Women's national championship capsule

March 29, 1998|By Christian Ewell

At Kansas City. Mo.

Louisiana Tech (31-3)

vs. Tennessee (38-0)

Tine: 8:30 tonight


Line: Tennessee by 13

Conference records: Tennessee won all 14 of its games in the Southeastern Conference, plus the league's tournament championship; Louisiana Tech went 13-1 in the Sun Belt Conference, losing only to Western Kentucky, 88-86, on Jan. 16.

Coaches: Pat Summitt is 663-143 in 24 years at Tennessee; Leon Barmore is 459-70 in 16 years at Louisiana Tech.

Starting lineups:

Tennessee: PG Kellie Jolly (7.1 ppg 2.2 rpg, 3.8 apg), G Semeka Randall (16.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg), F Chamique Holdsclaw (23.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg),[ F Tamika Catchings (18.0 ppg, 8.1 [ rpg), C LaShonda Stephens (4.1 S ppg, 3.4 rpg) .

Louisiana Tech: PG Tamicha Jackson (14.2 ppg, 4.7 apg), G LaQuan [, Stallworth (11.7 ppg, 6.3 apg), F Monica Maxwell (11.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg), F Amanda Wilson (18.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg), C Alisa Burras (14.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg).

Bench strength: Tennessee is one of the few teams where the 10th and 11th players on the team do not present a serious liability. Teresa Geter (6.3 ppg) and Kristen Clement (5.6 ppg) joined fellow freshmen Catchings and Randall in making an impact during the tournament. As Barmore said of his bench players, "When called upon, they do the best they can." His limited bench puts pressure on the starting five, though Jamie Scheppman (5.0 ppg) and Priya Gilmore (4.2 ppg) will grab most of the substitute minutes for Tech.

Key matchup: Jackson vs. Randall: If Randall harasses Jackson, Louisiana Tech will be in more trouble than it already seems, unable to get into its offense in a game where it needs every quality possession it can get.

What Louisana Tech needs to do to win: Find a way to beat the press of Tennessee and get the ball inside to Burras and Wilson. That, and finding a way to blot the influence of Holdsclaw will be key if the Techsters are to pull the upset.

What Tennessee needs to do to win: Try to wear Louisiana Tech down running and pressing it as has been done all year. By playing 11 players consistently to Tech's five, the Vols have a pronounced stamina advantage. All else-forcing turnovers, easy baskets-should flow from that.

Bottom line: If playing anyone else Tech would be the favorite. But Tennessee has too many players that are too good. There's no compelling reason to believe that Tennessee's 44-game winning streak will end.

Pub Date: 3/29/98

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