April 30, 2004

Updated the look of my blog. I was tired of orange. Also added a pic of myself as a kid with one of my many kitty cats.

I'm working hard on my BAFTA story in addition to keeping up with both meredy.com and nurse-tips.com.

Recent updates to meredy.com include: adding May calendar wallpapers to my H2H and Stefanie Powers sites, adding and updating some H2H fan fiction to my H2H fan fic page, and adding "Fan Fiction de Casal 20" (a few of my stories translated into Portuguese - thanks muchly, Thaïs) to my H2H fan fic page. I know I updated a few more things, just can't think of them right now.

April 28, 2004

Nick Clooney for Congress :: Campaigning to Serve Kentucky's 4th District:


April 06, 2004

Nina and I took a two day break from the campaign trail to fulfill an obligation made before I announced my candidacy late last fall.

We pointed our car toward the town with the wonderful name of Indiana, Pennsylvania. The auto knew its way because we have visited there every spring for the last seven years or so.

Fans of classic movies will remember that Indiana, PA, is the birthplace of Jimmy Stewart. Mr. Stewart was very proud of his hometown and the sentiment was definitely reciprocated. Even though Jimmy is gone now, Indiana still loves its favorite son.

Each spring they have an excellent event during which they present the "Harvey" award, anmed for one of Jimmy's most famous movie roles as Elwood P. Dows and his friend, a six-foot rabbit named Harvey whom only Elwood could see.

The award has been presented annually to someone who worked with Jimmy, or someone the townspeople think represents Jimmy's values and his attitude about his profession. Because of my long association with American Movie Classics cable channel, I was asked to be master of ceremonies for the awards, so Nina and I have been there when they honored such luminaries as Ernest Borgnine, Shirley Jones, Charlton Heston and Jimmy's favorite impressionist, Rich Little.

This year, the recipient was actor Robert Wagner and, to tell you the truth, I approached this even with considerably less enthusiasm than previous years.

You see, Nina has had a crush on Robert Wagner since before she met me. When other girls were swooning over Elvis Presley, Nina was cutting out pictures of Bob Wagner from fan magazines.

For the entire 44 years of our married life, I have heard how handsome he is, what a good actor he is, what a gentleman he is. From his break-out role as a shell-shocked soldier in "With a Song in My Heart" with Susan Hayward in the 1950s, to his starring TV roles in programs such as "Switch" and "Hart to Hart" in the 1970s, to his outrageous turns in the "Austin Powers" movies of recent years, Mr. Wagner has successfully re-invented himself and remained viable in the world's most fickle profession for five decades.

As we negotiated the roads through Kentucky, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania, I consoled myself with the fact that time surely wrought the same devastation on Robert Wagner as it has on me. After all, he is a couple of years older than I. Just wait until Nina saw her childhood fantasy boyfriend "up close and personal."

We arrived Thursday night and learned the Bob wouldn't be in until the next day because - of all things - the two board members sent to meet him at the Pittsburgh airport somehow missed him! One of the errant two is our old friend Carson Green and we needled him mercilessly for the rest of the weekend. He'll be a long time living it down.

Nina and I first saw Bob at a Friday news conference held at the wonderful Jimmy Stewart Museum which conducts the Harvey Awards. One look at him and my heart sank. Far from looking as if he had been in the movies for 50 years, he didn't look 50. Moreover, he turned out to be a great guy. He talked about his ultimately tragic love match with Natalie Wood, about growing up in the era of classic Hollywood and coming of age right in the midst of legendary stars, of eventually co-starring with the likes of Spencer Tracy and Fred Astaire, about his wife Jill St. John.

He and Nina had long conversations while I was otherwise occupied. I don't know what they said, but at that evening's glittering gala when I introduced her to the assembled guests, Bob yelled out "I love you, Nina!" in front of hundreds of people.

So what did I get out of all this? Not much. Oh, now I can call Bob what his friends call him. It's "R.J.", by the way. Small comfort for the remarks I will have to endure from Nina for the rest of my life.

Thanks, R.J.
Parker's success a slam dunk, talent evaluators say

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — The tornado sirens are wailing outside on a mild spring evening. Coaches scurry to empty the gym and hallways of Naperville Central High, ushering youth league basketball players and gymnasts into the basement.
Candace Parker, carrying a basketball, walks toward the door then takes a short detour onto the court. Three dribbles and a layup on the way to the basement.

The little scene symbolizes life these days for the 18-year old basketball prodigy. Amid the whirl of publicity over her beating five male competitors in the McDonald's High School All-American slam-dunk contest and the torrent of postseason accolades, Parker forges calmly through the commotion with her eye on her goals.

Next stop, University of Tennessee, entering as one of the more celebrated high school girls basketball players in history. She adds to the résumé today, winning her second USA TODAY Player of the Year citation after returning from knee surgery in late December. She is the first in the 22-year history of the All-USA TODAY team to win the top girls basketball award twice.

Even before she created a national buzz by succeeding LeBron James as the McDonald's slam-dunk champion, Parker was being dubbed "SheBron."

"It's an honor," she says, of the expression, "but hopefully if I do what I'm supposed to do, I won't have to be nicknamed after (anyone). I'll have my own identity."

She says it without a hint of the cockiness or bravado that frequently accompanies youthful stardom. The headlines, it seems, haven't gone to her head.

"I try not to pay attention to it because hype, I look at it as potential," she says. "You may be the person that has the most potential in the world, but if you never reach that ..."

P, as in Parker, potential

Potential is a word being thrown around a lot with Parker and it's attached to the names of some of the most celebrated players in women's basketball history.

As in, she has the potential to be the next (fill in the blank).

Diana Taurasi, Chamique Holdsclaw, Lisa Leslie, Cheryl Miller ...

"Candace Parker is one of the most dominant and impressive high school players I've ever seen, in 30 years," says prep analyst Mike Flynn, editor of the Blue Star Report. "She's the closest to what I saw in Cheryl Miller when Cheryl Miller was 16."

"This kid is going to transcend the sport," says All Game Sports' Jerry Gatewood, whose daughter Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood joins Parker on the All-USA team and also at Tennessee in a recruiting class considered one of the best ever.

"She's Jordan on offense and Russell on defense," says Doug Bruno, women's basketball coach at DePaul, which was one of five finalists for Parker.

Parker's victory in the dunk contest, televised on ESPN, has brought her national recognition. It made the NBC Nightly News; she appeared on NBC's Today show and has generated interest from the Late Show with David Letterman and Good Morning America.

But it is just a tiny fraction of her game. "The dunk (is not) what her game is about," Gatewood says.

She has been dunking for three years and has done it twice in high school games and a few more times in AAU games, joining a half-dozen or so women to have done it in competition.

"That's just another challenge thrown at me, to show people that dunking is not just my game," Parker says. "I'd love to make dunks part of my game. Everybody dreams of ... going up on somebody. ... But my job the next few years is not to be known as the girl that dunks."

Parker, listed at 6-foot-3 but probably an inch taller, played primarily at center in leading her suburban Chicago high school to consecutive state championships. At Tennessee, she is expected to move to small forward. She could just as easily move to either guard spot. She runs the floor with the ball, dribbling behind her back or between her legs effortlessly. She can pull up and shoot from the outside.

"Candace is the most versatile 6-3 player (at this stage) that I've ever seen," says Tennessee coach Pat Summitt.

Analysts say she's capable of playing any of the five positions on the court in college.

"She's very agile, like Miller," Flynn says. "She has the same level of physical agility on the floor, graceful agility."

Gatewood predicts she'll have a lasting impact on the women's game.

"These girls growing up, 6-3, 6-2, are going to be saying, 'Don't put me in the paint. Look at Candace,' " he says. "You're looking at Kevin Garnett on the women's side."

Summitt never guarantees any recruit anything, but Gatewood predicts Parker will be playing a minimum of 25 minutes a game as a freshman, probably as a starter. "By the end of her sophomore year, she'll be one of the top players in the country," he says.

Parker's parents, Larry and Sara, say Candace will have to adjust to the increased intensity level at Tennessee but are confident she will. As for the expectations, Larry says she has been dealing with them since eighth grade. "I'm a tough critic and she's exceeded most of mine," he says, with a laugh.

Coy about prom date

For all her celebrity, Parker is in many ways a typical teenager. She'll describe two strapless gowns she has picked out for her senior prom, but is coy about her date.

As tall as she stands on the court, she downplays her height off the court, presumably for her social life. She loves to chat with friends online on her computer and she'll graduate next month with a 3.7 GPA. She plans to study broadcast communications with an English minor at Tennessee.

Her on-court achievements this year are particularly impressive because there was some question whether she would even play. She tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee July 11 and had ligament replacement surgery 18 days later. Conventional wisdom dictated a mid- to late-January return at the earliest, but she was back in the lineup in late December, five months to the day after the surgery.

Two watershed moments marked the recovery, both in a nearly vacant gym. The first came in late November, when her rehabilitation hit a lull and she was bored with exercise routine. She had been worried she'd never dunk again. So, with a teammate and school administrator looking on, she decided to try — and slammed one down.

"It was a great point in time because it proved to me we had achieved something. I went back to rehab with a different attitude," she says.

Then, about 10 p.m. on Christmas night, she called Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum and asked if he could come down and open the gym. She and her brother, Marcus, 25, wanted to go one-on-one. They went at it until nearly 2 a.m., satisfying everyone she was ready to play.

"When the Parkers play one-on-one, they play for keeps," Nussbaum says. "There was nothing she was going to get in a game Marcus hadn't already given her."

When she returned, she averaged 24.3 points and 11.4 rebounds, and Naperville Central was undefeated with her playing.

At first, she says, her junior year meant more than the second Illinois Class AA title, particularly because she was sad to end her high school career. "But now that I've had time to look and reflect on what the past year has been like, in a way it's sweeter."

The postseason brought player of the year awards, all-star games and introductions to celebrities. Carmelo Anthony sat courtside at one of the all-star games. She has met Michael Jordan. The Chicago Cubs honored her on opening day, and she watched the game in a luxury box with actor Bill Murray.

So who is the most interesting person she's met? Her physical therapist, Joe Bresingham. "I'm blessed to know him."

