Sprained ankle bad break for Vols

Starting guard Clement hurt in walk-through, putting her on bench

NCAA Women's Tournament


April 03, 2000|By Christian Ewell and Milton Kent | Christian Ewell and Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

PHILADELPHIA -- Kristen Clement, a starting guard in Tennessee's lineup all season, sprained her right ankle yesterday morning at the First Union Center and didn't play in last night's loss to Connecticut in the NCAA championship game.

Clement, a Philadelphian who averaged 5.6 points, three rebounds and 3.5 assists, suffered the injury while performing a drill as part of the Volunteers' game-day walk-through.

The team's orthopedist, Dr. William T. Youmans, said the guard's ankle was not broken, but she was on the bench as the game began and never saw action.

"The X-rays of Kristen's ankle proved to be negative, and we are treating her accordingly," he said.

No place like dome

Next year's women's Final Four will be in St. Louis' Kiel Center, but the scene shifts after that to two domed arenas, in San Antonio and Atlanta.

Bernadette McGlade, the outgoing chairwoman of the NCAA women's basketball committee, said the women's game is not quite ready to follow the men into permanent rotations in domes.

"We wanted to take the game into domed arenas, but we are still committed to playing in traditional arenas," said McGlade, an Atlantic Coast Conference associate commissioner. "We've got the second generation of women's fans building. The men are probably up to their 20th generation."

McGlade said talk of moving the tournament forward or back to avoid conflicts with the men's tournament is premature, and certainly not to occur before the television contract with ESPN expires after the 2002 season.

"There have been a few select individuals who have started letter-writing campaigns to try to move the tournament, but we really haven't had those discussions," said McGlade. "Basketball season is basketball season. Basically, we ought to start play during the holidays and play in January, February and March."

McGlade said the NCAA would have preferred to have started last night's championship game at 8, rather than 9, recognizing that the sport's audience is a younger one. But McGlade said the committee "deferred" to ESPN's desire to have the game start at a later time. An ESPN spokesman said the later start tends to maximize the audience.

Tech presence

The presence of Tennessee and Connecticut in this year's Final Four obscured the fact that Louisiana Tech was not a participant in the event for the first time since 1997.

One who wasn't terribly bothered by this absence was guard Tamicha Jackson, one of three Techsters in the WBCA all-star game Saturday.

Jackson, a Kodak All-America selection this season, said this weekend was the first time she's been able to experience the event with the blinders off, discovering all of the fan-based venues, like Hoop City.

"The only time I've been to the Final Four is to play, so I thought everyone came here for the game," she said. "There are people who don't even go to the games. They just come here to experience all that's going on here. I may come back next year, from all the fun that I've had here this year."

On the other hand, the weekend was bittersweet for Louisiana Tech center Shaka Massey, who regretted that she had to sit out coach Leon Barmore's final two games when doctors discovered potential problems in her heart.

The Lady Techsters lost by 21 points to Penn State in the Midwest Regional final.

"A heart condition is a serious thing, but I wish I had waited until later to get myself checked by the doctor, so I could have helped my team get to the Final Four," said Massey, who was cleared to play on the day of the all-star game, and earned MVP honors by with 18 points and four rebounds for the East in a 73-58 win over the West.

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