Temeka Johnson could see Louisiana State was in trouble, so she threw aside her protective goggles and led the Tigers to the brink of the Final Four.
Johnson had eight points, nine assists and eight rebounds despite two broken bones near her right eye, and Aiysha Smith added 19 points as top-seeded LSU defeated Louisiana Tech, 69-63, in a West Region semifinal today.
Freshman Seimone Augustus scored 14 points for the Tigers (30-3), who trailed by 17 points early in the second half before Johnson led a 16-0 run.
"I don't like to be down, honestly -- especially by as much as we were down," Augustus said.
LSU took the lead for good with 41/2 minutes left, then snapped the fifth-seeded Lady Techsters' 29-game winning streak with fearless scoring down the stretch. The Tigers also earned Bayou State superiority, even though the game was played in California.
It was just the second meeting between the teams in the past 12 years.
Cheryl Ford, the two-time Western Athletic Conference player of the year, finished her career with 16 points and 15 rebounds. It wasn't enough for Louisiana Tech (31-3), which hadn't lost since Dec. 4.
Johnson's availability for the weekend's games was in question after she took an elbow to the face last week in the Tigers' second-round game. She went 1 for 8 from the field in the first half.
* TEXAS 73, MINNESOTA 60: Jamie Carey scored 18 points on the same court where she starred as a freshman for Stanford, leading the Longhorns into the West Region final against LSU.
Second-seeded Texas (28-5) won its 16th straight game to advance to the regional final for the sixth time under Coach Jody Conradt, who took the Longhorns to back-to-back Final Fours in 1986 and 1987.
Texas is the only school with teams currently still playing in the men's and women's NCAA tournaments.
Sixth-seeded Minnesota (25-6) was in the round of 16 for the first time in school history. The Longhorns' defense held Minnesota leading scorer Lindsay Whalen to 13 points, eight below her average, on 4-for-13 shooting.