After out-dunking the boys, Parker is now being cited with Michelle Wie, Annika Sorenstam and others breaking down the gender barriers in sport. She doesn't proclaim the distinction, or flinch from it.

"I'm really excited to be growing up in an age where I had role models ... people who were instrumental in (women's) basketball being where it is now," she says. "I look at it as a challenge not to let what they did go to waste."

Heady territory for a young lady who turned 18 on April 19. Rather than dwell on it, she concentrates on getting her knee back to 100% strength — it'll be another nine months or so — and heading for summer school at Tennessee.

Whether she'll take her place with the greats of the women's game remains to be seen. But Summitt's evaluation before she signed Parker tips off her plans:

"Whoever gets her will be cutting down nets," Summitt said.
Deng to test NBA draft waters, will not hire agent

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Duke freshman Luol Deng has made himself available for the NBA draft but is not ruling out a return to school.

Deng, who led the Blue Devils to the Final Four, will not hire an agent for now, keeping open the option of returning for his sophomore season. He has until June 17 to remove his name from consideration and retain his college eligibility.

The 6-foot-8 forward issued a statement Tuesday but was not available for comment.

Duke sports information director Jon Jackson said Deng likely would not comment on the issue until after he has decided whether to return to Durham in the fall. Deng is taking final exams this week, Jackson said.

``The opportunity to pursue a career in professional basketball has been a dream of mine,'' Deng said in his statement. ``With help from my family and coaches, I will continue to gather information to make the best possible decision regarding my future.''

Deng, a native of Sudan who came to the United States from England, had an impressive freshman season, averaging 15 points and seven rebounds. Deng was the MVP of the Atlanta Regional and led Duke in scoring in its final three games, including 16 points in the 79-78 loss to Connecticut in the national semifinals.

Deng is a versatile forward who can play on the perimeter or inside, and he was widely regarded as the No. 2 recruit in his class behind LeBron James. Chris Monter, an analyst who publishes a draft newsletter five times a year, expects Deng will be at least a top 10 pick.

``Undoubtedly he will be a very high pick,'' Monter said from Lakeville, Minn. ``I think he's going to go high enough that I'd be surprised ... if he came back.''

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said the school would help examine available draft information ``to help Luol make a decision that is best for him and his family.''

``We're supportive of Luol's decision,'' Krzyzewski said.

Deng's father, Aldo Deng, said it was important to the family that Krzyzewski supported the decision.

``It really means a lot,'' Aldo Deng told The Associated Press from his home in London. ``We are really, really very happy that Coach K is behind it and that is what we wanted to see.

``We all support (Luol) and we're happy with Duke, too. When someone there takes care of your child very closely, you feel very close to that person.''

Deng's departure would be a significant blow to the 2004-05 Blue Devils, who otherwise would be one of the favorites to reach the Final Four. The Blue Devils are also waiting to see whether signee Shaun Livingston, a 6-7 guard and McDonald's All-American, will go straight to the NBA.

Livingston, who led Peoria High School to a second straight Illinois state championship, might make his decision about the NBA this week, coach Chuck Buescher said Tuesday.

``I asked Shaun if what Luol did made a difference to him, and he acted like it didn't,'' Buescher said Tuesday. ``He's got to make his own decision.''

April 27, 2004

PASSING THE TORCH: Gunter announces retirement

Media, fellow coaches, players and some fans were on hand for the announcement many had expected for a number of months. After 40 years of coaching, 22 at the reigns of the LSU Lady Tiger basketball program, Sue Gunter announced her retirement in a bittersweet press conference.

“I have been absolutely blessed with wonderful people to work with me," Gunter said in a press conference. "We have all gone through a lot over a long period of time, but this is one of those things that at some point was bound to happen."

Many felt Gunter would not return after she left the team last January suffering from acute bronchitis. Although LSU said she would return, the general feeling was she might be finished.

While there was plenty of questions surrounding Gunter’s future, there was enough speculation surrounding who would follow the third-winningest coach all-time in NCAA women’s hoops history. Long-time assistant Pokey Chatman’s named was tossed around after she took control of the team in Gunter’s absence. Experience was the issue and it wasn’t until Chatman led the Lady Tigers a surprising Final Four berth, the program’s first, did people believe she could do the job.

Tuesday, Gunter, the owner of 708 career victories, introduced Chatman as the new head coach of the Lady Tigers.

"I just want to say thank you to coach Gunter," Chatman said. "The biggest thing is the preparation. I don’t think I would have been able to step in this past January 4 and finish up at the Final Four in New Orleans if she hadn't prepared me for this. I want to say thank you, and I'll continue to try and make you and this program proud."

Chatman, a 13-year assistant under Gunter, is in her 17th year with LSU after a four-year all-American career from 1987-91. As for Gunter, she ends her career with 442 wins at LSU, 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, four Elite Eight’s and the illustrious Final Four in her final year, although she was not courtside for the program’s most triumphant accomplishment.

"I can not think of a better way to go out as far as what this team did this year and the things that they accomplished," Gunter added.

Gunter, who trails only Pat Summitt of Tennessee and Texas’ Jody Conradt for career wins, is one of the most respected coaches in NCAA history.

“Women's basketball, the game of basketball, is losing a legend today,” said former Louisiana Tech head coach Leon Barmore. “Sue was one of the most gracious people in the game and always treated Louisiana Tech and myself with respect. I have a lot of respect for her and what she has accomplished in her career. She is one of the three giants in this business. I wish her the best, especially with her health.”

Former Auburn coach Joe Ciampi, who also retired this season, wished Gunter will.

"Congratulations on all your success and on doing it the right way all these years,” Ciampi said. “Now that we are both away from the court, maybe now I can get some Ws from you on the golf course. I wish you the best in your retirement.”

It was Andy Landers’ Lady Bulldogs of Georgia that lost to Gunter’s Tigers in the 2004 Elite Eight, propelling LSU to its first Final Four.

"Sue is a legend,” Landers said. “It's hard to say good-bye, particularly when the legend is a personal friend. Women's basketball is losing one of its pioneers. I only wish Sue the best."

Fellow LSU basketball coach John Brady passed on a fond farewell also.

"Sue Gunter has established herself as one of the best basketball coaches to have ever coached the game,” Brady said. “In addition to her tremendous success as a coach, she has done it with class, dignity and always with a genuine concern for her players. She has represented LSU in a first class way during her career and brought many positives to the University both on and off the floor. I wish her the best in retirement and pray for her to be able to enjoy what she deserves by how much she has given.”

As for the future of Lady Tiger basketball, Chatman assumes control of a program many feel will be among the nation’s elite teams in coming years.

Chatman, an Ama, La., native becomes the fourth head coach of the program after serving as associate coach for Gunter for the past five seasons and assist coach for seven seasons prior to that. Chatman was named acting head coach during this past season and guided the Lady Tigers to the Final Four in New Orleans.

Chatman played four seasons for Gunter and the Lady Tigers and by the time she graduated, held the career assist record and still remains fifth on the career scoring list. She was a three-time All-SEC selection and capped her career by winning the MVP of the 1991 SEC Tournament and earning Kodak All-America honors.

April 26, 2004

LSU to announce Sue Gunter's retirement

LSU is expected to announce Tuesday that longtime women's basketball coach Sue Gunter is retiring and will be replaced by interim head coach Pokey Chatman.

LSU called a noon news conference, but women's basketball spokesman Brian Miller said he could not go into detail about the subject, other than to say it involved "the coaching situation for the women's basketball team."

Reached at home, guard Scholanda Hoston said the team had a meeting Monday but would not talk about what was discussed.

However, a source in Baton Rouge who declined to be identified confirmed to The Associated Press that Gunter, who had been on leave with respiratory problems since early this past season, would step down and that Chatman would take over.

Gunter, 62, has coached in college for 44 years — 22 at LSU — compiling 708 victories. Among women's college coaches, only Texas' Jody Conradt and Tennessee's Pat Summitt have more victories than Gunter.

"She's one of the important reasons why our sport has flourished," Conradt, a longtime friend of Gunter, said in a phone interview Monday evening. "She's been promoting the sport and creating opportunities for women for a long time."

Conradt said she was not aware Gunter planned to retire Tuesday but said her recent respiratory illness has apparently cut short her career, "because her team has been very competitive the last few years and I know she was enjoying coaching them."

LSU went 14-5 without Gunter last season, 7-4 after Chatman was formally named LSU interim coach on Feb. 19. That included LSU's first appearance in a Final Four, where the Lady Tigers lost on a shot in the closing seconds to Tennessee in the national semifinals.

Chatman had indicated she would entertain head coaching offers from other schools if Gunter returned, but also would have considered returning as an assistant.

Gunter, who was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in June 2000, had 21 seasons with at least 20 victories. This past season might have been her 22nd as LSU went 27-8. But Gunter was not even well enough to watch her team play live during the NCAA tournament. She watched the Final Four in New Orleans from a nearby hotel.

It was the second time Gunter missed out on what apparently will have been a once-in-a-lifetime coaching opportunity. Gunter also was named coach of the 1980 women's U.S. Olympic basketball team, only to remain home when the United State boycotted the Moscow Games in protest of the then-Soviet Union's military incursions in Afghanistan.

Earlier this year, as Gunter reached the 700-game milestone, questions came up about her exact record.

She lists a 44-0 record in her first two years of coaching at Middle Tennessee State. Her record the first four years of her 16-year run at Stephen F. Austin is not listed in the school's media guide. The records begin with the 1972-73 season.

Gunter explained at the time that the NCAA would not verify the Stephen F. Austin records because there was no official stats crew at the games. Gunter said she would pursue the matter with the NCAA after the season ended, but nothing has been announced.

Gunter considered high school coaching after her playing days at Nashville Business College. She was also a member of the U.S. National team. But in the early 1960s, there was a national push from the President's Council on Physical Fitness to jump-start women's athletics programs. Middle Tennessee State offered Gunter a teaching job and a chance to begin an "extramural" basketball team in 1962.

In those days, the game featured a "rover," one player who could cover the entire court, and four that played half-court.

Gunter's overall record includes the games she missed last season while she was sick, up to the point Chatman was formally named interim coach.
I just reformatted and added a new and steamy portion to the H2H Add2Story. It's available at the following URL:


A new H2H fan fic, "To Sur, with Love," is available @:


Hope you like it! Please, please send feedback. And I encourage you to add a new section to the story!

