into a hole early. I kept thinking we would respond, but nothing seemed to work for us."LSU went 14-5 with Chatman working the sidelines since January, and 5-2 since it became apparent after a Feb. 19 loss to Vanderbilt that Gunter wouldn't be able to return this season.Even without her place on the bench, though, the veteran coach still attended practices and even reached out to Chatman with multiple daily phone calls -- even more frequently as game days approached."I last talked to her before the shootaround," Chatman said. "We didn't even talk about basketball. We were just talking about how I was feeling before the game."
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