Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said Wednesday afternoon that she has no doubt All-America forward/center Candace Parker will be ready for Sunday's national semifinal against LSU in the St. Pete Times Forum.
Parker dislocated her shoulder as she completed a steal on Texas A&M guard Takia Starks with 3:50 left in the first half of Tuesday night's region final, returned and injured the shoulder again. She left late in the half and returned midway through the second half. Parker scored 26, but only eight in the second half.
Summitt said Parker is sore but "seems to be feeling a lot better today overall.
"Candace amazed me with the fact that she came back and managed to do what she did in that game,'' Summitt said.
RARE CELEBRATION: When Connecticut beat Rutgers on Tuesday to win the Greensboro Region and reach its first Final Four since 2004, coach Geno Auriemma did something unusual. He let his team cut down the nets.
"I had thought about it the day of the game, that if we were to win how we would react to that," he said. "And I knew full well we did not do that in the past. A lot of that had to do with players returning, or previous national championships that players had played in. But I thought for this particular group at this particular time, and how much of a struggle it's been for this group to get there … I wanted them to experience (the) win for as long as possible."
Well, at least until Wednesday.
"Starting today, it's all over with," Auriemma said.
BACK AGAIN: Stanford went to six Final Fours from 1990-97, winning national titles in 1990 and 1992. But it has been 11 years since Stanford, or any school west of Austin, Texas, made a Final Four.
"It's thrilling, and we're ecstatic," coach Tara Van DerVeer said Wednesday. "It won't be 11 years for me (before another one) because I don't think I'll be coaching in 11 years."
Stanford and Tennessee met in November in the U.S. Virgin Islands, with the Vols prevailing 66-54. Van Derveer watched the game after Tuesday's win and said neither team looked like the squads that will meet Sunday.
"I didn't recognize the team I was watching," she said. "We didn't look anything like what we look like now. It's like a caterpillar and a butterfly."
Times staff writers Greg Auman and Keith Niebuhr contributed to this report.