The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 27, 1998 · Page 26
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March 27, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 26

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Friday, March 27, 1998
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1 4C THE PALM BEACH POST FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 1998 c - Gophers top Yow reflects on long career at N.C. State nr Penn State for NIT title f If At NCAA Women's notebook award Thursday. It was the first time Sales has spoken publicly since scoring a controversial basket in the last game of the season against Villanova. Sales tore her Achilles' tendon in the previous game, just two points shy of breaking the Huskies' all-time scoring record. "I didn't realize it was going to be that big of a deal," Sales said. "It was all over the country. But it was something for our university, not for all those people. Now, people say to me, 'Aren't you the person who made that basket?'" Page's regrets: Florida centerforward Mur-riel Page may be an All-America, but what she'll remember most is what she didn't achieve. The intensity that led the Gators to a second-place finish in the SEC deserted them, and they lost to Duke in the West Regional semifinals. "We got close and relaxed," Page said. "We left something in Gainesville. I'll aways think about how I was almost there two years in a row. I'll always regret not getting there." By Cheryl Rosenberg Palm Beach Post Staff Writer KANSAS CITY, Mo. Usually, the tears are reserved for after the games are played. But N.C. State coach Kay Yow's eyes welled up during the first news conference of this weekend's women s hinal Four at Kemper Arena on Thursday. She was listening to center Chasity Melvin describe what Yow has meant to her, and how much Yow helped Melvin become an All-America. "All my coaches in the past have tried every year to' tell me I could be that great player, Melvui said. Yow is the sentimental favorite of the tournament. She is in her first Final Four in 23 years at N.C. State "If I hadn't gotten to a Final Four ever, I will have had a very full career for me, because it's watching Chasity Melvin mature, other people develop Yow said. "It's seeing them get direction and making a contribution to society and in life that enriches me. Sales speaks out: The basket heard around 'the country was the subject of many questions directed at Connecticut senior Nykesha Sales, who was in Kansas City to receive a Kodak All-America THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Summitt's accomplishments legendary ... i- j: i u- 1 i fv, u , .,,!, : in loan her 11th Hnw touph is she? In 1990. pionships and is making The Associated Press NEW YORK Kevin Clark scored a career-high 28 points to lead Minnesota to a 79-72 victory against Penn State on Thursday night for its second NIT title this Sam Jacobson had 23 points and Quincy Lewis 19 for the Gor phers (20-15), a Final Four team last year. Clark, a junior, who had 58 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in two games at Madison Square Garden, won the tournament's MVP. ! The Golden Gophers, who lost seven players from the Final Four team, dropped their first six league games. But Clem Haskins' squad regrouped to win 11 of its last 14, giving the Big Ten its second straight NIT champion and third in six years. The Gophers won the tourney in 1993 and Michigan captured the crown last season. ! Playing in its first men s bas--ketball championship game, Penn State (19-13) was hoping to shed its image as a football-only school, but the Nittany Lions couldn't rally after falling behind by 10 points in the second half. ' MINNESOTA (J0-15) - Jacobson 7-1? 4-7 23, Lewi 7-16 3-3 19, Sander, 0-1 M 0, CUrk 9-13 - It, Hsrrli 1-8 5-1 7, Trver 0-3 0-0 0, Nathaniel 0-0 0-0 0, BroMH 1-3 0-0 1, Ja.Stanford 0-1 0-0 0, Schoenrock 0-0 04 0, Je.Stanford 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-57 22-27 79. , PENN STATE (19-13) - Ivory 2-5 0-0 1, Jackson I. 5 2-5 4, Booth 7-11 0-0 14, Crispin 4-12 0-0 10, Llslcky 3-12 2-5 II, Cline Heard 5-8 4-8 14, Wllkowsky 0-0 0-0 0 Grays 3-5 0-0 8, Stevenson 0-2 2-2 2, Branam l-l frO 3. Totals 26-41 10-20 72. Halt lime-Minnesota 35, Penn St. 30. Three-point goals-Minnesota 7-14 (Jacobson 3-4, Clark 2-3, Lewis 2-4, Ja.Stanford 0-1, Harris 0-2), Penn St. 10; 25 (LisicKy 3-8, Ivory 2-4, Grays 2-4, Crispin 2-7, Branam l-l, Stevenson 0-1). Fouled out-Lewis, Ivy-ry Crispin, Cllne-Heard. Rebounds-Minnesota 37 (Tarver 8), Penn St. 38 (Booth 8). j FSU's Jackson leaving early: Against the advice of a longtime NBA talent scout, Florida State's Randell Jackson plans to enter the NBA draft a year early. The 6-foot-ll Jackson, Florida State's leading scorer last season with a 12.7 average, filed a formal letter with the NBA Wednesday. Michigan's Traylor enters draft: Michigan center Robert Traylor plans to forgo his senior season to enter the NBA draft, 77ie Ann Arbor News reported. Traylor, 6-foot-8 and 300 pound center who averaged 16.2 points and 10.1 rebounds this season, scheduled a news conference today at in Detroit. Gators release reserve guard: Jamaal Horton, a reserve guard who missed the final month of the season because of family problems and illness, has been released from Florida's team. ! Tennessee junior forward Chamique Holdsclaw (23), who averaged 23.4 points