Lank's team defeated Amy Wright, 6-5, to advance to tomorrow's championship game against Debbie McCormick (Rio, Wis.). Lank and McCormick have faced each other in the final for the past five out of seven years.
This is the second straight final appearance for Lank and teammates Caitlin Maroldo (Rochester, N.Y.), Ann Swisshelm (Chicago) and Chrissy Haase (Schenectady, N.Y.).
"We've gotten to the point we needed to get to," Haase said regarding tomorrow's final. "This is what we've been preparing for."
Hoping to steal a point to force an extra end, Amy Wright (Duluth, Minn.) ended her run at the Olympic Trials wanting to put some pressure on Lank in the 10th end. Instead, her final draw went sliding through the back of the house, and Lank didn't need to throw her final stone.
"I'm going to remember that for a long time," Wright said. "After coming out of retirement, it's really hard to come out here and play all week and lose like that." Wright has won three national titles - in 1984, 1992 and 2000.
With the loss, Wright and teammates Courtney George (Duluth, Minn.), Jordan Moulton (Highland Park, Ill.) and Patti Luke (Duluth) finish with the bronze medal.
"People didn't take us seriously all week, and no one thought we'd make it this far so it was fun to be the dark horse," Wright said.
But Wright's team proved the naysayer's wrong finishing the week with an 8-4 overall record. Missed opportunities, however, plagued them in several ends as Lank's team shot more consistently. Wright had a chance for three points in the third end and allowed Lank to score four points in the fourth end when she came up short trying to draw into the house. Trailing 5-2, Wright's team battled back with a single in the fifth and a steal of one in the sixth when Lank's stone over-curled on a takeout attempt. Lank had a chance for three as well in the seventh end but missed a takeout coming through a port. Wright would be forced to take a single in the eighth end after Lank converted a double takeout with her final stone to place three rocks around the house.
"We know Debbie will come out and play tough, and I'm sure there will be some jitters, there were some today," Haase said.
The women's final is set for 10 a.m. The winner will be nominated to the U.S. Olympic Committee to be members of Team USA at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. In addition, they'll represent play at the 2009 World Championships.
Live scoring from the event is available at www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks in the scoreboard.
Universal Sports will air 12 hours live from the 2010 Olympic Team Trials, including the semifinals and championship finals. Live webstreaming also will be on www.universalsports.com.
Lank 010 400 100 x 6
*Wright 101 011 010 x 5
USA Curling is sponsored by Kodiak Technology Group, AIT Worldwide Logistics and Nike.