Links to my other H2H stories can be found here:


Take care!

April 25, 2004

Win some, lose some

A quarterback, cornerback and offensive tackle. For months that's what we've been saying the Steelers needed to acquire on the draft's first day and that's what they did.

In first-round pick Ben Roethlisberger, the team gets its quarterback of the future and a player many had rated as a top-five pick when the college football season ended. But Phillip Rivers stock rose faster than the Allegheny River on a rainy day and pushed Roethlisberger down some teams' draft boards.

But the Steelers were more than pleased to take him in the first round and had him rated just behind Rivers and cornerback DeAngelo Hall as their first choice.

In the second round, the Steelers moved up six spots to grab cornerback Ricardo Colclough out of tiny Tusculum College.

Colclough is a small-school player, but there's nothing small-school about his play. In fact, the Steelers had a first-round grade on him, which is why the team felt the need to deal its fourth-round pick to move up and get him before somebody else did.

"We've always said if we like a player, we're going to be aggressive and go get him," director of football operations Kevin Colbert said.

In Colclough and 2003 fifth-round pick Ike Taylor, the Steelers have two good-sized young corners with speed. They are raw, but that's why the coaches get paid, right?

Third-round pick Max Starks was something of an enigma. A massive left tackle at Florida, the 6-7, 340-pound Starks never played up to his full ability.

He could be a steal. But he could also be a bigger, younger version of Oliver Ross.

© The picks of Roethlisberger and Colclough will turn out to be solid ones for the Steelers in years to come. But once again the team is treating its picks beyond the first two rounds as time to throw some darts at a board, hoping to hit the bullseye.

Other than last year's selection of Alonzo Jackson, the Steelers have done pretty well with their first two picks in the Bill Cowher-Kevin Colbert era. It's those picks after that in which no starters have been procured.

That will change this year when Chris Hope and Clark Haggans move into the starting lineup, but the Cowher-Colbert duo has more misses than hits in the late rounds.

Former director of football operations Tom Donahoe was the exact opposite. Donahoe would miss with his first and second rounders and steal some late round gems.

I'm not sure who's way is better, but I question the Steelers' draft so far this year a lot less than I am Donahoe's questionable trade this year to acquire J.P. Losman. That one is going to get Donahoe fired in Buffalo.

© Speaking of Jackson, when I asked Starks how he did against him while at Florida, he spoke glowingly of the Steelers' 2003 second-round draft pick.

"I survived against him," Starks said of Jackson. "He was definitely a very good defensive end. I didn't give up any sacks. I think I had a pretty good day."

Funny, no NFL offensive tackles gave up a sack to Jackson last season, either.

© When Cowher and Colbert came into the media room while the third round was still being selected, our Jim Wexell surmised that the Steelers wouldn't be making a trade up into the third round.

"With what?" Cowher replied with a sneer on his face.

Good point.

April 23, 2004

Former NFL Player Killed in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan after walking away from a multimillion-dollar NFL contract to join the Army Rangers, U.S. officials said Friday.

Tillman, who served with the Army Rangers, was 27.

Although the military had not officially confirmed his death, the White House put out a statement of sympathy that praised Tillman as "an inspiration both on and off the football field."

Lt. Col. Matt Beevers, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Kabul, confirmed that a U.S. soldier was killed Thursday evening, but would not say whether it was Tillman. A military official at the Pentagon confirmed it was Tillman.

Beevers said the soldier died after a firefight with anti-coalition militia forces about 25 miles southwest of a U.S. military base at Khost, which has been the scene of frequent attacks.

Two other U.S. soldiers on the combat patrol were injured, and an Afghan soldier fighting alongside the Americans was killed.

Former Cardinals head coach Dave McGinnis said he felt both overwhelming sorrow and tremendous pride in Tillman, who "represented all that was good in sports."

"Pat knew his purpose in life," McGinnis said. "He proudly walked away from a career in football to a greater calling."

Several of Tillman's friends have said the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks influenced his decision to enlist.

"In sports we have a tendency to overuse terms like courage and bravery and heroes," said Cardinals vice president Michael Bidwill, son of the team's owner Bill Bidwill, "and then someone like Pat Tillman comes along and reminds us what those terms really mean."

Tillman is not the first NFL player to be killed in combat. Buffalo offensive lineman Bob Kalsu was killed by mortar fire during the Vietnam War in 1970.

A memorial was set up outside Cardinals' headquarters in Tempe, Ariz., with Tillman's No. 40 uniform in a glass frame alongside two teddy bears and two bouquets. A pen was left for people to write messages to Tillman's family.

Gov. Janet Napolitano ordered flags at Arizona State University, Tillman's alma mater, flown at half-staff.

"Pat Tillman personified all the best values of his country and the NFL," commissioner Paul Tagliabue said in a statement. "He was an achiever and leader on many levels who always put his team, his community, and his country ahead of his personal interests."

Former teammate Pete Kendall, the Cardinals' starting center, said Tillman's death was a jolt of the reality regarding the nation's fight in the Middle East.

"The loss of Pat brings it home," Kendall said. "Everyday there are countless families having to get the same news."

Kendall remembered going out with Tillman and his future wife, Marie.

"We had a meal and a couple of beers," Kendall said. "It was a nice night. I really looked forward to buying him another beer sometime down the road."

Arizona Sen. John McCain noted that Tillman declined to speak publicly about his decision to put his NFL career on hold.

"He viewed his decision as no more patriotic than that of his less fortunate, less renowned countrymen who loved our country enough to volunteer to defend her in a time of peril," McCain, a Republican, said in a statement.

U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said a formal announcement was expected later in the day.

Tillman played four seasons with the Cardinals before enlisting in the Army in May 2002. The safety turned down a three-year, $3.6 million deal from Arizona.

He made the decision after returning from his honeymoon with his wife.

"He knew what was important to him, and he made his decision and stood by it," said quarterback Eli Manning, expected to be a top pick in Saturday's NFL draft.

Tillman's brother, Kevin, a former minor league baseball prospect in the Cleveland Indians' organization, also joined the Rangers and served in the Middle East. They committed to three-year stints in the Army.

Some 110 U.S. soldiers have died — 39 of them in combat — during Operation Enduring Freedom, which began in Afghanistan in late 2001.

Tillman's agent, Frank Bauer, has called him a deep and clear thinker who has never valued material things.

In 2001, Tillman turned down a $9 million, five-year offer sheet from the Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams out of loyalty to the Cardinals, and by joining the Army, he passed on millions more from the team.

Tillman turned aside interview requests after joining the Army. In December, during a trip home, he made a surprise visit to his Cardinal teammates.

"For all the respect and love that all of us have for Pat Tillman and his brother and Marie, for what they did and the sacrifices they made ... believe me, if you have a chance to sit down and talk with them, that respect and that love and admiration increase tenfold," McGinnis said at the time.

It was not immediately clear when he went to Afghanistan.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Tillman was distinguished by his intelligence and appetite for rugged play. As an undersized linebacker at Arizona State, he was the Pac-10's defensive player of the year in 1997.

He set a franchise record with 224 tackles in 2000 and warmed up for 2001's training camp by competing in a 70.2-mile triathlon in June.

Tillman carried a 3.84 grade point average through college and graduated with high honors in 3 1/2 academic years with a degree in marketing.

"You don't find guys that have that combination of being as bright and as tough as him," Phil Snow, who coached Tillman as Arizona State's defensive coordinator, said in 2002. "This guy could go live in a foxhole for a year by himself with no food."

Tillman and his brother Kevin last year won the Arthur Ashe Courage award at the 11th annual ESPY Awards.
Elway's daughter signs letter of intent with Stanford

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- The daughter of former Stanford and Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway has signed a letter of intent to play for the university's women's basketball team.

Jessica Elway, is a 5-foot-10 guard/forward from Englewood, Colo., who averaged 10.1 points and 5.1 rebounds as a senior at Cherry Creek High School. Elway was the team captain for three years and a four-year letter winner. She also had 61 assists as a senior.

Her team finished second in this year's state tournament, and Elway earned second-team All-State honors.

Her father starred at Stanford from 1979-82 before being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1983 NFL draft. At the end of his career, Elway led the Broncos to two Super Bowl victories.

Jessica mother, Janet, now divorced from John, was on the Stanford swim team for one season in 1979-80.
Fortner succeeds Ciampi as coach
Leaves ESPN studio to get back in game

Nell Fortner became a familiar face while serving as ESPN's studio analyst for women's basketball, but a recent telephone call from Pat Summitt changed all of that.

"Pat told me, `Nell, you've got a decision to make. Do you want to talk about the game or do you want to coach the game?'"

The gentle nudging by the Tennessee coach pushed Fortner off the television set and back into college coaching. Auburn University introduced Fortner as its new women's coach Thursday to end a three-week search to find a successor to Joe Ciampi.

Fortner's experience is deep. She's served as an ESPN analyst since 2001, she led the United States to gold medals in the 1998 World Championships and the 2000 Olympics, she was the coach and general manager of the Indiana Fever of the WNBA from 2001-2003 and led Purdue to a Big Ten title in 1997. She was an All-American player at Texas and served as an assistant coach at two of women's basketball storied programs in Louisiana Tech and Stephen F. Austin.

Fortner has agreed to the principles of a five-year contract, which is expected to pay her more than $300,000 annually. Fortner said she would announce her coaching staff later.

"She's a big name for our program and she'll help get us some good recruits in," said Auburn center Marita Payne.

Fortner said she came back because she missed the college game.

"I enjoyed my opportunities in the pros, but the college game is different," Fortner said. "I love the players from that age group. There's so much growing and development for them."

Auburn was successful under Ciampi, making the NCAA Tournament 16 times. Fortner said she hopes to build on that.

"I know this program is already in great shape, but to take it to another level is the challenge," she said. "It's something I look forward to."

Fortner will differ from Ciampi in style of play. While Ciampi stressed defense and a methodical offense, Fortner promises an up-tempo game

"I think it's a fun game, I think kids like to play that way and fans like to watch it," Fortner said. "Those are the kind of players I will try to get in here."

She'll have plenty of opportunities to mold the team in her image. The Tigers have up to six scholarships to give this spring signing period, which began last week.

