KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With the shot clock, the game clock and her career clock ticking down, Nyeshia Stevenson ran the Sprint Center baseline with one thought on her mind.
"I want to play some more,” Stevenson said.
Before the game, the Oklahoma senior had replayed the demons in her head. The missed 3-pointer at the buzzer a year ago in the Final Four against Louisville, a 61-59 loss. The turnover in the final seconds of overtime against Notre Dame in the 2008 NCAA Tournament’s second round. Both plays ended Sooner seasons.
Stevenson had vowed she wouldn’t miss again. Said if the game was on the line and the ball was in her hands, the Sooners could count on victory.
The girl shot straight, both in word and deed.
Stevenson swished her vow, with a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 4.4 seconds left in overtime Sunday night that gave OU’s women’s basketball team a 77-72 win over Notre Dame in the semifinals of the Kansas City Regional.
Believe it or not, a program that had to learn to play without the Paris sisters and a team that lost star guard Whitney Hand in November plays Kentucky on Tuesday night for a Final Four berth.
"I was like, you know what? I’m not going to do this to my team,” Stevenson said. "So I just said, ‘Hey, when the clock is running down, if you’re not going to take it, who is?’ So I just jumped up and shot it.”
The Sooners had run a play for Stevenson. Jasmine Hartman flicked a pass into the corner, and Notre Dame’s lunging Lindsay Schrader stretched her hand, to no avail.
Amanda Thompson dashes to the basket anytime anyone thinks about shooting, because it’s her mission to grab every rebound in North America, but "when I saw that rotation on the ball, I thought, ‘aw, this is going in,’” Thompson said.
"You could tell when it left her hand that it was going in,” said OU point guard Danielle Robinson.