Women's NCAA Final Four

College Basketball

Ncaa Tournament

April 06, 2003|By Milton Kent

Women's NCAA Final Four

Tennessee (32-4) vs. Duke (35-1)

When: Today, 7 p.m.

Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta.


How Tennessee got here: Defeated Alabama State, 95-43, in Mideast first round; Virginia, 81-51, in second round; Penn State, 86-58, in regional semifinal; Villanova, 73-49, in regional final.

How Duke got here: Defeated Georgia State, 66-48, in Midwest first round; Utah, 65-54, in second round; Georgia, 66-63, in regional semifinal; Texas Tech, 57-51, in regional final.

Coaches: Tennessee's Pat Summitt is 820-162 in 29 seasons, all at Tennessee. Duke's Gail Goestenkors is 272-83 in 11 seasons, all at Duke.

Tennessee's keys to victory: The Lady Vols committed 23 turnovers in their 76-55 loss to Duke in November and will need to reduce that number tonight. Forwards Gwen Jackson and Shyra Ely combined for 13 rebounds in that loss, nearly two below their combined season average. Tennessee, which has not played away from Knoxville in 29 days, will need to find a comfort zone at the neutral Georgia Dome.

Duke's keys to victory: The Blue Devils have been out-rebounded in their past two wins and will need to at least hold their own against the Lady Vols, who emphasize crashing the boards and getting out in transition. Duke will also need to have a third scoring option besides All-Americans Alana Beard and Iciss Tillis. Mistie Bass will have to get help to battle Tennessee's rugged interior game.

Prediction: The game should be a classic, but Tennessee appears to be firing on too many cylinders for Duke to win.

Texas (29-5) vs. Connecticut (35-1)

When: Today, 9:30 p.m.

Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta.


How Texas got here: Defeated Hampton, 90-46, in West first round; Arkansas, 67-50, in second round; Minnesota, 73-60, in regional semifinal; Louisiana State, 78-60, in regional final.

How Connecticut got here: Defeated Boston U., 91-44, in East first round; Texas Christian, 81-66, in second round; Boston College, 70-49, in regional semifinal; Purdue, 73-64, in regional final

Coaches: Texas' Jody Conradt is 817-263 in 34 seasons, 700-201 in 27 seasons at Texas. Connecticut's Geno Auriemma is 499-99 in 18 seasons, all at Connecticut.

Texas' keys to victory: The Longhorns, who haven't lost since late January, must continue to execute their precision half-court offense and keep consensus national Player of the Year Diana Taurasi from a big offensive explosion.

Connecticut's keys to victory: The Huskies, who have played spottily in the tournament, can't afford a slow start. Connecticut likely will attempt to pressure Texas' guards, particular point guard Jamie Carey, to get the ball out of her hands. Power forward Barbara Turner will need to shake her inconsistent play in the tournament.

Prediction: It should be a well-played game, but the Longhorns have been more consistent lately and should pull out a close one.

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