Cappie Pondexter scored 24 points, and Rutgers turned 15 turnovers into 22 points as the Scarlet Knights beat Ohio State, 64-58, in the Philadelphia Regional semifinals.
Rutgers (28-6) will play Tennessee (29-4) tomorrow night for a trip to the Final Four.
The Scarlet Knights beat Tennessee, 65-51, Dec. 29 at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
"I thought we played great defense, as best we could," coach C. Vivian Stringer said after Rutgers (28-6) held the nation's best shooting team to 39.6 percent.
In reaching the regional final, Rutgers has avenged regular-season losses to Temple and Ohio State. The Buckeyes beat the Scarlet Knights, 52-50, Jan. 16. "Even though we beat Tennessee, they are a great team and playing a lot better," said Rutgers senior Chelsea Newton, who scored 13 points. "They are not the same team that came to the RAC." Freshman Matee Ajavon added 14 points for the Scarlet Knights, who came into the game limiting opponents to 50.8 points. Brandie Hoskins scored 12 points for Ohio State (30-5). The Buckeyes shot better than 50 percent in winning their opening two tournament games and committed only 18 turnovers. The Scarlet Knights held Ohio State without a field goal for the final 9:50 of the first half in turning an 18-10 deficit into a 27-22 lead.
Tennessee 75, Texas Tech 59 -- Shyra Ely scrawled her goal on the back of her sneakers: Homeward Bound. With the way the Lady Vols are playing, Ely might get her wish. Ely scored 23 points and led the top-seeded Lady Vols into their 20th regional final for a berth in the Final Four in Indianapolis.
"I plan on going home next week and playing for a national championship," said Ely, the 2001 Indiana Miss Basketball from Ben Davis High. "It would just be icing on the cake to finish my career where I started and to be in Indianapolis in front of friends and family."
Ely, averaging 17 points in three tournament games, offered a simple explanation for her sharp shooting. '`It's tournament time. It's March," she said.
Certainly, Tennessee knows a thing or two about playing its best in March.
The Lady Vols used a smothering defense to shut down the fourth-seeded Lady Raiders (24-8) and help coach Pat Summitt build on her NCAA record with her 881st career victory. She hopes to make it 884 by the end of the tournament.
"I think we're one of the teams that can win a championship," Summitt said.
Alexis Hornbuckle scored 14 points, and Nicky Anosike added 11 points and 11 rebounds as part of a balanced offense for Tennessee.