MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- After giving up the game's first 17 points, third seed Texas Tech staged a remarkable comeback to defeat Notre Dame, 69-65, in a Mideast Region semifinal contest.
Melinda Schmucker-Pharies scored all 11 of her points in the second half, helping the Red Raiders (28-4) overcome the 17-point deficit and advance to their first regional final in five years.
Texas Tech, which won the national championship in 1993, will face Tennessee on Monday with a berth in the Final Four on the line. The Lady Vols advanced with a 77-56 victory over Virginia.
The Red Raiders went more than seven minutes before scoring in the first half, but regrouped to close within 28-23 at the intermission. Texas Tech built a 66-61 lead on Plenette Pierson's foul shot with 23 seconds remaining.
Danielle Green's driving layup brought Notre Dame within 66-63 with 12.8 seconds to play, but she could not complete the three-point play and Texas Tech's Aleah Johnson hit two foul shots eight-tenths of a second later to put away the contest.
Notre Dame (27-5), one of the hottest teams in the country entering the tournament, lost for only the third time in its last 27 games. The Fighting Irish were looking to reach the Final Four for the second time in four years, making their first trip in school history in 1997.
However, Notre Dame struggled on offense after jumping to the big early lead, allowing Texas Tech to climb back into the game. The Fighting Irish were held to their second-lowest total of the season, six days after setting a school record for points in a tournament game with a 95-60 rout of George Washington in the second round.
Johnson scored 18 points and Pierson 13 for Texas Tech, which shot only 41 percent (26-of-64) from the field but took advantage of 25 turnovers by Notre Dame.
Ruth Riley scored 19 points and Green 15 for the Irish, who fell despite holding Texas Tech to 30 percent shooting in the opening half. Notre Dame shot 44 percent (24-of-54) overall from the field.
Pierson's jumper finally got Texas Tech on the board with 12:58 remaining and started a burst in which the Lady Raiders scored seven points in 44 seconds.
Texas Tech answered Notre Dame's run with a 17-0 run of their own, holding the Irish scoreless for more than nine minutes. The Lady Raiders pulled into a 17-17 tie on Keitha Dickerson's jumper with 4:40 left.
Notre Dame rebuilt the lead to 40-32 on Riley's driving layup with 14:56 to go, but Schmucker-Pharies hit a 3-pointer to tie it, 46-46, with 9:55 to play.
Katrisa O'Neal hit 1-of-2 from the line to snap 50-50 tie with 7:45 remaining and give Texas Tech the lead for good.
After Texas Tech opened a 57-52 edge on Pierson's driving layup, Ericka Haney hit two straight baskets to pull Notre Dame within 57-56 with 3:31 to go.
However, Pierson answered with a layup and two foul shots, making it 63-58 with 1:42 remaining.