After Florida's second-round NCAA victory over Southern Cal on Monday night, quiet junior guard Dana Smith found herself the center of attention on campus Tuesday. People she never had met were coming up to congratulate her.
"People actually knew me," Smith said. "It's good for a day. I don't know if it's something I want to get used to."
But Smith is getting used to her new role as a major scoring threat. The former Kissimmee St. Cloud star averaged 7.7 points during the regular season _ lowest among the five starters _ but scored a game-high 21 points in the first round against Florida International, tying her career best.
Then she added 16 points, including five three-pointers, againstUSC. She also had 13 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals in the Gators' upset of Alabama in the SEC semifinals.
Smith also set a UF single-season record for minutes played.
"I'm feeling very confident," Smith said. "I've never been this confident before, so I'm kind of nervous about it."
TEAM PLAYER: Gators 6-foot-2 junior forward/center Murriel Page is not used to being in the forefront, but that is where she found herself Monday, when she scored 35 points and grabbed 16 rebounds against USC.
Page, the SEC's leading rebounder, usually is happiest just getting her teammates fired up.
"Right now her motivation is to keep (senior All-American) DeLisha Milton playing," Florida coach Carol Ross said. "If she ever thought she was playing for herself,she'd probably go 0 for 100 and get no rebounds."
Georgia sophomore Signe Antvorskov is from Denmark, but the trip to Missoula, Mont., is a homecoming of sorts. She was an exchange student at Missoula Sentinel High School during the 1993-94 season and helped Sentinel (21-0) win the Class AA state title.
Defending national champion Tennessee (25-10) plays Colorado (23-8) in a matchup of teams toughened by formidable schedules.
All of Tennessee's losses were to teams that were in the Top 25 at some point, including No. 1 Connecticut, No. 2 Old Dominion and No. 3 Stanford. Seven of Colorado's losses were to teams that made the NCAA Tournament.
_ SHARON GINN, TIMES WIRES