Finally, she showed her age. The freshman, who averaged 12.5 points this season, did not attempt a shot from the field and made a mental mistake with a turnover late in the first half. She picked up her third foul in the first minute of the second half and looked overmatched all night. This Prince will rise again -- there's plenty of talent here.
There are plenty of freshmen on Rutgers' bench and unfortunately none were named Greg Oden or Mike Conley Jr. Backup center Rashidat Junaid helped slow down LSU center Sylvia Fowles but she looked overmatched against Nicky Anosike and Parker.
C. Vivian Stringer, Coach
Stringer got more out of this team than she could ever have imagined. No team seeded fourth or lower has ever won this tournament and it was a tall order to beat a gifted Tennessee team with Rutgers' five freshmen and three sophomores. Stringer could not come up with anything to combat Tennessee's size, especially with an untimely night of cold shooting (Rutgers was 2-of-10 from beyond the arc.) Stringer opted not to press on defense until deep into the second half. Too little, too late. Her team looked overmatched and a little scared. That's the downside of being young.
Spencer is one of those glue players every team needs to win. Though Rutgers center Kia Vaughn had a good night, Spencer at least made her work for it. She hit a big -- make that BIG -- three-pointer with just less than two minutes to go in the first half to extend the Lady Vols' lead to 27-18.
Championship games define great players. Parker was not spectacular but she was ruthlessly efficient. She showed off her passing skills by finding open cutters and gave Tennessee a boost by scoring the team's first four points of the second half. Parker snagged a huge offensive rebound with 1:45 left and hit six straight free throws in the final two minutes to put the game on ice. What's next? Perhaps another title next April.
Behold, the distaff Dennis Rodman. The junior was demonic on the boards. She had three offensive rebounds in the first 4:38 and eight rebounds in the first half. She finished with 16 rebounds. That's 16 rebounds in a final. Anosike received a standing ovation when coach Pat Summitt removed her with 48-seconds left. The three letters I would give her: M-O-P. Instead, she'll have to settle for the one below.
She opened the game with a three-pointer and her timely shooting deflated Rutgers. Bobbitt had three second-half three-pointers in a span of 2:43, including a dagger with just less than 12 minutes left to push the lead to 41-28. She even had an offensive rebound. No big deal, you say? Bobbitt is 5-foot-2 on a good day. Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer will be seeing those three-pointers in her sleep.
How big was reserve shooting guard Alberta Auguste? She was 4-of-5 from the field in the first half and also grabbed five rebounds. The Lady Vols basically played six players on the night. That's all they needed.
Pat Summitt, Coach
Summitt probably won her seventh national title three years ago when Parker, Hornbuckle and Anoiske arrived on campus. She got a number of players involved early -- especially Bobbitt -- and drilled her players on how to handle Rutgers when the Scarlet Knights went to zone. The Tennessee bench got a warning for being too demonstrative. That was the only misstep by Pat's crew all night.
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