per game in leading the Vols to a 37-0 record this season, was named the Associated Press player of the year on Thursday. Tonight's games Arkansas vs. Tennessee TIME: 9 p.m. TV: ESPN RECORDS: Arkansas, 22-10; Tennessee, 37-0 ARKANSAS COACH: Gary Blair (13th year, 309-97) TENNESSEE COACH: Pat Summitt (24th year, 662-143) ARKANSAS TOP PLAYERS: Point guard Christy Smith, Forward Karyn Karlin, Guard Sytia Messer. TENNESSEE TOP PLAYERS: Forward Tamika Catchings, Forward Chamique Holdsclaw, Guard Semeka Randall. KEYS: The Ladybacks have the unenviable task of having to go through Tennessee to get to the National Championship game. Sytia Messer will have to deny Vols star Chamique Holdsclaw the ball. Last time they played, Tennessee won 88-58 Jan. 1 in Knoxville, but Christy Smith was playing in just her third game after knee surgery and is a different player. The Vols got a wakeup call in the Regional Championships, having to come from behind to defeat North Carolina 76-70. Arkansas might be the recipient of that lesson. Louisiana Tech vs. N.C. State TIME: 7 p.m. TV: ESPN RECORDS: Louisiana Tech, 30-3; North Carolina State, 25-6 LA. TECH COACH: Leon Barmore (16th year, 458-70) N.C. STATE COACH: Kay Yow (23rd year, 485-20 1 ) LA TECH TOP PLAYERS: Forward Monica Maxwell, Center Alisa Burris, Forward Amanda Wilson. NC STATE TOP PLAYERS: ForwardCenter Chasity Melvin, Guard Tynesha Lewis, Center Summer Erb. KEYS: La. Tech will have to find a way to stop 6-6 Summer Erb and Chasity Melvin, and Tynesha Lewis is strong both inside and outside. N.C. State will try to limit Tech's transition game, and because all five Techster starters score in double figures, it's tough to concentrate on a single player. Cheryl Rosenberg Summitt went on a recruiting trip to Pennsylvania. She was in the living room of Michelle Marciniak, who would later become the team's point guard, when she went into labor a couple of weeks early. She and assistant coach Mickie DeMoss jumped on a plane, but Summitt's labor was progressing quickly and the pilot offered to land in Virginia. Fat chance. The Cavaliers had beaten Tennessee in overtime in an East Regional that March, and there was no way the first child of R.B. and Pat Summitt was going to be born in that state. Summitt made it to Tennessee, where Tyler was born. If Tyler's head had been turned differently, he would have entered the world at 20,000 feet. Tyler is now a well-traveled 7-year-old, and has even cut down a net after the team won the championship last season. Thursday morning, he was drawing pictures of his mom yelling at refs. At least she wasn't yelling at the players. "I want them to understand my personality and intensity," Summitt said. "And you just hope they are mature enough to be able to get the message and not be upset because of the tone or inte-sity at which it's delivered. And I think once we understand each other, then hopefully I've matured as a coach just like they have as a player." SUMMITT From 1C has meant more to women's college basketball. Of course, Sum-riiitt never thought much about 'coaching, and figured she'd still be 'playing back in 1972, when she ;jvas 22. - She had spent her senior season at UT-Martin rehabilitating a knee injury. She knew she Wouldn't play college ball again, but I wanted to get better so she could 'play in the Pan Am Games and the Olympics. "It was the first time I've been without the game since I started playing in the third grade," Sum-mitt said. "And I panicked." So she took the coaching job at Tennessee when it was offered. She was a grad student then and made $250 a month. She sold doughnuts to help pay for uniforms and shared a $5,000 budget among the six women's sports. The first thing she told her players was to call her Pat. She still tells her players the same thing, 26 years later. "I liked it because off the court I felt like I could approach them and talk to them," Summitt said. "Then I could be more than just a coach. And I think players need more than that." But is it really possible to feel -ozy with a legend? Because that .certainly what Summitt has become. The numbers are mind-boggling: Her career record in 662-143, including the post-season. She's won five national cham trip to the rinal four, wnere i en-nessee is the favorite to win its third consecutive national championship. "Pat Summitt is, without question, the very, very best basketball coach in the women's game," Louisiana Tech coach Leon Barmore said. "I have a feeling, when I play Tennessee and Pat Summitt, that I've got to be at my best, that our team has to be at our best. "When you do that, and you beat her, then you have one of those moments that you will cherish for a long time." Last season was perhaps the most difficult for Summitt. The Lady Vols lost 10 games during the regular season, but it wasn't the losses that were the toughest thing to handle. It was the personality of this particular squad. They were laid-back, almost casual, nothing to which Summitt could relate. Then a funny thing happened on the way to the Final Four: The team found the Summitt way, and went on to win the national championship. This season, Summitt seems happier and more relaxed. Watching her team is like looking in a mirror. "This team is a very highly motivated team, full of competitors," Summitt said. "They're much more vocal than last year's team. 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