The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 30, 1998 · Page 106
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March 30, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 106

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Monday, March 30, 1998
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4C THE PALM BEACH POST MONDAY, MARCH 30, 1998 College basketball How the Palm Beach Post staff writer tonight's NCAA Championship totals (and subractions) in 10 scales tip Greg Stoda predicts the score for game will be based on point categories on a O-to-10 scale. Utah: A familiar scenario Utah Key 8 Andre Miller. He scores (16.8 ppg)! He rebounds (7.8 rpg)l He assists (7.1 apg)l Those are the five-game tourna The Utes have been derailed by Kentucky before, but this time it's. for the national title. Kentucky player 7 Jeff Sheppard. Every team needs a fearless shooter who has no conscience. This is the guy for the Wildcats. 7 Tubby Smith. He has succeeded in his first season as successor to Rick Pitino, and juggled minutes with a deep bench. But is he too frenetic? burners ment averages for the Utes' point guard. Signature play Miller is dangerous every- "f The Wildcats run where, but especially on " Sheppard off an assort-slashing forays to the basket. ment of staggered screens, and he has a quick trigger on the three-point shot. ..... , '-' ' CoMfciir' -"--""-? m v By Greg Stoda Palm Beach Post Staff Writer SAN ANTONIO Utah must make a U-turn on history. That's what tonight's NCAA . . Tournament title game in the Ala- , ; modome comes down to for the Utes when they take on Kentucky. . j Utah has come barging into the . championship contest from a No. , ', 3-seeded position in the West Region. The Utes emerged from that , , Rick Majerus. He is meticulous in preparation, cre 8 ative in motivation and underrated as a manager of the game. Floor Drew Hansen. He took one shot in 33 minutes during a semifinal victory over North Carolina. Why? Too busy doing grunt work. C "f Scott Padgett. He flunked " out of school as a freshman, worked his way back to 4' 'A f A' IS-,' -- Bench 4 7 4 Majerus asks his reserves to do little more than give the starters time to breathe for a few minutes at a time. That bench. mfi Louisiana Tech's Priya Gilmore (52) goes up for a rebound against Tennessee's Chamique Holds-claw (23, left) and LaShonda Stephens (34, right) during Tennessee's 93-75 victory Sunday. Holdsclaw could have left before, but she won't now bracket with a demolition of defending champion and top-seeded , j Arizona, and on Saturday night roasted this year's top-ranked, ( team with a cuffing of North Caro-. lina. , i Now, Kentucky awaits. As has typically been the case , for the Utes in recent years. In 1997, Kentucky popped s Utah 72-59 in a regional final in - z San Jose, Calif. ) In 1996, the Wildcats draped a 101-70 loss on Utah in a regional , semifinal in Minneapolis. And in 1993, Kentucky beat Utah 83-62 in a second-round game in Nashville, Tenn. It has been a coast-to-coast thing. Michael Doleac, who was then , ? a sophomore and is now Utah's ,, star center, holds particularly vivid , memories of the 1996 thumping. ' "I walked into the huddle during a timeout and said, 'OK, guys, let's get it within 30,'" Doleac , said. "I really said that. The bad thing is we never did get closer than 30." That was then. This is now. This is a very different Utah team. The Utes are big Doleac , is 6-feet-ll, 269 pounds; Hanno Mottola is 6-10, 221; and Alex . Jensen is 6-9, 210 across the -: frontline and dangerous with An- . dre Miller at the point. : "We're a better defensive team," m Miller said. "We look to Tradition pound boards and trade elbows. "Gauze, gaaze," he shouted with a bloodied mouth (and blackened eye) during the semifinal win over Stanford. Smith must get substantial production from eight play ers, and he runs substitutions almost constantly. C Point guard Wayne Turner, " who controls the ball much of the time, makes an inviting foul target in close games. He is 12-of-21 at the line through five tournament games. 