OKLAHOMA CITY - Candace Parker did all she could to keep Tennessee's hopes alive for a second straight national title.
Parker matched her career best with 34 points and had 13 rebounds, pushing the top-seeded Lady Vols to the regional finals for the eighth straight year with a 74-64 win against Notre Dame last night.
The 6-foot-3-inch All-American put back Nicky Anosike's miss and then converted a 3-point play off a transition jumper to send Tennessee into the lead with a 14-0 run early in the second half, and the Lady Vols never looked back on their way to the round of eight for the 23d time.
Shannon Bobbitt added a pair of 3-pointers as Tennessee built its lead to 60-44 before Notre Dame rallied. Irish coach Muffet McGraw, who led the Irish to the 2001 national championship, fell to 0-16 against Tennessee.
The Lady Vols will face Texas A&M tomorrow night in the regional final. Tennessee is going for its 17th Final Four berth, while the Aggies are trying for their first.
For a while, Notre Dame hung with the Lady Vols.
Parker scored Tennessee's first 8 points while her teammates combined to miss their first eight shots, and she had 19 by halftime. But the rest of the Lady Vols combined for only 12 in the first half, and Notre Dame led, 33-31, at intermission.
It was only the third time this season the Lady Vols trailed at halftime, and they'd come back to win both times against Mississippi State and Georgia.
It was no different this time.
Notre Dame freshman Becca Bruszewski scored 16 to match a career-high and Charel Allen also had 16 for the Irish.
Texas A&M 77, Duke 63 - Even with star Danielle Gant out for the second half, the Aggies beat the Blue Devils to advance.
Patrice Reado scored all 17 of her points in the second half to help compensate for the loss of Gant, who didn't play in the second half because of dehydration.
Takia Starks added 15 points for second-seeded Texas A&M (29-7), which extended its winning streak to 12 games.
Chante Black led the Blue Devils (25-10) with 17 points and 12 rebounds.