Sports 101

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

No real surprises in the women's National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament this year. Connecticut, which dominated all but one opponent it faced this season, has the top seed in the 64-team tournament. The Huskies stayed No. 1 all season, only the fourth time a team has accomplished such a feat. Connecticut will host first- and second-round games starting today.

Q: Which teams have made the most tournament appearances?

A: Tennessee and Louisiana Tech have been chosen for every NCAA tournament since 1982. Alcorn State, Campbell, Hampton, Pepperdine, and Rice are competing for the first time.

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Q: Who won the tournament last year?

A: Purdue University, the No. 4 seed this year, will defend its title at home tomorrow against Dartmouth. The team's stars last season, graduates Stephanie White-McCarty and Ukari Figgs, and coach Carolyn Peck all left for the WNBA. But the Boilermakers have a respectable record (22-7) and have won 13 of their last 15 games.

Q: What is the highly anticipated match of the series?

A: Connecticut and Tennessee, which pinned the only loss on the Huskies this season; both were No. 1 in their conferences (Big East and Southeastern). They are placed on opposite sides of the bracket, meaning they could play each other in the championship game.

Q: Which are the players to watch in the tournament?

A: Connecticut's Sue Bird is the best point guard in the nation, and teammate Shea Ralph is the Big East player of the year; Tennessee's Tamika Catchings is an all-around player, leading the Lady Vols in scoring (15.5 points), steals (82), and rebounds (7.5); and LaToya Thomas of Mississippi State was the top scorer in the Southeastern Conference, averaging 20.7 points per game.

Q: Where and when is the Final Four?

A: At the First Union Center in Philadelphia, March 31 and April 2.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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