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Women's championship game:8:30 tonight, ESPN, 1010-AM

NCAA women's final: Tennessee vs. Stanford matchup

Backcourt

Stanford's backcourt played a huge role in the upset of Tennessee in December. Wiggins scored 22 in that one, and sophomore guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude scored nine of their 10 in the overtime upset. Wiggins, a four-time All-American, had another sizzling performance Sunday, playing 40 minutes and registering game highs of 25 points and 13 rebounds in an 82-73 upset of No. 1 seed Connecticut. The Vols counter with Shannon Bobbitt, who scored 11 in a 47-46 win against LSU, and senior Alexis Hornbuckle, whose only field goal Sunday turned out to be the winner with 0.7 seconds left.

Coach

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt enters tonight's final as the NCAA's winningest coach (men's or women's) with a 982-182 record. She has guided her teams to every NCAA Tournament since its inception in 1982, with the Vols making their sixth Final Four in the past seven seasons. Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer is one of eight coaches all time with 700 wins. The Hall of Famer has led the Cardinal to 21 straight NCAA Tournaments and national titles in 1990 and '92.

Frontcourt

Parker, hobbled by a shoulder injury, went 6-for-27 from the field Sunday. Of course, she still had team highs with 13 points and 15 rebounds. In the postgame news conference, she thanked her teammates for still having confidence in her abilities. Parker was strong in the Stanford loss in December with 25 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks and two steals. And the Vols lean on forward Alberta Auguste, who scored 10 Sunday. The Cardinal counters with Pac-10 freshman of the year Kayla Pedersen, who hit a crucial 3-pointer to add to her 17 points and seven rebounds in the win over UConn. Cardinal sophomore center Jayne Appel had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and after leading the team in personal fouls this season, she had just two against the Huskies.

Bench

Tennessee leaned on its bench Sunday, turning mostly to Vicki Baugh, Alex Fuller and Angie Bjorklund. The three combined for six points and 40 minutes. Stanford used a seven-player rotation against UConn, with Jillian Harmon (nine points) and Jeanette Pohlen (two points) combining for 30 minutes.

Tennessee starting five

No.Player Pos. Ht. Yr.

00 Shannon Bobbitt G 5-2 Sr.

3 Candace Parker G/F/C 6-4 Jr.

14Alexis Hornbuckle G5-11Sr.

33Alberta AugusteF5-11 Sr.

55 Nicky Anosike F/C 6-4 Sr.

Stanford starting five

No. Player Pos. Ht. Yr.

2 Jayne Appel F/C 6-4 So.

10 JJ Hones G 5-10 So.

11 Candice Wiggins G 5-11½ Sr.

14 Kayla Pedersen F 6-4 Fr.

21 Rosalyn Gold-Onwude G 5-10 So.

TAMPA

Tennessee will jog into the St. Pete Times Forum for tonight's final as the older, wiser team. These Vols (35-2) are the defending national champions and have seven titles overall and five finals appearances this decade. They start four battle-tested seniors and three-time All-America junior forward Candace Parker, who will play her final college game before chasing a pro career. ¶ Stanford is still young: The Cardinal (35-3) has two finals appearances but has not been in the title game since 1992. ¶ The team starts just one senior — who happens to be Wade Trophy winner Candice Wiggins — along with three sophomores and one freshman. To Stanford's credit, the team has already defeated a pair of No. 1 seeds and boasts the nation's longest winning streak at 23 games, including a win over the Vols. The teams met Dec. 22 at Stanford, where the Cardinal landed an overtime upset of then-No. 1 Tennessee, 73-69.

NCAA women's final: Tennessee vs. Stanford matchup 04/07/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 8, 2008 8:48pm]
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