"I've already been on the phone to find out where there are some players," Fortner said, an hour after being whisked away from her Florida vacation. After a brief press conference, Fortner met with her new team.

The players were impressed.

"She is really keen on getting everyone on the floor as soon as possible, and that's really exciting," said forward Louise Emeagi. "The fact she mentioned within minutes of having met us about the prospect of fighting for a championship...someone brings that positive feel, it gives you a season of confidence."

Fortner's promise of an up-tempo game was also a big hit.

"The teams that are more aggressive have a chance to intimidate the other team and they can set the tempo," said guard Nitasha Brown. "She said she's looking for a team that can score and play pressure defense, and I think we're ready for that. We want to set the tempo and be the aggressors."

April 22, 2004

Harper to take over Lady Cats

CULLOWHEE, N.C. -- Former Tennessee basketball standout Kellie (Jolly) Harper has been named head coach at Western Carolina, the university's athletic director, Jeff Compher, announced Thursday.

Harper, former assistant coach at Southern Conference rival Chattanooga, becomes the 10th head coach in the program's history as the Lady Cats prepares to enter their 40th year of women's basketball.

Harper, a Sparta, Tenn., native, replaces Beth Dunkenberger, who left for Virginia Tech on April. 6. Dunkenberger spent four years at the helm of the Catamounts, compiling a 65-50 overall record to finish as the second winningest coach in the program's history.

"I believe Kellie Harper has what it takes to build on the foundation that Beth established and will lead our program to the next level competitively," Compher said. "I was fortunate to see her play at Tennessee on several occasions. In my opinion, she was one of the best floor leaders I have ever seen on the basketball court.

"Kellie also showed poise, determination and a winning attitude that has transferred into her coaching style in a most effective way. Wherever she goes, championships seem to follow. I am excited for the future."

Harper was a three-year starting point guard for Tennessee, and helped guide the Lady Vols to three consecutive national championships in 1996-98.

Harper just completed her third year as an assistant at Chattanooga, where she helped the Mocs to three consecutive SoCon championships. While at Chattanooga, she worked primarily with the perimeter players, which have included 2004 Player of the Year and tournament MVP Katasha Brown, two-time tournament MVP and All-Conference guard Miranda Warfield, along with two other all-league players. In 2004, the Lady Mocs finished with a 29-3 overall record (including the nation's longest winning streak at 27 games), ended with a perfect 20-0 league record and became the first SoCon women's basketball team to ever win an NCAA Tournament game when the Mocs defeated Rutgers (74-69) in the first round of the 2004 tournament, which Chattanooga hosted.

"I think Kellie is one of the young up-and-coming coaches in women's basketball," Chattanooga coach Wes Moore said of his former assistant. "With her playing for Pat Summitt, I think Western Carolina is getting a great coach with a lot of great attributes. She's more than just a name. I think she's going to be an outstanding coach for years to come and what's great is that Kellie's an even better person. Good people have a way of being successful and she's quality, through and through."

Prior to her stint at Chattanooga, Harper spent two years on the Auburn staff from 1999-2001, quickly moving from administrative assistant the first year to assistant coach in 2000-01.

"Kellie was already a coach on the floor when she played at Tennessee and her decision-making skills were outstanding," former Auburn head coach Joe Ciampi said of his former assistant. "At Auburn, her ability in selecting players that fit into our system was spectacular and we are so happy for her and wish her the best as a head coach."

As a senior in 1998-99, Harper earned All-America status as an honorable mention selection by the Associated Press after averaging 7.5 points and 4.1 assists. She was also a second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection.

As a junior, she averaged 7.6 points and 3.8 assists in guiding the Lady Vols to a perfect 39-0 record. In the national championship game against Louisiana Tech, she poured in a career-high 20 points and hit 4 of 5 3-pointers. She did not miss a free throw during the NCAA Tournament, nailing 14 in a row. She earned a spot on the All-Final Four team.

"Kellie Harper is a great young talent for the coaching profession and having the opportunity to coach her and follow her success as an assistant at Chattanooga, I knew it was just a matter of time," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. "Kellie was every coach's dream as a point guard, and I know she will work hard in all aspects of this position, from recruiting to continuing to build a great program. Western Carolina has made an excellent decision in hiring Kellie."

For her career, Harper tallied 894 points and 450 assists. At graduation, she ranked in the school's Top 10 lists in assists, assists per game (3.41), 3-point field goals (99), 3-point field goal attempts (272) and 3-point field goal percentage (37.1). She was drafted in the fourth round of the 1999 WNBA draft by the Cleveland Rockers.

A 1999 graduate of Tennessee, Harper received her bachelor's degree in mathematics. She is a three-time Academic All-SEC honoree.

April 21, 2004

Michael Jackson Indicted in California -TV Reports

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California grand jury investigating child molestation accusations against Michael Jackson indicted the pop star on Wednesday, U.S. television networks ABC, NBC and CNN reported.

A Santa Barbara County court spokesman said he could not confirm the indictment of Jackson, who has already been charged with molesting a young boy. The grand jury has met for about two weeks in Santa Barbara under extraordinary secrecy.

Attorneys for the self-proclaimed "King of Pop" could not immediately be reached for comment.

Santa Barbara prosecutors presented evidence to the grand jury related to accusations that Jackson sexually molested a young boy seen in a controversial British documentary that was filmed partly at his Neverland Valley Ranch in Santa Barbara.

Jackson has pleaded innocent to the earlier charges, which consisted of seven counts of lewd acts on a child under the age of 14 and two counts of plying him with alcohol in order to seduce him.

Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville, who is presiding over the case, has said he would like to have a trial in the matter begin by December.

The next hearing in the case is set for April 30 and the 45-year-old entertainer could be arraigned on an indictment then.

April 19, 2004

Tom Brokaw to Leave 'Nightly News' Dec. 1

NEW YORK - Tom Brokaw's sign-off date as anchor of NBC's top-rated 'Nightly News' has been set: it's Wednesday, Dec. 1.

His successor, Brian Williams, will take over as sole anchor the next day, the network announced Monday.

Brokaw, 64, announced two years ago that he will end his 'Nightly News' run shortly after the 2004 presidential election, giving way to longtime heir apparent Williams.

Brokaw began as 'Nightly News' anchor on April 5, 1982 teamed with Roger Mudd. He took over as sole anchor on Sept. 2, 1983.

April 17, 2004


1 Phoenix Mercury Diana Taurasi, G, Connecticut
2 Washington Mystics Alana Beard, G, Duke
3 Charlotte Sting Nicole Powell, G/F, Stanford
4 Connecticut Sun Lindsay Whalen, G, Minnesota
5 New York Liberty Shameka Christon, G/F, Arkansas
6 Minnesota Lynx Nicole Ohlde, C, Kansas State
7 Minnesota Lynx Vanessa Hayden, C, Florida
8 Phoenix Mercury Chandi Jones, G/F, Houston
9 Indiana Fever Ebony Hoffman, C, Southern Cal
10 Sacramento Monarchs Rebekkah Brunson, F, Georgetown
11 Detroit Shock Iciss Tillis, C/F, Duke
12 Los Angeles Sparks Christi Thomas, F, Georgia
13 Detroit Shock Shereka Wright, F, Purdue


14 Phoenix Mercury Ashley Robinson, C, Tennessee
15 Washington Mystics Kaayla Chones, C, N.C. State
16 Connecticut Sun Jessica Brungo, F, Penn State
17 New York Liberty Amisha Carter, C, Louisiana Tech
18 Charlotte Sting Kelly Mazzante, F, Penn State
19 Seattle Storm Catrina Frierson, F, Louisiana Tech
20 Minnesota Lynx Tasha Butts, F, Tennessee
21 San Antonio Silver Stars Cindy Dallas, F, Illinois
22 Charlotte Sting Jenni Benningfield, F, Vanderbilt
23 Detroit Shock Erika Valek, G, Purdue
24 Connecticut Sun Ugo Oha, C, George Washington
25 Los Angeles Sparks Doneeka Hodges, G, LSU
26 Houston Comets Lindsay Taylor, C, UC Santa Barbara


27 Phoenix Mercury Maria Villarroel, G, Oklahoma
28 Washington Mystics Evan Unrau, F, MIssouri
29 Connecticut Sun Candace Futrell, G, Duquesne
30 New York Liberty Cathy Joens, G, George Washington
31 Indiana Fever Ieva Kublina, F/C, Virginia Tech
32 Detroit Shock Jennifer Smith, C, Michigan
33 Minnesota Lynx Amber Jacobs, G, Boston College
34 San Antonio Silver Stars Toccara Williams, G, Texas A&M
35 Charlotte Sting Jia Perkins, G, Texas Tech
36 Sacramento Monarchs Nuria Martinez, Spain
37 Houston Comets Stacy Stephens, C, Texas
38 Minnesota Lynx Kate Bulger, G, West Virginia

April 15, 2004

WNBA draft is loaded with talent
The Kansas City Star

A year ago, the WNBA draft was delayed while the league and the players' union negotiated a labor deal. Then, when that was secured, the draft took place but lacked buzz because the senior class wasn't very compelling or deep.

This year, things are quite different. This group of seniors is among the best ever, and the expectations for them are very high.

The WNBA holds its draft Saturday in Secaucus, N.J., and for the first time the first round will be shown live on ESPN, starting at 11 a.m. Central time. The first pick, unless the Phoenix Mercury does something completely unexpected, will be Connecticut's Diana Taurasi.

She just won her third NCAA title with the Huskies, and currently is with the U.S. national team on its three-game exhibition tour with Japan. There had been questions throughout the season about nagging injuries for Taurasi, but her star power and championship mentality are much needed in Phoenix.

Then again, the Mercury needs just about everything after an 8-26 finish last season. The team announced Tuesday that longtime assistant Carrie Graf, an Australia native, will take over as head coach. Brian Agler, former head coach of the Minnesota Lynx, was hired as a Mercury assistant. Agler was previously a head coach in the now-defunct American Basketball League and at Kansas State.

Phoenix fans have proven they'll show up to watch a good team, which the Mercury hasn't been the past three seasons. Taurasi brings instant credibility and name recognition. And Phoenix has used her for marketing purposes even before actually drafting her.

