Women's Final Four Preview

Two storied programs (UConn, Tennessee) and two upstarts (LSU, Minnesota) comprise the women's national semifinals in New Orleans on Sunday. Preview each of the semifinalists here.

2004 Women's Final Four
At New Orleans
Sunday, April 4 (National Semifinals) at New Orleans
(Click on School for Preview)
LSU vs. Tennessee, 4:00 p.m. (PT), ESPN
Connecticut vs. Minnesota, 6:30 p.m. (PT), ESPN
Tuesday, April 6 (National Championship)
LSU/Tennessee vs. UConn/Minnesota, 5:30 p.m. (PT), ESPN

No. 1 Tennessee Lady Vols (30-3)

Pat Summit
(Wayne Wade, AP)

Shyra Ely
(L.M. Otero, AP)
Coach: Pat Summitt.
Region: Midwest.
Tournament Record: 84-16, 23 years.
Last NCAA Appearance: 2004.
Conference: Southeastern.
Probable Starters: No. 4 LaToya Davis, F, 6-0, Sr., 4.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg; No. 43 Shyra Ely, F, 6-2, Jr., 14.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg; No. 33 Ashley Robinson, C, 6-5, Sr., 8.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.2 bpg; No. 3 Tasha Butts, G, 5-11, Sr., 10.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg; No. 5 Shanna Zolman, G, 5-10, So., 12.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Top Scorers: Shyra Ely 15.0, Shanna Zolman 12.1, Tasha Butts 10.4.
Top Rebounder: Shyra Ely 8.0.
Top Playmaker: Tasha Butts 2.9.
3-Point Threat: Shanna Zolman 53 made.
The Skinny: The Vols' championship hopes seemed dashed when they lost floor leader Loree Moore to left-knee ACL injury in January. However, Pat Summit has forged a typically inside-staunch, defensively tough group which can ride Shyra Ely on offense. This is a team that does two things well that are critical in the postseason - defend and rebound.

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No. 4 Louisiana State Lady Tigers (27-7)

Seimone Augustus
(AP photo)

Pokey Chatman, Sue Gunter
(Bill Feig, AP)
Coach: Sue Gunter.
Region: West.
Tournament Record: 20-13, 14 years.
Last NCAA Appearance: 2004.
Conference: Southeastern.
Probable Starters: No. 2 Temeka Johnson, G, 5-3 Sr., 12.9 ppg 8.3 apg; No. 45 Doneeka Hodges, G, 5-9 Sr., 14.1 ppg 3.8 rpg; No. 33 Seimone Augustus, G, 6-1 So., 19.5 ppg 5.9 rpg; No. 42 Tillie Willis, F, 6-3 Jr., 3.6 ppg 4.4 rpg; No. 32 Wendlyn Jones, F, 6-1 So., 6.5 ppg 5.3 rpg.
Top Scorers: Seimone Augustus 19.5, Doneeka Hodges 14.1, Temeka Johnson 12.9.
Top Rebounder: Seimone Augustus 5.9.
Top Playmaker: Temeka Johnson 8.3.
3-Point Threat: Doneeka Hodges 64 made.
The Skinny: The smallish Tigers were routed by Tennessee earlier in the year, largely because they were outrebounded 44-28. They've rallied under acting coach Pokey Chatman, subbing for legendary Sue Gunter, who is battling illness. Seimone Augustus, along with PG Temeka Johnson, keys a team that likes to attack the rim and fill it up from mid-range.

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No. 2 Connecticut Huskies (29-4)

Geno Auriemma
(Steve Miller, AP)

Diana Taurasi
(Stephan Savoia, AP)
Coach: Geno Auriemma.
Region: East.
Tournament Record: 51-11, 16 years.
Last NCAA Appearance: 2004.
Conference: Big East.
Probable Starters: No. 3 Diana Taurasi, G/F, 6-0 Sr., 16.2 ppg, 3.9 apg; No. 5 Maria Conlon, G, 5-9 Sr., 5.8 rpg, 2.9 apg; No. 31 Jessica Moore, C, 6-3 Jr., 9.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg; No. 33 Barbara Turner, F/G, 6-0 So., 13.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg; No. 43 Ann Strother, G, 6-2 So., 10.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg.
Top Scorers: Diana Taurasi 16.2, Barbara Turner 13.9, Ann Strother 10.9.
Top Rebounders: Jessica Moore 7.0.
Top Playmaker: Diana Taurasi 5.0.
3-Point Threats: Diana Taurasi 80 made.
The Skinny: Geno Auriemma is earning his dough, scheming out opponents (just 32-percent shooting in the tourney) with a small defensive team. That defense will be tested by an explosive Minnesota team. Auriemma also has the best player in the land in Diana Taurasi, who is seeking the third ring of her career. Barb Turner probably will be a key for UConn.

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No. 7 Minnesota Golden Gophers (25-8)

Lindsay Whalen
(Tom Olmscheid, AP)

Janal McCarville
(Andy King, AP)
Coach: Pam Borton.
Region: Mideast.
Tournament Record: 8-3, 4 years.
Last NCAA Appearance: 2004.
Conference: Big Ten.
Probable Starters: No. 22 Shannon Bolden, F, 5-11 So., 6.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg; No. 35 Kadidja Andersson, F, 5-11 Sr., 9.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg; No. 4 Janel McCarville, C, 6-2 Jr., 16.1 ppg, 10.9 rpg; No. 13 Lindsay Whalen, G, 5-9 Sr., 20.9 ppg, 5.3 apg; No. 11 Shannon Schonrock, G, 5-6 So., 8.9 ppg, 2.9 apg.
Top Scorers: Lindsay Whalen 20.9, Janel McCarville 16.1.
Top Rebounder: Janel McCarville 10.9.
Top Playermaker: Lindsay Whalen 5.3.
3-Point Threat: Shannon Schonrock 69 made.
The Skinny: G Lindsay Whalen made an unexpected return from a broken hand and now forms a formidable one-two punch with Janel McCarville. The junior post has lived up to her nickname, "Shaq," and has nearly been impossible to stop. Reserve Shannon Bolden brings defense to the table, helping limit Duke star Alana Beard to just 10 points in the Regional final.

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