Home » Conference Notes » Currently Reading:

Women’s Finals Preview

March 31, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

And Then There Were Two

by Tracy Granzyk

With one more day of basketball left in the 2001-02 season the question still remains: “Can anyone beat UConn?” The Huskies, sporting a pristine 38-0 record, take on the Oklahoma Sooners in this year’s championship game. For Connecticut, this was the expected icing on a cake-walk season. The Huskies have been here, done that. They’ve won National Championships, appeared in the Final Four. Not much about Sunday’s final will be novel for the UConn women, except maybe the venue.

The Huskies line up includes four seniors, Ashja Jones, Swin Cash, Tamika Williams and Sue Bird. Sophomore, Diana Taurasi completes the roster. Of these five, four have been named All-Americans (Bird-1st team, Taurasi and Cash-2nd team, Jones-3rd team) and the fifth, Williams, received an honorable mention. Sue Bird has been named National Player of the Year, Naismith Award winner, Kodak All-American and ESPN The Magazine Point Guard of the Year. Taurasi and Cash were also named Kodak All-Americans, with Cash also picking up ESPN Magazine Swing Forward of the Year.

While there may be additional awards this team has accumulated, that is not the point. I mention it to emphasize the caliber of player behind this UConn team. But what is more impressive is that these elite athletes come out every game to play basketball. They don’t rest on their rankings or their accolades. They play the game with passion, finesse and a commitment that is reassuring. You see it in their seriousness as they show respect for each opponent. You see it in their smiles when they attain yet another lead that is comfortable.

Pick any sport or any top team, men or women, and show me the same consistent ability to back up the hype. In a time when many athletes’ goals take on a financial or celebrity slant, the Lady Huskies are a refreshing and encouraging departure from the new age athlete. They play without cockiness or pretense, though they have accomplished more than enough to inflate weaker egos. Keep an eye on these women, they are special. If they can take only some of what they’ve exemplified through basketball into the world their potential is limitless.

With players of this quality, it’s easy to forget to credit the coach. Or maybe it is just Coach Geno Auriemma’s style to pass on drawing attention to himself. It could be that his players are so grounded because they are being led by someone who teaches by example. While guiding the Huskies to an almost complete perfect season, Coach Auriemma has also picked up a few national recognitions along the way, including the Naismith Award and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association/Russell Athletic Division I National Coach of the Year. Whether or not the Huskies cap this season with a National Championship they have proven all season long that they are indeed champions.

For Oklahoma, this is a season of firsts. The Sooner women reached the Final Four for the first time not only in the school’s history, but in the history of the Big 12 conference as well. The women’s basketball program, which was almost dropped from the school’s NCAA sport repertoire, has been turned around, to say the least, over Coach Sherri Coale’s six year career. Oklahoma’s current 32-3 record is a long way from her first year’s 5-22 team. But can the Sooners complete the season with a National Championship and major upset of a team that is easily the best in women’s NCAA basketball?

Oklahoma is directed on court by repeat All-American point guard Stacey Dales. With her precision passing and crafty way of seeing the whole floor, Dales can easily create scoring opportunities. When she isn’t finding the open player she can also hit net, evidenced by a 16.9 point per game average. While the Bird-Dales match up is an easy one to draw attention to, Oklahoma is not just Dales.

Backcourt-mate LaNeishea Caufield is also a scoring threat, averaging 17.5 points per game. Some of those baskets may be a result of her team leading 93 steals. Caufield, one of the NCAA’s most recognized freshmen in 1999, has maintained that high level of play over her career at Oklahoma. The Sooner roster is rounded out by forward, Caton Hill, also scoring in double figures with a 12.8 average, guard Rosalind Ross, averaging 11.4 and coming off a career-high 26 point game against Duke, center Jamie Talbert and reserve Dionnah Jackson.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 26, 2018

April 27, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we spend a lot of time looking at what the Commission on College Basketball came up with, as their report was just produced. We also look at the NBA Draft and transfers, which have many rosters potentially in flux for next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018 by

In our first podcast in the postseason, we look back one more time on the NCAA Tournament, which was just what we needed at this time. We also look at the NIT, CBI and CIT, as well as important transactions with players leaving early for the NBA Draft and coaching changes.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018 by

The 2018 national championship is in the books, and with it another season of college basketball. We break down the national championship game and some of its implications to wrap up the season.

College Basketball Tonight – April 1, 2018

April 2, 2018 by

Welcome to our Final Four edition of College Basketball Tonight. In this edition, we look ahead to Monday’s national championship game, and bring on two guests – long-time Villanova radio play-by-play broadcaster Ryan Fannon and Radford head coach Mike Jones – to get their thoughts and insights on the game.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 1, 2018

April 1, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we break d own the national semifinals, where one game went back and forth while the other was never really a ballgame thanks to an impressive performance for the ages by the winning team.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.