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.
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.
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