Lillie Mason totaled 19 points and junior guard Kami Thomas hit four free throws in the closing minutes to lead No. 14 Western Kentucky to a 72-68 victory over No. 6 Mississippi yesterday in Bowling Green, Ky. That made Western Kentucky the NCAA Women's basketball Mideast Regional champion.
Western (28-5) advances to the women's Final Four in Austin, Tex., and will play in the semifinals Friday against No. 8 Georgia, which Western defeated 72-67 in the regular season. Ole Miss finished the season at 29-3.
"I guess we are the Cinderella team of the Final Four," said Western Kentucky Coach Paul Sanderford, "but then I was tickled to death to just get invited (to the NCAA tournament)."
Western led, 68-64, when Thomas was fouled with 1:10 left in the game. She sank both ends of the one-and-one.
Alicia Scott, who finished with 13 points, hit a layup with 46 seconds left to pull Mississippi to 70-66. Thomas was fouled 10 seconds later and made both throws to put Western back up by six.
Western allowed Scott an uncontested layup with seven seconds left for the final margin.
"Mason changed the course of the game," said Mississippi Coach Van Chancellor. "She made us change defenses."
Deborah Temple and Jennifer Gillom topped Mississippi with 19 points each.