The best group of seniors in Georgia history had an inglorious end to their careers.
Playing at Missoula, Mont., thousands of miles from home, they were crushed by Stanford in the West Regional final.
The Bulldogs, who believed that anything less than winning the school's first national title would be a failure, knew their season was over when Stanford outscored them 27-4 over the final 12:33 of the first half late Monday.
The Cardinal went on to an 82-47 win that sent it to the Final Four and Georgia home.
"Sometimes you try to force things that aren't there," said Kedra Holland-Corn, a key senior class member. "It's sad that it went the way it did, but we've just got to move on, I guess."
Holland-Corn, Tracy Henderson, La'Keshia Frett, Tiffany Walker and Rachel Powell emerged as starters in 1993, and key reserve Brandi Decker rounded out the group that reached the Final Four the past two seasons and compiled a four-year record of 98-27.
But in the end, none of the seniors distinguished themselves in their final college game. Holland-Corn was the top scorer with 13 points, but she missed 10 of 14 shots. Frett managed only eight points, as did Decker; Henderson had seven and Powell four. Walker did not score.
A JOLLY GOOD TIME: The most touching post-game moment of Tennessee's Midwest Regional final defeat of Connecticut did not involve a scissors and ladder.
While the Volunteers cut down the nets at Iowa City on Monday, point guard Kellie Jolly hugged trainer Jenny Moshak and said, "Thank you. Thank you."
Jolly wasn't supposed to play in the game. Three months ago, she tore an anterior cruciate knee ligament. She played and scored 19 points, making a crucial contribution to the win over the nation's No. 1-ranked team.
"Kellie Jolly made huge shot after huge shot," Huskies coach Geno Auriemma said. '"That's what they needed to do. That's the reason they're going to the Final Four and we're not."
FAME: Notre Dame, in the Final Four for the first time, is getting the star treatment South Bend usually reserves for the football team. A crowd of cheering fans waited for the Irish at the airport when they returned from Columbia, S.C., and television crews lined up for interviews. While this kind of support would have been nice all season, guard Sheila McMillen said, they're just happy to have it now.
_ TIMES WIRES