This past Friday, the team took out an ad in the Arizona Republic newspaper saying, “Congratulations, Diana Taurasi... We'll see you soon.” For a franchise that some think has gone to the well too often for international players whom fans have no connection to, Taurasi is as close to a perfect pick as there could be.

After her, though, things get murky. Duke guard Alana Beard won most of the major individual honors this season, including the Wade Trophy and Wooden Award. Beard is a pro-level defender and her athleticism is major-league, as well.

A question is whether she can consistently hit perimeter shots. Also, will she go to a team that will try to make her into a point guard? Duke used her at the spot early in her career out of necessity, but it never seemed to click for her.

Beard may get a boost, though, just from having the weight of her national-championship quest over. Her Duke career didn't end well; the Blue Devils lost in the Elite Eight to Minnesota. Despite Duke being a No. 1 seed all four of her seasons, Beard never got to an NCAA title game.

But now the thing she most dreaded — not winning the biggest title in college — has happened. So at least she doesn't have to dread it anymore. And with the pressure off as she begins her pro career, Beard could be very effective.

With their NCAA Tournament performances, both Stanford's Nicole Powell and Minnesota's Lindsay Whalen solidified their status as top-five picks. The Minnesota Lynx desperately would love to have home-state hero Whalen, but she won't be around for them to take with the No. 7 pick. Minnesota's only hope is to pull off a trade in the next few days to get ahead of No. 4 Connecticut, which also wants Whalen very much.

Powell, at 6 feet 2, could play anything from point guard to power forward. As for Kansas State's Nicole Ohlde, she will show her new coaching staff what she showed Deb Patterson: Tell her to do something, she does it. Ohlde is as coachable as they come, and one WNBA scout projected she will be especially effective as she finishes “growing into” her 6-foot-5 frame.

Ohlde seems certain to be the first Big 12 player picked and might well be the only one from the league to go in the first round. Texas A&M guard Toccara Williams and Texas center Stacy Stephens are possible picks for the late first round or the second round.
Candace Parker shines spotlight on women's hoops with dunk

Vince Carter. Baron Davis. Carmelo Anthony. LeBron James. Candace Parker. The McDonald's High School All-American dunk contest traditionally displays the most athletic, promising and exciting young basketball players around, with future superstars winning on multiple occasions. This year's contest did just the same, though for the first time, with a female winner.

For years, the McDonald's games showcased both the top male and female prep stars in the country, a sort of preview of the cream of the incoming freshmen crop. In the competition, Parker out-dunked J.R. Smith, a North Carolina recruit renowned as one of the top high school dunkers of the past decade; Josh Smith, a likely top ten pick in the upcoming NBA draft; and Darius Washington, another possible first-round pick.

All the more remarkable, Parker is less than a year removed from a severe ACL tear that sidelined her for part of the season. Despite the injury, the awe-struck crowd watched silently as Parker delivered the biggest slam for women's athletics since adolescent golfer Michelle Wie almost made the cut at a PGA tour event this past January.

But exactly what does this mean for the future of women's basketball? In a larger sense, what effect will Parker's victory in the contest have on the sporting landscape in America? The two questions have been asked repeatedly and answered with much debate over the past week.

While women's basketball has long been appreciated for its dedication to the fundamentals of the game and spirit amongst competitors, it has failed to truly break through into mainstream American sporting culture. However, many envision positive results for women's hoops as a result of Parker's success.

ESPN.com dedicated the focus of its Web site to Parker under the title "SheBron," a direct reference to NBA rookie phenom and former dunk contest champion LeBron James.

While some see the dunk as a major contribution in the progression of women's basketball, and ultimately, all of women's athletics, not all agree. Jason Whitlock, columnist for the Kansas City Star, claims the dunk was "just another leap backwards" for the women's game, pointing out that she benefited from some missed dunks of other competitors.

He continued, saying, "I realize that sports -- even high school sports -- are nothing more than a vehicle to drive TV ratings. It's all entertainment. I was just disappointed with the unrealistic news coverage of Parker's victory. It was condescending and patronizing."

Parker offered a different spin on the dunk.

"I hope 10 years from now this isn't a big deal," she said. "That would be my dream. That 10 years from now three or four girls enter the dunk contest and it's not a big deal. It's not like, 'Wow, she won.' I hope that happens."

While only a small number of dunks by women have been recorded, approximately five during college games and only one during a WNBA game, Parker's dunk and overall athleticism could be prescient of changing times.

The women's game now shows vestiges of the old-style men's game, Parker's dunk and overall athleticism show a sign of progression toward the style of the men's game. As women's basketball continually struggles for increased television ratings and more fan support, falling behind the likes of the NBA and men's college basketball, the quicker the women's game evolves to appeal more to the masses, the sooner the ratings and support that the game so desires will follow.

However, despite the apparent progression, Parker's dunk appears in the midst of real struggle within women's college basketball. This year's women's tournament, complete with numerous buzzer-beater endings, a true Cinderella story in No. 7-seeded Minnesota reaching the Final Four, and the late-season resurgence of traditional powerhouse Connecticut, continued to lag far behind its male counterpart in the in ratings.

While the women's tournament has seen television ratings up over 50 percent from the previous year, the NCAA still expects to lose money from the tournament for the sixth consecutive year. In contrast, the NCAA historically has profited from the men's tournament, giving back large sums of money to conferences with schools playing in the Final Four.

While not tangibly beneficial at the moment, the promise of attracting more people and interest to the women's game by virtue of Parker's star power and upcoming arrival at the University of Tennessee proves hopeful for the women's game.

Regardless, Candace Parker's achievement in the dunk contest will be remembered, if not for its effects on the sporting culture of America, then for its sheer significance within the women's game. When asked on whether he was upset by losing to a girl, fellow dunk finalist Washington said, "It's a unique thing for a girl to dunk. Once in a blue moon. Congratulations. I'm kind of happy because she went down in history."

Only time will tell what historical mark Parker's dunk truly leaves.
Added April calendar wallpapers featuring Stefanie Powers and Robert Wagner to my "Hart to Hart" and Stefanie Powers sites. Hopefully, people will return monthly to download new ones.

April 14, 2004

UConn center to have surgery to repair torn ACL

STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut center Jessica Moore will have surgery next week to repair a torn knee ligament.

Moore tore her right anterior cruciate ligament while going for a rebound with 6:33 left in the NCAA title game in New Orleans last week.

Team doctors said Moore is expected to return in time for next season.

The 6-foot-3 Moore was a key part of UConn's run to a third straight championship and was selected to the Final Four all-tournament team.

April 12, 2004

PARADE All-Americans:

First Team:

Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood - 2004 Player of the Year
Alexis Hornbuckle
Candace Parker

Second Team:

Nkolika Anosike
Alex Fuller

Plus one:
Sybil Dosty

University of Tennessee Women's Basketball Coach Pat Summitt announced that she had received signed national letters of intent from:

Nkolika (Nikki) Anosike, 6'4", C, Staten Island, N.Y., St. Peter's H.S.;

Sybil Dosty, 6'3", C, Tucson, Ariz., Salpointe Catholic H.S.;

Alexandra (Alex) Fuller, 6'3", F, Shelbyville, Tenn., Shelbyville Central H.S.;

Alexis Hornbuckle, 5'11", G, Charleston, W. Va., South Charleston H.S.;

Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood, 5'9", G, Pomona, Calif., Lynwood H.S.,

Candace Parker, 6'3", F, Naperville, Ill., Naperville Central H.S.

April 11, 2004

Top Stories from Reuters
Falluja Talks to Resume, Iraq Hostage Signs Vary
Bush Says Aug. 6, 2001, Memo Did Not Foretell 9/11
FBI Must Explain 70 Probes Before 9/11-Panelists
U.S. Fighter Jet Could Die to Help Fund War
US Asked Falluja Insurgents to Stop Firing -Bremer
Kerry Marks Easter with Communion at Catholic Mass
Bush Prays with Troops After 'Tough Week' in Iraq
End 'Logic of Death' in Iraq, Mideast, Pope Says
Israeli Sources Say Sharon's Plans to Get U.S. Nod

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Fragile Cease-Fire Holds in Fallujah
Bush Was Satisfied on Pre-9/11 Probes
Town Holds Vigil for Man Kidnapped in Iraq
Mickelson Wins Masters by One Stroke
Study: Audits of Businesses Down Last Year
Kerry Widens Criticism of Bush Economy
U.S. Gasoline Prices Break Records Again
Factional Fighting Spreads in Afghanistan
'Passion' Reclaims Top Box-Office Spot

Yahoo! News Full Coverage
Bush's Pre-9/11 al-Qaida Memo Released
Two Die When U.S. Helicopter Downed in Iraq
Taiwan Election Protesters Clash with Police
Algerian President Wins Landslide Re-Election
Pope Calls for Peace in Easter Message
Wal-Mart to Proceed With California Expansion Plans
Poll: Most Americans Oppose Gay Marriage
New Technology to Help Drowsy Drivers
Federal Agents Seize Baseball Doping Samples

Sports News from Reuters
Mickelson Holds Nerve for First Major Win
NBA Wrap: Martin Helps Nets End Sixers Playoff Chances
NL Wrap: Wood Strikes Out 11 as Cubs Rout Braves
AL Wrap: Zambrano Gets Third Win as Rays Rout Orioles
Roddick Earns U.S. Davis Cup Semifinal with Belarus
Augusta Triumph Seems Make Believe -- Mickelson
Woods Heads for Army Barracks to Ease Masters Pain
Els Disappointed to Miss Out on First Green Jacket
Davenport Beats Mauresmo for 40th Singles Title

Sports News from AP
Mickelson Wins Masters by One Stroke
Kings End Slump With 102-85 Win Over L.A.
Predators Take First-Ever Playoff Victory
Marlins Top Phillies for 3-Game Sweep
Mussina Gets 200th As Yanks Top White Sox
Cubs Down Braves 10-2 Behind Wood's 11 Ks
Canadiens Top Bruins, Trail 2-1 in Series
76ers Out of Playoffs; Celtics Gain Spot
Roddick Puts U.S. in Davis Cup Semis
Top Stories from Reuters
Bush Was Told of Al Qaeda Hijack Preparation
Iraqi Civilians Flee Falluja as Truce Takes Hold
End 'Logic of Death' in Iraq, Mideast, Pope Says
Iraq Holy Festival Winds Down; Sadr Followers Rally
No Word on Japan's Hostages, Families in Anguish
Cole Bombing Clues Could Have Helped Stop 9/ll -Report
US Urged to Mull Deal on Shi'ite Revolt - Council
Iraqi Kidnappers Threaten to Kill U.S. Hostage
Palestinians Expect U.S. Aid if Israel Quits Gaza

Top Stories from AP
Bush's Pre-9/11 al-Qaida Memo Released
U.S. Helicopter Shot Down in Baghdad
Iraq Insurgents Threaten to Kill American
Pope Calls for Peace in Easter Message
Workers Search Rubble of Mexico Explosion
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U.S. Backs Off Bin Laden Capture Forecast
Police Make Arrest in NYC Hospital Rape
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Yahoo! News Full Coverage
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U.S., Fallujah Rebels Agree to 12-Hour Ceasefire
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Poll: Most Americans Oppose Gay Marriage
New Technology to Help Drowsy Drivers
Federal Agents Seize Baseball Doping Samples

April 08, 2004

Summitt: Vols have plenty to be proud of

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee -- Pat Summitt believes her players still have plenty to be proud of despite losing the national championship game to Connecticut.