1 n The Wildcats might as well schedule the Final Four as part of their season as often as they qualify (13 times) for the party. factor I A The Wildcats can score in bunches, and often do. They depend to great extent on Sheppard's three-point shooting, but also rely on defensive pressure to create quick-score turnovers. C They are vocal and loyal, but mor than a little demanding. It's not enough that the Wildcats have climbed to the championship game for a third consecutive time. Kentuckians want a sixth championship, and a trophy to match the one earned in 1996. Tradition? What tradition? Does winning the title in 1944 count? 0 Rally The Utes are very capable O in this regard despite their deliberate style. What facilitates Utah when it trails in any game is a fierce defense capable of squeezing an opponent long enough to allow the Utes to recov er on offense. Fans KANSAS CITY, Mo. Chamique Holdsclaw really had to think about it. She had just returned to the University of Tennessee this fall after playing with USA Basketball and the top professional women's players in the world. She had two NCAA national championship rings on her fingers, and may as well have had Best Ever stitched above the No. 23 (sound familiar?) ' u u , t u . :t UiLUIC Udlft Ul UIIJ1UJ1U. ' Her junior year of college was ahead of her, but after that, Holdsclaw wasn't sure. She'd accomplished everything she could. She proved she could dominate the colleee crame and be a standout at the next level. Miat if, Holdsclaw pondered, my junior year was my last? What if I became the first woman to leave school early for the pro leagues? If anyone could make that kind of jump, Holdsclaw could. Her game is that good. She can dribble, she can drive, she can pull up and knock them down. She has the kind of on-court charisma that inspires her teammates and anyone who is lucky enough to be watching. Holdsclaw is fire tempered by grace. No one has ever done it better. ; She honed her game on the courts of the Astoria Projects in Queens. The court she played on was the site of different city tournaments which drew a lot of people all curious about the lone The Utes are beauts. The A red horde has enjoyed the tournament ride, and the folks have gone apoplectic with back-to-back victories over high-profile Arizona and North Carolina programs. Let's just say they're eager for the final course. The Utes were the third-seeded team in the West Region, and have produced a rollicking and entertaining show to reach the championship game. They were easy to ignore out of the Western Athletic Conference, Q WrKeiVshot ' - - Q The Wildcats were the sec- ond-seeded team in the A THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Holdsclaw actually improved with their presence. The Best got better. "This year's team has helped my game and taken it to another level," said Holdsclaw, who won this year's Naismith award as the best women's college player in the country. "If I played on a team like last year's, I'd probably be gone." Gone? Holdsclaw was ready to take her game to either the WNBA or ABL, to the world of designer sneakers and shampoo and whatever else will make her some money a sure attraction for someone who didn't grow up with much and a nice thank-you to June, the grandmother who raised her. She's got the right game, she's from the right city, and, when the braces come off her teeth, she'll have the right smile to complete the package that is sure to make her a huge star. But there is the small matter of her degree, which is more important to June than any paycheck. Fear of a career-ending injury before graduation is lightened by an insurance policy that would pay her if that happened. Holdsclaw said Saturday she planned on being back in her orange and white uniform next season, playing for Summitt and watching the other two Meeks grow. She still has room for another ring. And maybe getting Even Better. best ever? joined her as the fans chanted, "Three-peat. Three-peat." It was