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ESPN.com

NEW ORLEANS -- What will decide Tuesday's national championship between Connecticut and Tennessee? ESPN.com asked the experts to share their opinion:

Nancy Lieberman, ESPN analyst

No one will have a bigger impact on this game than Diana Taurasi. She rises to the occasion in big games, and always seems to come through against Tennessee, a team she has never scored fewer than 12 points against. Even if everyone else plays well, from UConn's Ann Strother to Tennessee's Shanna Zolman, nobody can do the things Taurasi does. It's like having Michael Jordan on your team. Taurasi is a difference-maker, a winner, and if the game is on the line down the stretch, she can single-handedly win it for you. Not many people have that ability, and I'd categorize her with Jordan, Cynthia Cooper, Wayne Gretzky and Martina Navratilova.

To try to counter, Tennessee must bring its A-game. The Lady Vols have been too inconsistent lately. They must push tempo, be aggressive on the boards and hit outside shots. Tennessee must take advantage of its size inside.

Mechelle Voepel, ESPN.com columnist

Mechelle VoepelThe post game will be an X-factor; Ashley Robinson and Shyra Ely have to show up or Tennessee can't win -- and they know that. Tennessee senior LaToya Davis can also be a difference-maker if she's able to use her quickness to limit UConn's second chances. She's not super big, but she's quick and a good jumper who can get a hand on the ball, deflect it or slap it away so that her teammates might be able to track down the rebound. Davis gets in there and mixes it up more than people realize, and sometimes those plays can change a game.

Stacey Dales-Schuman, ESPN analyst

Defense. Tennessee did an excellent defensive job on LSU's Seimone Augustus, who shot 7-for-21 Sunday after shooting 66 percent from the field the rest of the tournament. Augustus is at her best coming off screens, just like UConn's Diana Taurasi, but Tennessee switched players on her very effectively, crowded her, and basically had someone glued on Augustus the whole game.

Stacey Dales-SchumanExpect more of the same against Taurasi, but keep in mind the Lady Vols haven't had an answer for in the past. Tennessee will continue to vary its defensive looks -- the Lady Vols used different zone sets, traditional man and even a box-and-one Sunday -- and hopes it can be as disruptive as it was in the semifinals, when a second-half zone really prevented LSU from finding its offensive rhythm.

Though Tennessee emphasizes rebounding, UConn dominated the glass better than anybody else in the semis, outrebounding Minnesota 36-25 and limiting the tournament's best rebounder to 10 boards below her average. UConn's defense will look to prevent the Lady Vols from penetrating inside.

Ann Meyers, ESPN analyst

Ann MeyersTennessee has to have something on the inside. Shyra Ely and Ashley Robinson need to score. On Sunday, nobody helped out Tasha Butts, who posted a double-double despite not playing her best game. Still, she had to work overtime just to carry the team until the end. LaToya Davis is also playing well and must continue to be a factor.

Connecticut, which is playing great defense and has been able to take its opponents out of rhythm, has the edge mentally. The Huskies are the two-time defending champ and already have beaten Tennessee once this year.



EAST
1 Penn State
2 Connecticut
3 Houston
4 North Carolina
5 Notre Dame
6 Colorado
7 Auburn
8 Virginia Tech
9 Iowa
10 North Carolina State
11 UC Santa Barbara
12 Southwest Missouri State
13 Middle Tennessee
14 UW-Green Bay
15 Penn
16 Hampton
MIDEAST
1 Duke
2 Kansas State
3 Boston College
4 Texas Tech
5 Louisiana Tech
6 Ohio State
7 Minnesota
8 Old Dominion
9 Marquette
10 UCLA
11 West Virginia
12 Montana
13 Maine
14 Eastern Michigan
15 Valparaiso
16 Northwestern State
WEST
1 Texas
2 Purdue
3 Georgia
4 LSU
5 Miami
6 TCU
7 Villanova
8 Michigan State
9 Arizona
10 Mississippi
11 Temple
12 Maryland
13 Austin Peay
14 Liberty
15 St. Francis (Pa.)
16 Southern
MIDWEST
1 Tennessee
2 Vanderbilt
3 Oklahoma
4 Baylor
5 Florida
6 Stanford
7 Rutgers
8 George Washington
9 DePaul
10 Chattanooga
11 Missouri
12 New Mexico
13 Loyola Marymount
14 Marist
15 Lipscomb
16 Colgate