``They're one of the gutsiest, most determined, most ambitious teams that I've coached in a long time,'' Summitt said.

This season's Lady Vols were considered less talented than previous editions, but they made it to the NCAA final in New Orleans, where they lost to UConn 70-61 Tuesday night.

Leadership from the three seniors, particularly Tasha Butts, helped Tennessee pull out several close victories. Some consider this season Summitt's best coaching job.

And she has helped ensure the Lady Vols make another run next season with a top recruiting class. Summitt, who has won six NCAA titles, also gets back point guard Loree Moore, who missed half of the season with a torn knee ligament.

The Lady Vols finished 31-4 with a difficult schedule that included a win at then-No. 1 Duke and in overtime at Stanford and DePaul. Tennessee won a seventh straight regular-season Southeastern Conference title with a 14-0 record but lost to Georgia in the semifinals of the league tournament.

The Lady Vols were still awarded the overall top seed in the NCAA tournament and started on the road for the first time. Once the Lady Vols got to Norman, Okla., for the Midwest Regional, things got interesting.

Tennessee beat Baylor in the regional semifinal after officials called a foul and put 0.2 seconds back on the clock after time expired. Butts made the free throws for the win.

The Lady Vols beat Stanford in the regional final after Butts scored with 1.7 seconds left, and Nicole Powell missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

In the national semifinals, Tennessee faced LSU and needed another miracle finish.

This time Butts missed a layup, but LSU point guard Temeka Johnson was triple-teamed on the inbounds play. The ball came loose, and Shyra Ely passed it to LaToya Davis for a wide-open layup with 1.6 second left that won the game.

Luck ran out for the Lady Vols against UConn, which became only the second school to win three straight NCAA titles. Summitt's Tennessee team led by Chamique Holdsclaw did it from 1996-98.

Butts and the rest of the current group of seniors will leave school without winning an SEC or national championship during their careers.

``I don't think it takes away from what you did. You have to hold your head up and just know that a lot of teams didn't get here,'' Butts said.

``But when you are a team the caliber of Tennessee you expect to win championships. Obviously we haven't, but I don't think you can take away from what we have accomplished.''

April 06, 2004

Connecticut wins third straight NCAA women's basketball title, beating Tennessee 70-61. SHIT!!!

April 05, 2004

Tennessee is not feeling the love

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Tennessee can do without being America's sweethearts.

The Volunteers would much rather be America's champions.

``We know a lot of people hate Tennessee,'' Shanna Zolman said. ``We know people don't think we should be in this game. We just use that as motivation.''

As Tennessee prepares for its 11th NCAA championship game and looks to win a record seventh title, the players don't think they're being paranoid. They believe they're just stating facts.

``Maybe a lot of people are getting tired of Tennessee, tired of our high profile coach, tired of the orange,'' Tasha Butts said. ``We hear the boos. That motivates us.''

Long before they beat LSU in the semifinals to earn a fourth championship berth against Connecticut, the Vols were hearing their detractors.

It might have been Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma who called Tennessee the evil empire, but they don't think many others are giving them love.

``When you succeed a lot of people get tired of you,'' Shyra Ely said. ``They hate you or they love you.''

Tennessee has worn its welcome thin with outstanding success.

Under coach Pat Summitt the Vols have an 851-166 record. They are 85-16 in the NCAA tournament and have double-digit wins over 28 teams.

The path to the Final Four was tougher than usual for Tennessee this year. Not just because the Vols had to win four on the road, but because of all the things they had to over come to get to the tournament -- the absence of a dominating player, injuries and players moving to new positions.

The lack of respect for what they have accomplished is what really galls the team.

``We know everybody is against us,'' Butts said. ``People don't give us any credit for what we've done this year. We didn't have any big blowouts in the tournament, so they say we were just lucky.''

Tennessee arrived at Tuesday's title game thanks to three straight last-second wins.

The Vols got to the Final Four on a pair of free throws and a basket in the last seconds by Butts. They also got a break after officials called a disputed foul as time expired and put two-tenths of a second back on the clock to set up one of those wins.

Tennessee's 52-50 victory over LSU also was on a final play.

``I've heard from a lot of coaches that a little bit of luck is always needed to win the championship,'' Zolman said. ``Obviously we've had some luck on our side. Now we have one more game to prove how good or how lucky we can be.''
NCAA Men's Basketball Championship - Georgia Tech is getting the shit kicked out of them by UConn. :-( :-( :-(
Even Rival Must Marvel at Summitt's Latest Run


SHE has no one player of national acclaim. She lost her point guard along the way. Devoid of those twin driving forces of the women's college game, Pat Summitt still made it to the final day of the women's college basketball season last night, her unimposing but resourceful team in tow, the crush of Halloween orange that is the Tennessee fan base close behind.

Trick or treat? Depends on the color of one's crusade, but even a longtime antagonist, the Yankee enemy who tagged Tennessee as the Evil Empire, has to grudgingly admire Summitt's latest climb to the national title game, after a third straight 40-minute scrape for survival and a 52-50 victory over Louisiana State.

"At places like Tennessee, that's what's expected," said Connecticut Coach Geno Auriemma, who understands the concept and lived up to his end when Minnesota couldn't quite complete a second-half rally and dropped a 67-58 decision in the second semifinal.

This isn't to depict Tennessee, of all schools, and Summitt, of all coaches, as Cinderella in sweats, or to forget the endgame assist they received against Baylor from bumbling officials in the Round of 16. But three straight 2-point victories obviously speak to a common denominator called coach. Without that aforementioned go-to player or the injured point guard, Loree Moore, Summitt has driven her team to a 31-3 record, in the pursuit of her seventh championship.

"She probably does her best coaching when she doesn't have the superstar with the big ego, when she doesn't have to worry about getting any one player her shots," said Mickie DeMoss, Summitt's former assistant and chief recruiter, who this season became the head coach at Kentucky.

Believe me, Summitt would have taken another scorer, while watching her team stagger into tomorrow in the lowest-scoring Final Four game in history, with 32 percent shooting, and behind a high scorer, Shanna Zolman, with all of 12 points. But the signature move was defensive, a decision to press and double-team Temeka Johnson, the 5-foot-3 L.S.U. point guard, who played hurt and hard, but turned the ball over in traffic, in the backcourt, leading to LaToya Davis's layup with one second left.

"Fortunately, we survived," Summitt said. Soon, she was peeking at the television screen, keeping an eye on Auriemma and UConn, L.S.U. already in the rear-view mirror, like all the others left behind along the road to 15 Final Fours and 11 title games.

Auriemma beat Summitt last year in the final and has won the last two, three of four. He has been to the Final Four an unprecedented five straight years and 7 of 10. But compared to Summitt, who won her first national title in 1977, he's Derek Jeter alongside Lou Gehrig.

How many coaches in all of sports have remained relevant, much less dominant, in four different decades? Summitt won during the pre-N.C.A.A. women's era when the competition was Immaculata and Southern Connecticut (for those in the Nutmeg State who think Auriemma invented the game). She grew along with the women's sports movement, building the three-peat powerhouse around Chamique Holdsclaw in the mid 1990's, climaxing with her last title and an unbeaten season in 1998.

From the outside looking in, it must not be difficult — especially for those threatened by uncompromisingly competitive women — to be tired of seeing Summitt stalking the sideline, year after year.

The obvious exception would be DeMoss, who after 18 years gathered her emotions and left the nest in Knoxville to embrace the chore of putting Kentucky on the map in the conference shadow of the mother of all women's programs.

"I look at Tennessee so much clearer now," DeMoss said. "When you're in that situation for as long as I was, you almost get a tunnel vision. You see Pat's system as the only system, Tennessee as the only standard. Now Pat will say to me, `Oh, we looked terrible last night,' and I'll say, `Pat, did you see the score?' "

By next year, reloaded with a fresh batch of high school all-Americans, Summitt won't have to beg, borrow and steal her way to 52 points anymore. In 50 years, no one will remember how ugly her offense was last night, especially during a 19-point first half, about which Summitt said, "I probably should talk about my lack of ability to coach the first 20 minutes."

The Lady Vols improved enough to make it to the last six seconds of emergency surgery, the extraction of another gut-wrenching victory.

After all the happy parity talk based on hotly contested regionals, the final pits irascible Geno against pit bull Pat, the fourth such occasion in the last 10 years.

As the primary target of Auriemma's pointed needling that is certain to surface today, you know Summitt is burning to deny him the three-peat he covets, with Diana Taurasi on her way out.

"Pat's a Southern country girl who doesn't know how to respond to Geno," Mickie DeMoss said. "I've told her, `Don't take it personally, take it light-hearted.' "

Pat Summitt, light? That'll be the day.
Lady Vols Edge LSU by 2 to Play for Title

NEW ORLEANS - LaToya Davis scored with 1.6 seconds left after LSU's Temeka Johnson lost the ball in the backcourt, giving Tennessee a 52-50 victory over the Lady Tigers in the national semifinals Sunday night.

