* Rasheed Wallace poured in 26 points (10-23 FG, 0-5 3-pt. FG, 6-6 FT) in Game 4 of the NBA Finals last night to help the Pistons move ahead of the Lakers 3-1 and one away from the 2004 NBA title with an 88-80 victory.
The combination of an injured Karl Malone, Luke Walton and Slava Medvedenko were no answer for Wallace as the former Tar Heel avoided early foul trouble for the first time in the series, led Detroit in scoring and grabbed 13 rebounds over 41 minutes. "It felt good to play in the second quarter," Wallace told the press after the game when asked about not being benched by early fouls.
After not getting off the bench in the last two games, Rick Fox played 16 minutes with two points (1-4 FG), a rebound and six assists in Game 4 for the Lakers.
Larry Brown, in pursuit of his first NBA championship, will try to keep Detroit from being overconfident and close things out with another win at home in Game 5 on Tuesday (on ABC, 9 p.m.). No team has lost an NBA Finals series after being up 3-1, but no team has ever swept the middle three games at home under the current 2-3-2 Finals format.
A win by the Lakers in Game 5 will send the best-of-seven series back to Los Angeles for Game 6 on Thursday. A Game 7 would be played on Sunday in L.A. (both games on ABC, 9 p.m.).
HATCHELL GETS CALL TO THE HALL
* North Carolina women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday night.
Hatchell, a Carson-Newman College graduate, attended graduate school at Tennessee and coached the junior varsity team there from 1974-75. "That's when I realized this is what I wanted as a career," she said, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel report of the induction ceremony.
"For me to start out knowing this is what I wanted to do as a career and for the Hall of Fame to be right here, it's almost a full circle," added Hatchell.
Hatchell, who grew up in Gastonia, N.C., has been head coach at North Carolina since 1986 and compiled a record of 382-182 during 18 seasons, that includes the NCAA national championship in 1994 to go along with an AIAW title in 1982 and the NAIA championship in 1986 with Francis Marion University (Florence, S.C.). She has on overall head coaching record of 654-262 over 29 seasons.
"When you love something or someone, you don´t know what to say, and that´s how I feel tonight," Hatchell said during the ceremony, according to AP. "Words can´t express the love I have for the game."
The women's hall opened in 1999 and now has 79 members. The other 2004 inductees were North Dakota State coach Amy Ruley, Oregon coach and Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame member Bev Smith, former USA Basketball executive director Bill Wall, retired Kansas coach Marian Washington and eight-time AAU All-American Lurlyne Greer Rogers.