March 6, 2000
By DONNA TOMMELLEO
STORRS, Conn. (AP) - When the game was on the line, Shawnetta Stewart and Linda Miles were perfect from it.
Both were 6-of-6 from the free throw line in overtime. Stewart also hit a 3-pointer and made a key steal in the extra period to lead No. 8 Rutgers to an 81-72 win over Notre Dame in a Big East semifinal Monday night.
"We really stuck together tonight," said Stewart, who finished with 23 points. "I think we wanted it more. We outhustled them."
She helped the Scarlet Knights (22-6) avenge a 78-74 overtime loss to the Fighting Irish (25-4) on Feb. 19.
In that contest, Notre Dame freshman Alicia Ratay hit two 3-pointers to send the game into overtime and made two key free throws to win it.
"Of course we remember it," said Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer. "It was like a dagger in the heart."
She credited her team with being more focused in the extra period Monday.
"We didn't get carried away," she said. "We did anything to get everything we could."
The Scarlet Knights will play defending conference champion Connecticut for the title Tuesday. The top-ranked Huskies advanced with a 79-54 victory over No. 17 Boston College.
Miles hit one of two free throws with 1:05 left in regulation to tie it at 58. Rutgers got the ball back after an Irish miss and Stewart drove to the basket and missed a layup. She came out of a scramble with the ball and threw in a backward shot, was fouled and converted the 3-point play to put Rutgers up 61-58.
Ratay hit two free throws to get the Irish within 61-60.
Stewart was fouled with 20 seconds left and made one of two free throws. She fouled Danielle Green on the other end and Green hit both from the line to send the game into overtime.
Rutgers center Tammy Sutton-Brown scored the first four points in the extra
period, but Kelley Siemon got the Irish back to within three, hitting one of
two free throws.
That's when Stewart took over.
She hit a 3-pointer with 2:43 left and stole the ball on the next Irish possession. She and Miles were both perfect from the foul line down the stretch to ice the game.
Rutgers dominated the boards, 39-26. Miles led the Scarlet Knights with 11.
Ruth Riley had 20 points and seven rebounds for the Irish. Sutton-Brown had 18 points and eight rebounds. Both fouled out late in overtime.
"We hit free throws in the end," said Stringer. "That's when it counts, doesn't it?"