Tennessee's LaToya Davis (4) celebrates after her last second shot beat Louisiana State, 52-50, in the NCAA Women's national semifinals Sunday, April 4, 2004, in New Orleans.

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt yells to her team in the first half against Louisiana State in the NCAA Women's national semifinals Sunday, April 4, 2004, in New Orleans.

Tennessee, the lone No. 1 seed in the Final Four, will play Connecticut, a 67-58 winner over Minnesota. It will be the second straight title game between the two, and the fourth time in the last 10 years. Connecticut has won all three meetings.

Nothing has come easy for the Lady Vols this season, but remarkable balance and resiliency have put them in their 11th NCAA championship game.

It was the third straight two-point, last-second victory for the Lady Vols, who had only three players score in double figures.

With the score tied 50-50 and the clock running down, once again Tennessee put the ball in the hands of Tasha Butts, who scored the winning points in the Lady Vols' last two narrow wins.

She missed this time, giving LSU the ball with 6 seconds left. But Tennessee trapped Johnson in the backcourt, forcing the turnover. The ball squirted out and Shyra Ely came up with it and quickly fed Davis underneath for an uncontested layup.

Tennessee will seek an NCAA-best seventh title against Connecticut.

Seimone Augustus led LSU with 16 points and nine rebounds, but her shooting percentage plummeted from the previous games in the tournament. She carried the Lady Tigers to their first Final Four by making 67 percent of her shots.

She finished 7-for-21 against Tennessee. Johnson had nine points and eight assists for LSU.

Shanna Zolman led Tennessee (31-3) with 12 points, hitting a 3-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer with 1:38 left to give Tennessee a 50-46 lead.

LSU (27-8) rallied to tie it at 50 when Johnson drove and passed to Tillie Willis with 27.2 seconds left.

But Davis made the final basket. Tennessee players leapt and punched their fists in the air, while LSU looked stunned. The Lady Tigers inbounded to Johnson, whose half-court attempt left her hands late and was well off the mark.

It was the lowest scoring game in women's Final Four history. The previous was in the 1985 semifinal game in which Old Dominion defeated and Louisiana-Monroe 57-47.

It was a sour end to a feel-good run by LSU. Longtime coach Sue Gunter has been watching games from home since early this season because of respiratory problems.

Assistant Pokey Chatman took over and led the Tigers to their first Final Four. Gunter watched the semifinal from a nearby hotel room.

What she saw was fierce defensive intensity from her players, who frustrated Tennessee's shooters throughout the game only to come up heartbroken in the wild final seconds.

Butts had only 11 points to go with 11 rebounds for Tennessee, while Davis finished with 10 on her buzzer-beater.

Tennessee shot only 29 percent from the floor through the first 30 minutes, but LSU could not capitalize because Augustus started 4-for-15.

The Lady Vols, who started 0-for-9 from 3-point range, suddenly got the shooting they needed midway through the second half, with 3s by Sidney Spencer and Zolman and a strong inside basket by Tye'sha Fluker comprising an 8-2 run to tie the score at 34.

Tennessee is used to dominating its Southeastern Conference rivals. The Lady Vols were 31-7 against LSU, including an 85-62 victory on Feb. 29.

But Tennessee looked tight early, hitting less than 30 percent of its shots through the first 12:02 in falling behind 15-10.

The Vols briefly tied the game at 18 on Butts' jumper, but LSU maintained high-intensity defense.

Doneeka Hodges had three steals in the final minute of the first half, the first led to a fast-break basket inside by Augustus that gave LSU a 25-19 halftime lead.

It was the lowest-scoring first half of the season for the Vols, who were shooting only 29 percent (8-of-28) from the floor.

Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt looks on as her son, Tyler, twirls a ball during practice at the Women's Final Four, Saturday, April 3, 2004 in New Orleans. Tennessee plays LSU in the national semifinals on Sunday night.

April 04, 2004

Tennessee 52 - LSU 50 ------- UConn 67 - Minnesota 58 ------- Tennessee - UConn for the National Championship Tuesday

Strong get stronger in women's college hoops

NEW ORLEANS -- Candace Parker, the girl who outdunks the boys, watched this Final Four three levels up from the court.

Next year, she figures to have a better view -- smack in the middle of the action.

"I definitely can visualize myself in that position," the best female high school player in the country said after she calmed down from some feverish cheering following Tennessee's 52-50 win Sunday night against LSU.

"This game was very motivational. My heart rate was up, the hairs were standing up on my arm, it was so exciting."

It also seemed unfair.

Here was Tennessee playing in its 15th Final Four, all under Hall of Fame head coach Pat Summitt, and watching from the stands were incredible recruits who could have stepped on the court without the Lady Vols missing a beat.

More than that, they would have made Tennessee's path to the championship game against Connecticut a lot easier.

Wait 'til next year, indeed.

Parker outdunks boys. Alexis Hornbuckle, the Women's Basketball Association Player of the Year, may be the best high school guard in the country. Three others, Nkolika Anosike, Sade Wiley-Gatewood and Alex Fuller, played with them in the Women's Basketball Coaches All-America game on Saturday night. They all sat together in the nosebleed section of the New Orleans Arena on Sunday night, cheering madly and imagining themselves on a Final Four court next year.

"I don't take anything for granted but that's where I want to be," Parker said, displaying Tennessee's colors with a feathery orange and white boa draped around her neck. "I wanted to be with the best. We have the best recruiting class coming in and it will help every day in practice."

If Connecticut comes across as the New York Yankees of women's college hoops, each year getting big names in pursuit of titles, Tennessee is just as tenacious in going after talent. There are two reason why they are in position to win an unprecedented seventh championship: Summitt and the players she recruits.

The lean, 6-foot-3 Parker's specialty and attention grabber is her dunks -- she won the McDonald's All-American slam dunk contest last week against five boys -- but she has the whole package.

"I can hit threes," she said without a trace of shyness.

Her rebounding, shooting, passing, dribbling, and the defense that Summitt will drill into her, may very well carry Tennessee back to the Final Four next year.

"Candace is a player who, unlike what we have seen in the past, can not only dunk the basketball, but in a variety of ways play above the rim," Summitt said.

Summitt is losing three starters from this year's team -- seniors Tasha Butts, Ashley Robinson, and LaToya Davis, who scored the winning shot against LSU with 1.6 seconds left -- but the Fab Five coming in should make the Lady Vols even stronger next year.

Parker learned her ballhandling skills when she played point guard from ages 7-10. She was the tallest ballhandler in her league, but her family insisted she play point guard because they worried she might stop growing and take after her 5-foot-5 grandmother.

"But I kept growing and growing," she said. At 17, she might still be growing.

Though she has been in the limelight for a long time, being compared favorably to Cheryl Miller and Chamique Holdsclaw, Parker was surprised by the attention she got after winning the slam dunk contest last week.

"I just hope that doesn't overshadow other things in my game, like my ballhandling and my ability to hit shots," she said. "Eventually I think that will get noticed."

Her coach at Naperville Central High School in suburban Chicago, Andy Nussbaum, is confident everyone will notice quickly how talented Parker is.

"Candace has the chance to be the greatest female player on the planet. I really believe that," Nussbaum said.

"Four years from now we may be saying that she's the greatest to play at Tennessee -- and that's really something."

Summitt sees a player who could revolutionize women's basketball -- aside from being among only a handful who have dunked in a game -- and bring more attention to the sport.

"Candace is the most versatile 6-3 player (at this stage) that I've ever seen," Summitt said. "She has the ability to play every position on the floor, from point guard to post."

Two days after winning the slam dunk contest, Parker hit the rim on a dunk attempt in her West team's 91-66 loss to the East in the McDonald's All-American girls game.

"I just didn't get my footing right," Parker said.

Hornbuckle, 5-11 from South Charleston, W.Va., scored a record 22 points to lead the East and disrupted her future teammate's dunk try.

"If my team is playing and I'm on the court, I don't want to be the one who's dunked on," Hornbuckle said.

After her miss, Parker turned and looked for Hornbuckle.

"I was just, 'Gosh, why did you have to break it up?"' Parker said.

Next year, those moments will happen only in scrimmages.
Summitt feels for ailing LSU coach
The Kansas City Star

NEW ORLEANS — Tennessee coach Pat Summitt has been to the Women's Final Four 15 times. So she can scarcely imagine what it would be like to coach 40 seasons, have your program go to its first Final Four ... and not be on the sidelines.

But that's the situation Summitt's friend, LSU coach Sue Gunter, is in. Health problems forced Gunter to take a medical leave of absence for the rest of the season in February.

So when LSU meets Tennessee tonight at 6 in the first women's national semifinal game at New Orleans Arena, Gunter will just be watching. And here the Final Four is an hour down the road from the LSU campus where Gunter has coached since 1982. How about that luck?

And guess who was supposed to coach the 1980 Olympic team, which didn't compete because of the U.S. boycott? Gunter.

“It breaks my heart that she cannot be on the bench for this,” Summitt said Saturday. “Because of all she's meant to so many players and coaches and just people that love this game. Obviously, that doesn't seem fair.

“But the way she's handled this is the way she's handled everything. With a very positive, upbeat attitude. So I wish her the very best.”

And that will be the extent of Summitt's sympathy. Because she's out to win her program's seventh NCAA title, and LSU is in the way. Tennessee, the overall No. 1 seed in this tournament, has stomped on the dreams of more than a few fellow Southeastern Conference teams over the years.

Tennessee is 12-2 in NCAA Tournament games against the SEC; the Vols' last NCAA loss to a team from its league was in 1985. They are 4-0 in the Final Four vs. SEC teams.

“One thing it does, it gives us a chance to have a feel for what they like to do offensively and defensively,” Summitt said of facing SEC teams in the postseason. “And I think it helps cut down on the preparation time of trying to figure out personnel, and really study an opponent.

“Fortunately for us, we have had some success. But this is a new year and a new challenge.”

Tennessee beat LSU 85-62 in Knoxville, Tenn., on Feb. 29, stretching the Vols' series lead over the Tigers to 31-7. Tennessee outrebounded LSU 44-28 in that game, and the emphasis tonight for both teams will be on the boards.

