Lady Vols just keep rolling along Victory gives Tenn. 45 straight overall, 18 in a row in tourney

Orioles Notebook

: Women's NCAA Tournament

March 30, 1998|By Christian Ewell and Milton Kent | Christian Ewell and Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

KANSAS CITY, MO. — KANSAS CITY, Mo.-- In addition to extending its overall streak to 45 games, Tennessee's 93-75 win over Louisiana Tech for the national title last night was its 18th in a row in the NCAA tournament.

The Lady Vols' last tournament loss was to Connecticut, 70-64, in the 1995 title game.

For Louisiana Tech, last night's loss ended a 16-game winning streak. The team last lost Jan. 25 against Western Kentucky, 88-86.

Look for Tennessee to be dominant again next season. Assuming that Chamique Holdsclaw makes good on her pledge to return for her senior season, the only player lost will be Laurie Milligan.

Louisiana Tech, which loses only Alisa Burras, should be as good as any of the other contenders for next year's national championship.

A change in format?

The women's tournament could be moved forward or backward two weeks to avoid conflicts with the men's tournament, the chair of the tournament committee said yesterday.

Jean Lenti-Ponsetto, the outgoing chair of the women's basketball committee, said the nine-member panel will discuss a number of changes to the tournament format, some of which will require three levels of NCAA approval as well as agreement with ESPN, which holds the rights to the tournament for the next four seasons.

Among the other changes that will be discussed is the possibility of changing the regionals and regional semifinals, all of which are currently played on two days, to a four day set-up, which would be identical to the men's.

Lenti-Ponsetto said the tournament is not ready to go to neutral sites for early-round games, but the committee will recommend that the 16 first- and second-round sites be awarded before the season, not to the top four seeds in each region, as is done presently.

Schools that are hosts to first- and second-round games would not be permitted to be hosts to regionals, Lenti-Ponsetto said.

Et cetera

Holdsclaw, Tamika Catchings and Kellie Jolly made the all-tournament team, joined by Tech's Tamicha Jackson and N.C. State's Chasity Melvin. Jolly's .800 percentage from the three-point line ties the championship record set by Abby Conklin during Tennessee's victory over Georgia in 1996. The 1998 tournament set a record for total attendance with 285,428 spectators. This tops the 280,494 who attended in 1994. The only other team to score more than 90 in a championship game was Texas, which scored 97 against Southern California in 1986. The margin of victory was the largest for a championship game, beating the 23-point pasting (67-44) that Tennessee laid on Tech in 1987. It was the first championship game since 1995 without Violet Palmer and the first since 1994 without Dee Kantner, the two women officials who joined the NBA this season.

Pub Date: 3/30/98

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