perfection. What's next? "You know what?" Holdsclaw said. "Next year's team will be the best ever." ra or i-s 5-10 0-1 0-4 0-0 0-0 LA TECH .!! Wilton Burrat Staliwortn Jackton Cochran A P 17 II 34 30 17 7-12 I-t Ma - II- 25 0 l-i M I 1 15 0- 0 1- 5 2- 2 4 4 3 I 0 2 t 20 0 0 2 1 0 2 I ScHappmann IS Gilmora I Bowman 7 7-3 2 Totals 200 32 71 5-M 10-20 17 W 75 Parcatitafat: FG 430. FT 500 TKraa-aont taah): t- II. 333 I Jackson 13. Mindl 13. Scnappmann I-2. Staliwortn 0-)) Taam rabaawdt: 5. Blockad snots: 7 (Borras 2. Bowman 2. MaiwaM. Jackson, Gir-mort Tarnavars: 70 (Staliworth S. Jackson 4, Mai-wall 3, Mson 3. Birras 2, Schappmann 2. Bowman) Staatt: It (Wilson 3. Marwall 2. Borras L Staliworth 2, Jackson 2. Tachntcai fas: Nona. S3 O T 4-10 TtMN Holdsclaw Catchings Staphant Joii ana Butts S'rr M'llgan Graana Laiton Clamant Gtar 3 11-25 3-4 34 II I 07 34 7 II n il J-7 17 0- 4 7-0 1- l 32 2-4 0-1 I I 15 14 Ol 01 3-4 1-2 2-7 Totals 200 35-ao rS-75 IW1 15 13 13 "arcantaais: FG 507 FT 70 Thraa aalM aaals: 4-0. 444 (jatip 4-5. Catchings 0-4) Taam raaaanOs: 0 BWCkaO ShaH- 5 IGasar 4. Jolty) Tarawrars.- Hj ICatchinos 4. KantfaN 4. Clamant I. Hatosrlaw 2. jomv 7. S'apftant. Eiry. canton. Gatari otaats: II ICatchinos 4 joHy I ffandali 1 Moidsctaw, a'ar Tachmcal fattts: taona Lawtsiana Tac 41-73 Ta 30- It ts CrH,as-SniT . wastar Daan BoO Trammatt, POST . j i -fy but have been impressive throughout the tournament. 51 Final score 65 1 Sorry, but that's no good. The tournament has been tilled with tremendous games that have been in doubt to the very end. The feeling is that this one will be, too. Writer's shot II: Utah gets a 10-point bonus. Final: Kentucky 65, Utah 51. Cheryl Rosenberg girl running with the boys. At Christ the King High, she ran right past and through most of the competition, leading her team to four state championships. Then she went to Tennessee. Not much changed once she got to Knoxville. She was the first rookie ever to start the first game of the season for coach Pat Sum-mitt, who was beginning her 24th year. The season ended with the Vols winning the national championship and Holdsclaw an All-America. Last season was much, much different. Holdsclaw had to take on much of the offensive burden for the team. It was a laid-back team, and though that may be Holds-claw's personality off the court, when she was in the game, it was like trying to run through water. The current turned this season with the arrival of freshmen Se-meka Randall and Tamika Catch-ings. Together with Holdsclaw, they soon became known as the Meeks. Randall and Catchings didn't realize it, the rest of the country probably couldn't believe it, but 7 wasn 't in shock as much as my team, " Barmore said. "Tliey were so in shock is was hard for them to get over it. ' LEON BARMORE Louisiana Tech coach Louisiana Tech kept pushing. With 8:08 remaining, Tamicha Jackson's three made it 79-62, the closest margin since it was 30-13 with 11:28 left in the first half. Alisa Burris then missed two free throws for La Tech, but Jackson's pull up jumper during a fast break cut the lead to 15. But the Vols scored the next six points, and the Techsters never got closer. Jolly, who scored a career-high 20 points, exited the court with 2:10 left, her arms outstretched with a finger on each hand pointed to the sky. One finger quickly became three. She danced, she bounced from foot to foot, she cheered on her teammates still left on the floor. With 39 seconds left, the starters '97-98 Lady Vols the go out and keep teams under 60 points." The Utes have done just that 23 times, and won 22 of those games. Arizona, for example, was a 76- J, 51 loser to Utah. North Carolina j went down 65-59. What's worth noting, however, is that Kentucky, which emeged from the South Region as the second-seeded team by beating top-seeded Duke, has not been held to anything below 63 points all season. And the Wildcats managed to beat both Vanderbilt and LSU with that total. Not that the Wildcats don't, play some pretty good defense, too. They're 11-0 when limiting