A Double-Double: UT Women Join Men In Final Four

Is the University of Texas a basketball school, or what? Less than 48 hours after UT men&#146;s basketball team booked passage to the Final Four in New Orleans, head coach <B>Jody Conradt</B>&#146;s women&#146;s team matched the feat with its 78-60 win over top-seeded LSU Tuesday at the West Regional Final in Palo Alto, California.

Conradt’s crew avenged an 18-point December loss to the same Tigers team, but this is by no means the same Texas women’s team that took the court three months ago. In fact, they are the hottest team in the country having won 17 straight dating back to a two-point temporary setback at Kansas State.

Texas faces top-dog Connecticut in Atlanta Sunday (6 or 8:30 p.m., CST) on ESPN. Currently, the Huskies are to women’s hoops what UCLA was to men’s basketball back in the early 1970s. The defending national champ is a disappointing 35-1 this season, having notched 70 consecutive wins during a two year span.

For now, Texas becomes the fourth school since the NCAA Women’s Tournament was started in 1982 to send both a men’s and women’s team to the Final Four. Oklahoma accomplished the feat last year, as did Duke in 1999 and Georgia in 1983.

This weekend marks the first Final Four appearance for the UT men since 1947 and third overall while the women are headed to their fourth National semi-final game and first in 16 years. Texas head coach Rick Barnes, caught up in a flurry of national media interviews and preparations for Syracuse (7:47 p.m. SCT, Saturday), managed to catch some of the women’s game.

"I’m excited for Jody, and I’m excited for their players," Barnes said. "We’re with them every day, whether we’re walking off the court or on the court. We’re in the same gym with them, we’re in the same weight room with them, we’re with them nearly every day in the fall, so I’m really happy for Jody and her players. I know how hard they worked to get to where they are."

Conradt, already a national champion, Hall of Famer and the winningest coach in women’s hoops, added the final touches to her trophy case when her 29-5 squad captured both the Big 12 regular season and tournament championship last month. Her team went undefeated in the 1985-86 season, including capturing the national title against defending champ USC.

Horns Digest Top Stories