PHILADELPHIA -- Tennessee already gave coach Pat Summitt the record for career wins in this tournament. On Tuesday night, the Lady Vols gave her something even more meaningful -- a trip to the Final Four.
Shanna Zolman broke out of a slump with a couple of big baskets down the stretch, Nicky Anosike scored 14 points and the top-seeded Lady Vols beat No. 3 seed Rutgers, 59-49, in the Philadelphia Regional final.
Tennessee will play Michigan State (32-3) in the national semifinals in Indianapolis Sunday night. The top-seeded Spartans beat Stanford, 76-69, in the Kansas City Regional final.
"They were tough down the stretch," Summitt said. "We had some big plays from a lot of different people."
The Lady Vols (30-4) are in the Final Four for the fourth straight year, fifth time this decade and 16th time overall, all under Summitt. She extended her NCAA record with her 882d career win.
Tennessee survived a long scoring drought, woeful shooting and a fine performance by Rutgers' Cappie Pondexter in avenging a December loss to the Scarlet Knights (28-7).
For the first time in the tournament, Tennessee's win didn't come easy.
Pondexter scored 25 points and made nine of the Scarlet Knights' 18 baskets, but she had little help until it was too late. The Scarlet Knights' physical defense kept them in it until the end.
"We will be a Final Four team," Pondexter said. "All we can do is get better."
Essence Carson's two free throws with 1:08 left brought Rutgers within 49-47, but Tennessee sank its last 12 free throws, just the cushion the Lady Vols needed to win their 12th straight game.