With Final Four finally set, this way to Tampa Bay
Daniel Plassmann-US PRESSWIRE
Nothing left but to sit back, soak up the fun, and en joy
By Mechelle Voepel
Huskies learn to win by any means necessary
By Graham Hays
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- For much of the night, in a game against an old rival it knew all too well, Connecticut looked like a team that didn't know where it was going. Then it felt something as comfortably familiar as it was foreign to past Connecticut teams.Geno Auriemma's team felt the wall at its back and knew it had been here before.
AP Photo/Sara D. Davis
Maya Moore faced tough pressure all night but came up with a game-changing 3 when UConn needed it most.
Sheer gritty toughness leads Tennessee to Tampa
By Mechelle Voepel
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
Candace Parker's teammates, including Alberta Auguste, kept the Lady Vols in the game when she missed more than 10 minutes with her shoulder injury.
UConn-Rutgers coaching matchup the game within the game
"Player" of the nightRobin Roberts limped toward the podium, clutching her back with one hand. "Anyone seen Jenny Moshak?" Roberts asked the crowd of reporters gathered for an ESPN news conference at 8 a.m. on the day before the national semifinals several years ago. Roberts, who was then the studio host for ESPN's coverage of the women's NCAA tournament and has since become a host of ABC's "Good Morning America," was joking, of course. But who could blame her? If only all of us could be so lucky to have someone like Moshak, Tennessee's assistant athletics director for sports medicine, attending to our aches and pains. If anyone's not familiar with Moshak, she's the one with the long ponytail, glasses and fat-free biceps who attended to Tennessee superstar Candace Parker on Tuesday when the junior suffered a dislocated left shoulder with 3:50 to play in the first half. And yes, though it took the Lady Vols' training staff longer than Pat Summitt would have liked to find the brace needed to help stabilize Parker's shoulder (really? Rummaging through dirty laundry!), Moshak's also the one who helped get Parker back on the court to pull out a win that clinched Tennessee a spot in its 18th Final Four. Moshak has famously gotten several big-time Tennessee players -- such as Kellie Jolly and Tamika Catchings -- back on the court faster than expected, nursing them around the clock. And there's no doubt where Moshak will be these next five days leading up to Tennessee's Final Four date with LSU -- right by Parker's side, doing whatever it takes to get her as healthy as possible. -- Melanie Jackson
Parker perseveres through injury
They'll meet againWe've seen both the Final Four matchups this season. Back on Nov. 22, Connecticut beat Stanford 66-54 at the Paradise Jam Tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In that game, the Huskies started two players they no longer have. Kalana Greene and Mel Thomas both suffered torn ACLs later in the season. SEC rivals Tennessee and LSU have already met twice this season. LSU easily won in Knoxville, Tenn., 78-62 on Feb. 14, but the Lady Vols returned the favor with a 61-55 win in the SEC tournament title game in March. Looking forward to possible title-game matchups, UConn won at LSU 74-69 on Feb. 25. Stanford handed No. 1 Tennessee its first loss of the season, a 73-69 overtime thriller at Maples Pavilion on Dec. 22. The Cardinal's win snapped an 11-game losing streak against Tennessee. And of course, we all know Tennessee and UConn didn't play in the regular season. For the record, the Lady Vols lead LSU in the all-time series 36-11. The teams have met twice before in the NCAA tournament, both ending in two-point victories for Tennessee. The Lady Vols won 67-65 in the 1986 Elite Eight and won 52-50 in the 2004 Final Four in New Orleans. After a late steal in that game, Tennessee won it on a LaToya Davis shot with 1.8 seconds left. The Cardinal lead their all-time series with Connecticut 4-2. Like Tennessee and LSU, these two teams have met twice in the NCAA tournament. UConn defeated Stanford in the 1995 Final Four en route to a perfect 35-0 season, while the Cardinal beat the Huskies in the 2005 Sweet 16. -- ESPN researcher Brett Edgerton
Geno: Huskies 'destined and due'
Research nuggets• Alexis Hornbuckle's free throw with 29.6 seconds remaining gave Tennessee its 50th point and ensured the continuation of a 26-year-old streak. The Lady Vols have not been held to fewer than 50 points since losing to Louisiana Tech 69-46 on March 26 in the semifinals of the 1982 Final Four. That's 908 consecutive games. • Big East Player of the Year Maya Moore attempted just seven shots Tuesday for Connecticut, making three. The seven points tied a career low for the freshman, who had scored in single digits only one other time in her young career. The Huskies won both games. • C. Vivian Stringer ranks second all-time in most NCAA tournament wins without a national title. Georgia coach Andy Landers leads the way with 48 (with two losses in the national title game). Rutgers' Stringer ranks second at 39 victories (also losing twice in the championship game). Texas coach Gail Goestenkors is third (37), followed by Virginia's Debbie Ryan (32). • Three of the top four coaches in all-time NCAA tournament victories led their teams to Tampa. Pat Summitt (102 wins), Geno Auriemma (65) and Tara VanDerveer (49) also represent the three leaders in that category among active coaches (Leon Barmore won 56 tourney games at Louisiana Tech). Summitt, Auriemma and VanDerveer also coached in the very first NCAA tournament back in 1982. • Having two No. 2 seeds in the Final Four is rare. Before this year, it hadn't happened since Rutgers and Penn State went in 2000.
-- ESPN researcher Brett Edgerton
Tennessee's postgame news conference
Tuesday's Elite Eight scores• OKLAHOMA CITY
Tennessee 53, Texas A&M 45 • GREENSBORO
Connecticut 66, Rutgers 56
Postgame comments from Summitt, Parker
Final Four schedule(all times Eastern)
• SUNDAY, APRIL 6
Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.
Stanford vs. Connecticut (ESPN, 7 p.m.)
LSU vs. Tennessee (ESPN, 9:30 p.m.)
• TUESDAY, APRIL 8
Sunday's winners (ESPN, 8:30 p.m.)
UConn rallies past Rutgers
Tournament Challenge updateTurns out, picking the chalk to hold wasn't as popular a pick as you might think. Just 23 percent of the Women's Tournament Challenge brackets submitted predicted all four No. 1 seeds to reach Tampa. But 35 percent picked a Connecticut-Tennessee final. The brackets were split, though, on whether the Huskies or Lady Vols would walk away with the title. Overall, 31.19 percent tabbed Tennessee to win it all in 2008, while 31.65 percent of the brackets picked UConn as this year's champs.