GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Lots of teams talk about not wanting to beat themselves, but Rutgers put a new spin on the old adage in proving it had learned how not to lose to itself.
Paint battle one X factor in New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS -- North Carolina thinks the experience it has had playing the big women of the ACC this year and in the recent past will help as the Tar Heels face LSU's 6-foot-6 center Sylvia Fowles in the regional final.
UNC's starting front line of Erlana Larkins (6-1) and LaToya Pringle (6-3) cited former Duke player Alison Bales (6-7), former NC State player Gillian Goring (6-7) and current Blue Devil Chante Black (6-5) as players who presented challenges similar to Fowles.
What Fowles has, though, is a combination of the best of everything in a low-block threat.
"She's an incredible player," UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "Not only with her size, but she's so athletic. Her feet are good, her hands are good; she's so mobile in there."
Among Fowles, Pringle and Larkins in the regional semifinals, Pringle had the best game with 27 points and 11 rebounds. If Larkins and Fowles get in kind of a wrestling match in the paint, Pringle will try to take advantage of mismatches she will have against other LSU players.
And let's not forget that Rashanda McCants is 6-1 and can be a very hard matchup for most teams -- especially if she gets off to a good start shooting -- and that 6-3 Jessica Breland is the kind of sub a lot of teams would like to have as a starter.
If this game become a high-scoring battle, the edge goes to North Carolina. But if Fowles establishes herself in the paint and manages to get Larkins or Pringle in foul trouble, then LSU's perimeter players could step forward and close the deal. -- Mechelle Voepel
Texas A&M tops Duke to reach first Elite Eight
A little research goes a long way
• All four No. 1 seeds on the men's side reached the Final Four for the first time. That has happened once in the women's tournament, in 1989, when Auburn, Louisiana Tech, Tennessee and Maryland all advanced (interestingly, that's the only other time the Terps were a top seed). At least three No. 1 seeds have advanced on six occasions, the most recent in 2006.
• Just how often have the No. 1 and 2 seeds met in every region in the Elite Eight? Not as often as you'd think. Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1994, it has occurred only one other time: 2003. In fact, dating back to the very first tourney in 1982 -- even including the years when there were just 32 teams and top seeds got byes -- the 1-2 matchups happened only twice (1988 and 2003).
• The North Carolina men's win and subsequent spot in the Final Four might be bad news for the Tar Heel women -- at least if one trend continues. This marks the 11th time a school has had both programs awarded No. 1 seeds in the same season. Amazingly, each of the previous 10 times, only one of the two has reached the Final Four -- but never
• The Connecticut-Rutgers game will be the fifth regional final in the past seven years between two teams from the same conference. The SEC has been involved in three of the five. In 2007, Tennessee topped Ole Miss. In 2004, LSU beat Georgia. And in 2002, the Lady Vols ousted Vanderbilt and Oklahoma knocked out Colorado.
• LSU-North Carolina is largely regarded as the best game in the Elite Eight. But despite all the tradition between the programs, LSU and UNC have met only one other time. On Nov. 29, 1986, in Baton Rouge, the Lady Tigers beat the Heels 79-63. It was Sylvia Hatchell's second game as UNC's coach. Stanford-Maryland and Tennessee-Texas A&M will also be meeting for just the second time ever.
• Stanford is riding the nation's longest win streak at 21 games. North Carolina has won 16 straight, followed by UConn's 14-game streak, 12 in a row by Texas A&M and 11 consecutive wins by Tennessee.
• Tennessee's win gives the SEC multiple teams in the Elite Eight for the 25th time. The conference has had at least one team make the regional finals in all 27 women's NCAA tournaments. The only years the league didn't have multiple representatives were 1994 and 2001.
• Just how eerily similar have the men's and women's tournaments been? In the men's Sweet 16, the first game was decided by four points (Xavier over West Virginia, 79-75). The next seven games were all decided by double-digits. In the women's Sweet 16, the first game was decided by four points (UNC over Louisville, 78-74) -- and the next seven games were all decided by double digits. Even the two close games had almost the exact same scores. So if the mirror-image trend continues, three of the women's Elite Eight matchups will be decided by double digits, and one of them will be a two-point game. And, of course, all four 1-seeds will march on.
-- ESPN researcher Brett Edgerton
Parker nets 34 to lead Lady Vols past Irish
Sunday's Sweet 16 scores
Connecticut 78, Old Dominion 63
Rutgers 53, George Washington 42
• OKLAHOMA CITY
Texas A&M 77, Duke 63
Tennessee 74, Notre Dame 64
UConn eliminated Old Dominion
On Tap For Monday
(all times Eastern)
• NEW ORLEANS
No. 2 LSU vs. No. 1 North Carolina
(ESPN, 7:30 p.m.)
No. 2 Stanford vs. No. 1 Maryland
(ESPN, 9:30 p.m.)
Notre Dame's silver lining?
Tennessee did the smart thing and concentrated on its interior game against Notre Dame. Candace Parker had 34 points and 13 rebounds, Nicky Anosike 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Tennessee got another Elite Eight trip out of this game, but what did Notre Dame get? More experience for post players who might be the strength of this Irish squad next year. Freshman Becca Bruszewski tied senior guard Charel Allen for a team-best 16 points. Sophomore Erica Williamson got in foul trouble and played just eight minutes, scoring two points.
But Bruszewski, Williamson and sophomore-to-be Devereaux Peters -- provided she rehabs well from her ACL injury suffered in February -- will provide the Irish a lot of muscle inside next season. -- Mechelle Voepel
Carson, Rutgers cruise past GW
On Tap For Tuesday
(all times Eastern)
• OKLAHOMA CITY
No. 2 Texas A&M vs. No. 1 Tennessee
(ESPN, 7 p.m.)
No. 2 Rutgers vs. No. 1 Connecticut
(ESPN, 9 p.m.)
Rutgers coach Stringer disappointed with effort