opponents to fewer than 60 points. "We believe we can create some offensive opportunities," said Kentucky coach Tubby Smith of his team's ability to pressure the entire court. "They have to learn multiple positions." That's because Smith runs a shuttle system off the bench, and substitutions create many different lineup combinations. Eight players drew at least 14 minutes of playing time during Kentucky's semifinal victory against Stanford. The Wildcats' offense depends, in considerable measure, to three-point shooting. The problem Utah presents in that circum- . stance North Carolina was 3-of-23, for example, is that the Utes are aggressive with their size in contesting perimeter shots. "We're confident," Doleac said. "We know we can get some things done. We can't stop ever-ythig they'll do, but we'll stop . enough." Utah isn't a secret anymore. The Utes are 30-4 with consecutive high-profile victories, and . now draw an opponent making its ' third title-game appearance in three seasons. But can they make a U-turn on history by making a U-turn on Kentucky? Updates and scores Cal 511 and enter the codes below for frequent up dates and final results for the college basketball tournaments. 50 for up to 5 min. See 2A for more details. FINAL FOUR 303S Men t S09S Women f On the net For the latest scores, games, contests and polls, go to Palm Beach Interactrve: South Region, but not far removed from the Big Four -North Carolina, Arizona, Kansas and Duke -in terms of reputation. They are resourceful and resilient. rr-0T m 113-155 I 05-03 40 72 33 20 34 171-703 443-473 Pet 000 770 741 730 030 033 .773 515 774 410 500 1 131 447 000 .770 J 13 ak 14 1 27.1 Act H 172 27 77 00 24 45 03 II 0 1 I t I Asia l 07 00 70 I 57 0 400 310 00 137 K 4 03 71 27 33) 4 0 Bit tool rr-FT 74-HO 135 40 04 ? Pel 447 7 07 475 014 4-0 44 S7 400 5 4 05 400 m .4VI a 40 7 4 00 3 I 11 54 41 I 5 Av 0 I 505 44 432 3 3 332 110 03 10 M 53 15 I 3 070 04 41 71 35 35 11 I 7 I 00 07 70 70 21 7 r 1 Men's national championship WHO: Kentucky (34-4) vs. Utah (30-3), 9:18 p.m. WHEN: Today, 9:18 p.m. TV: WPEC-12, WFOR-4. Utah statistics TENNESSEE Frwi 1C The taller Vols double and triple-teamed the guards, and Louisiana Tech couldn't see over the outstretched arms in order to exploit its inside game. Tennessee kept up with the opponent's guards, widely considered the fastest in the country. And every time the Techsters tried to make a run, Tennessee had the answer usually, Holdsclaw, who scored 18 of her 25 points in the first half, or Catchings, who finished with a team-high 27. ."I wasn't in shock as much as my', team," Barmore said. "They were so in shock is was hard for them to get over it" Tennessee took a 55-32 lead into the locker rom at half time, an NCAA final record for points in a half. The Lady Techsters opened with a 6-0 run, before they were outscored 10-0. Jamie Scheppman made a three pointer and Melshika Bowman followed with a layup to pull the Techsters to within 72-54 with 1 1 minutes, 45 seconds left. Tennessee's Kellie Jolly then cooly sank two consecutive threes of her own. tarn Ooac . Mix 272 31 5 213 377 241 Ml 14 7 MO WO 103 77 54 10 I 7 13 Fe-FCSA Pet . .. 31 33 10374 I W 300 IH JI3 70-150 55172 at 3441 23-53 15-72 M-45 11 30 12 H 12 02 03 705-M30 030- ttrt 557 tn 443 451 mi 470 434 3SI 5S5 30t 447 500 000 000 .402 .302 Onortola 33 Jansan ......... 33 Hanson 32 Caton 33 Jackson 31 Johnson 20 Mc.Ta.ish 33 Carlis 30 Barratt 13 'vo 17 Daiton 3 S.uoa 3 Goorh 3 UTAH 13 Kentucky statistics Ptavar WooarO "oammaal Paoortt Turnaf I ar hao0rt irnit 'a"nr ntony hmoa V.vn'ta Hi S)TUCT V 30 30 30 IS 30 37 37 30 31 31 10 I MM PO 71 7 77 I 71 3 4 304 U7 II 7 13 4 7 0 13 31 17 m tn 10 304 15SJ77 lis m 177 7'? 13 703 75155 51 173 33 0 S 25- SJ 7 30 447 4'4 407 57 43 3SO tt J7 740 71 io : o 7 10 400 1133 2353 .401 144 OS 20 1024 17 17 21 21 SO 0- 13 1- 3 23 00 00 03- 45 0? TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE A i an rr r A i tau ozu-iooj or cuu oat-1 US-7O0 1

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