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. Bingo. "You could tell when it left her hand that it was going in,” said OU point guard Danielle Robinson. "She didn’t want to say bye to us, and we didn’t want to say bye to her.” Stevenson scored seven points in the final 45 seconds, after Notre Dame forged a 70-70 tie. Two foul shots to break that tie, then two foul shots with three seconds left after she intercepted the Irish’s desperation inbounds pass. Stevenson finished with 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting. The NCAA Tournament is many things, and on this night, it was redemption for a player with a history of March nightmares. "It couldn’t have happened to a better kid in a better situation,” said OU coach Sherri Coale. "I just wanted her to soak it all in. "Most of the success in life is about being confident ... the really superior part of athletics is that it can teach you that. It teaches you that confidence is something you give yourself. "And if you can learn that lesson through collegiate athletics, you can be successful at anything you do.” Corny stuff, yes. But still true. When the final buzzer sounded, Stevenson rejoiced and found Coale. They hugged at midcourt, knowing that someone who had suffered March’s misery now was celebrating its madness. "She said that basically, she was just very proud of me,” Stevenson said. "She was like, ‘Are you mature or what? Are you mature or what?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m mature, Coach. I’m mature.’” Then Stevenson was the last Sooner off the court. She blew kisses to the OU fans and gave exaggerated waves. They weren’t waves of farewell. Stevenson wasn’t ready to say good-bye. Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.