“Everybody for us is going to really have to concentrate on rebounds,” said LSU sophomore Seimone Augustus, who was selected as a Kodak All-American on Saturday. “But especially, we have to hit the offensive boards and get some second chances.”

Here's a scary thought for LSU fans: Augustus might have been wearing orange tonight. The recruiting battle for her went down to Tennessee and LSU, and the Baton Rouge, La., native decided to stay at home.

“I feel very proud about leading my hometown team to the Final Four,” Augustus said. “I wanted to go somewhere that it hadn't been done and make that happen.”

But she admits it's been a little crazy with ticket requests.

“There have been a lot of strange phone calls from people I swear I've never heard from before,” Augustus said. “But none of the coaches have let us be too overwhelmed by anything.”

Running the show now as interim coach for LSU is former All-American guard Dana “Pokey” Chatman, who was a senior for the Tigers the last time the Final Four was in New Orleans, in 1991.

“Pokey is a lot like (current LSU point guard) Temeka Johnson: very quick with the ball, a big playmaker,” Summitt said. “I thought the team took on her personality. And she was tough.

“I could see her coaching, most definitely. And now I see Sue Gunter Jr. on the bench. Just watching her demeanor and her interaction with the players, I see Pokey is handling things a lot like Sue would handle them.”

For her part, Chatman hopes the focus will be on her players and not on the bittersweet coaching situation. Yet she admits it feels very good to be here, especially considering that when she was a senior at LSU, the Tigers were upset in the NCAA second round.

“Not that it replaces the disappointment of '91,” Chatman said, “it just gives you a sense of enjoyment from a different perspective.”

LSU (4) vs. Tennessee (1)

• WHEN/WHERE: 6 tonight at New Orleans Arena

• TV/RADIO: ESPN; no radio

LSU (27-7)

P No. Player Ht. Yr. PPG RPG
G 2 Temeka Johnson 5-3 Sr. 12.9 4.9
G 45 Doneeka Hodges 5-9 Sr. 14.1 3.8
G 33 Seimone Augustus 6-1 So. 19.5 5.9
F 42 Tillie Willis 6-3 Jr. 3.6 4.4
F 32 Wendlyn Jones 6-1 So. 6.5 5.3
Top reserves
G 32 Scholanda Hoston 5-10 So. 8.7 2.4
F 42 Hanna Bieracka 6-1 Fr. 4.5 3.4
C 50 Treynell Clavelle 6-5 So. 3.7 3.3


P No. Player Ht. Yr. PPG RPG
F 4 LaToya Davis 6-0 Sr. 5.0 3.2
F 43 Shyra Ely 6-2 Jr. 15.0 8.0
C 33 Ashley Robinson 6-5 Sr. 8.1 6.4
G 3 Tasha Butts 5-11 Sr. 10.4 5.2
G 5 Shanna Zolman 5-10 So. 12.1 2.6
Top reserves
F 1 Sidney Spencer 6-3 Fr. 5.6 3.5
C 50 Tye'sha Fluker 6-5 So. 5.5 3.2
G 25 Brittany Jackson 6-0 Jr. 7.6 2.0

• LAST 10: LSU 7-3, Tennessee 9-1.

• ABOUT LSU: The Tigers have gotten hot at just the right time, and the offensive execution has made a big difference during the tournament. ... In the NCAA games, Augustus has shown herself as a true elite player, and earned Kodak All-America honors on Saturday. ... Five of LSU's losses this season were to fellow Southeastern Conference teams.

• ABOUT TENNESSEE: The Vols lost point guard Loree Moore in January, and Butts has taken over that role since. ... Tennessee's rebounding prowess has been the key factor in its NCAA victories thus far. ... The Vols haven't won an NCAA title since their championship in Kemper Arena in 1998. ... Ely was selected as a Kodak All-American on Saturday.

• BOTTOM LINE: Tennessee has had a ton of success against fellow SEC schools in the NCAA Tournament. And Tennessee can counterbalance the Tigers' superior quickness on the perimeter with a stronger inside game. LSU has been on a roll but the Tigers will have to rebound far better than they did in their regular-season loss to Tennessee.
GOOD-LUCK CHARM: When the Lady Vols won the national title in 1991, a 6-month-old baby got some of the credit -- Pat Summitt's son, Tyler.

"I remember handing Tyler over the railing (at Lakefront Arena) so all the players could kiss him," said R.B. Summitt, Tyler's father.

"He was our good-luck charm," Caldwell said. "He helped us out in so many ways. Tyler has been a joy for us."

Now 13, Tyler said he isn't sure he's going for that kiss-on-the-forehead thing again.

"I don't know about that," he said.

A NEW JOB: When the season started, junior point guard Loree Moore was in charge of running the Lady Vols offense. Today, her job has changed. A knee injury in January has turned Moore into a spectator and the team's No. 1 cheerleader.

"Sometimes I can see things from the sideline that they can't see," Moore said. "I can also help motivate them while on the bench. I just try to do the little things.

"If cheerleading's what I have do, then that's it."
UT coach keeps team at summit
Summitt remains driven to win big after decades of peak success

Pat Summitt won't lie about it. She admits she is as intense and demanding as she looks on the sideline during a Tennessee Lady Vols basketball game. She yells and screams. She chides and challenges.

But there's another side to Summitt that people don't see.

The side that gives a tremendous amount of time to charities and to her fellow coaches. It's the side of a family woman, a wife and a soccer mom. A woman, her friends and colleagues say, who has a sense of humor and loves to have a good time.

"It's interesting to listen to her sorority sisters tell stories about her when she was younger," said assistant Nikki Caldwell, who played for Summitt 10 years ago. "Sometimes it's hard to imagine that being Pat that they're talking about, but she's like everybody else. This is a woman who talks to her mom every day. Every day."

And then there are those Kodak moments when Summitt's 13-year-old son, Ross Tyler, appears.

"Sometimes they'll be sitting courtside, and she'll have her arm around him, and they'll be having a mother-son talk. She just lights up when they're together," Caldwell said.

But it's the other side that Summitt can't escape. The high-strung person that is driven to win, win and win. A drive that she possessed long before she became the 22-year-old coach of the Lady Vols in 1974.

"I hated losing," Summitt said. "I still hate to lose."

Maybe that's why Summitt has never had a losing season during her 30 seasons at Tennessee. Her teams have won six NCAA championships and 13 Southeastern Conference titles while compiling an 851-166 record (an .837 winning percentage). It averages out to 28.7 wins and 5.5 losses a year. Since the 1984-85 season, none of her teams have won fewer than 21 games.

Summitt's last team to win a national championship, the 1997-98 squad, was 39-0.

What Summitt has done in Knoxville, Tenn., over the years is build a Goliath. She has turned the Lady Vols into one of the nation's two premier women's basketball programs, and one of the most dominating programs in college athletics. Tennessee is making its 15th Final Four appearance.

"The thing that separates Tennessee from the rest is longevity," said Kentucky coach Mickie DeMoss, who spent 18 years as an assistant to Summitt. "It's remarkable what they've done year-in and year-out."

While Summitt has constructed the women's program that everyone wants to emulate, she's beginning to sense that its success has also made it one that so many love to hate.

"In a way, I think it has," Summitt said. "Maybe it's just more of people cheering for the underdog. The hard part about it is the more competitiveness brings out the negative. I find that hard to take. "

Deep down, Summitt realizes it has become more than just rooting against the favorite. The woman who has helped make women's college basketball what it is today has long been hearing about the tactics used by other coaches who also are battling Tennessee for some of the nation's top prep recruits.

"It happens a lot in recruiting," DeMoss said. "They can't say anything positive about their program and they try to bring Tennessee down to their level. (Summitt) gives back to coaches and the profession, and she takes it personal. I took it personal when I was there, but I tell her not to take it personal."

Said Caldwell: "Yes, it bothers her. What bothers her most is when it's attacking her family; we are her family."

Summitt grew up in a close-knit family on a farm in Henritta, Tenn. She attended Tennessee-Martin, where she played basketball and volleyball. In the fourth game of her senior basketball season, she tore an ACL.

"I remember the doctor telling me and my dad that they could operate on the knee or just let it heal with time," Summitt said. "And I remember my dad saying to the doctor, 'You don't understand, she's going to be an Olympian.' He saw more potential in me than I did. That was good, because it challenged me to get busy with my rehab."

She went on to rehabilitate the knee and play for Billie Moore on the 1976 U.S. Olympic team that won the silver medal in Montreal. She was the co-captain of the team.

"She didn't play the type of role she played before because of the injury," said Moore, who remembers telling Summitt she'd need to lose 10-15 pounds and be best in the best shape of her life to make the team.

"I think she lost 20 to 25 pounds," Moore said. "That told me a lot about her. When she sets her mind to do something, she's willing to do whatever it takes. She loves to win, but she's willing to prepare herself more than most of her opponents."

To this day, the toughness and tunnel vision Summitt displayed as a player are still with her. When basketball season begins, there aren't too many other things that can grab her attention.

R.B. Summitt, Pat's husband of nearly 24 years and president of a Knoxville bank, said: "I don't talk much banking at home. It's mostly basketball."

Just how focused can Summitt be? Real focused, said R.B.

Point in case: R.B. decided to get rid of his car and get an SUV. He brought it home and parked it in the family's two-car garage. When Pat got home from practice, she parked her car next to the new SUV and walked into the house.

"We'll, what'd you think about it?" R.B. asked.

"Think about what?"

"Did you park in the garage? And you didn't see anything different?"

"There she was eight feet away, and she didn't see another car that sat several feet higher than hers," R.B. said. "She just has an intense focus about her."

And Summitt wants her players to be the same way.

"It takes a certain kind of person to play here," said Holly Warlick, who played for Summitt and has been one of her assistants for 19 years. "She gets on you, but she does a lot more praising. She's learned over the years to motivate each player differently."

After 30 seasons, there isn't much left for Summitt to accomplish. A motivational speaker who has written two books, Summitt earns nearly $1 million a year. She's already been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women's Basketball and Sports Foundation halls of fame, and has been selected for countless coach of the year awards.

Moore considers Summitt to be one of the fortunate ones.

"Very few get an opportunity to find something they're passionate about," Moore said. "She's very lucky. She's found something she loves."