Game day: UConn, Baylor, Stanford and Oklahoma battle
None of the head coaches in this Final Four are strangers to the event:
Kim Mulkey (Baylor) – 2-0 (1.000)
Geno Auriemma (Connecticut) – 12-4 (.750)
Tara VanDerveer (Stanford) – 5-4 (.556)
Sherri Coale (Oklahoma) – 1-2 (.333)
Baylor and UConn have never played against each other.
The NCAA provided some of these game notes:
- Of the four Womenâ€™s Final Four teams competing here in San Antonio, UConn is the only team not to feature any student-athletes from the state of Texas.
- Of the four head coaches in the 2010 Womenâ€™s Final Four, all have ties to USA Basketball, but only Stanfordâ€™s Tara VanDerveer coached the U.S. Womenâ€™s Olympic Basketball Team (gold medal at 1996 Atlanta Games). UConnâ€™s Geno Auriemma has been selected as the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team coach.
- Including this yearâ€™s participants (Baylor and Oklahoma), the Big 12 Conference has had six Womenâ€™s Final Four participants since the leagueâ€™s inception in 1996-97. Oklahoma has made the most Womenâ€™s Final Four appearances among Big 12 schools with three (2002, 2009, 2010), while Baylor has two (2005, 2010) and Texas had one (2003). Texas also had two as a member of the Southwest Conference (1986, 1987), as did fellow SWC transplant Texas Tech in 1993. Baylorâ€™s 2005 title remains the lone national championship won by a Big 12 school in the conferenceâ€™s 14-year existence.
- Tennessee owns the most NCAA titles with eight, followed by UConn (6); Stanford (2); USC (2).
- Tennessee owns the most NCAA Womenâ€™s Final Four appearances with 18, followed by UConn (11) and Stanford (9).
- This is the first time that the Southeastern Conference has had no representative at consecutive Womenâ€™s Final Fours. Last year was the first absence of an SEC team since 2001.
- This yearâ€™s NCAA Championship represented the first time Tennessee had ever failed to reach the regional finals in consecutive seasons.
- The NCAA Womenâ€™s Final Four is being held for the fourth time in a domed facility but itâ€™s the first time in a dome since 2005 when Baylor won the title at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. The Womenâ€™s Final Four was also held in a domed facility in 2002 (San Antonio won by UConn here at the Alamodome) and in 2003 (Atlanta won by UConn at the Georgia Dome).
- The Womenâ€™s Final Four returns to Texas for the fourth time, having also been played in the Lone Star State in 1985 (at Austin, Texas â€“ Old Dominion defeated Georgia in final, 70-65), 1987 (at Austin, Texas â€“ Tennessee defeated Louisiana Tech in final, 67-44) and 2002 (at San Antonio, Texas â€“ Connecticut defeated Oklahoma in final, 82-70).
- This will mark the seventh consecutive year (and 16th time overall) that one conference has sent multiple teams to the Womenâ€™s Final Four; this is also the first time that the Big 12 has sent two teams to the same Womenâ€™s Final Four.
- This is the first time the Womenâ€™s Final Four has had two private schools (Baylor, Stanford).
- Should both win their semifinal games, Connecticut and Oklahoma would meet in a rematch of the 2002 NCAA championship game won by the Huskies, 82-70 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Other previous NCAA title game rematches have featured Connecticut-Tennessee (1995, 2000, 2003, 2004 – all won by Connecticut) and Louisiana Tech-Tennessee (1987, 1998 – both won by Tennessee).
- Womenâ€™s Final Four three-peats â€” should UConn and Stanford advance, it would be their third consecutive matchup in Womenâ€™s Final Four, but first in the national championship game (the two sides split national semifinal contests, with Stanford winning, 82-73 at Tampa in 2008 and UConn returning the favor, 83-64 at St. Louis in 2009). The last time the same two teams met in three consecutive Womenâ€™s Final Fours was 2002-04, when Connecticut and Tennessee squared off in the championship game (2002 in San Antonio) and semifinals (2003 in Atlanta; 2004 in New Orleans), with the Huskies winning all three matchups.
- Baylor is the ninth home state team to reach the Womenâ€™s Final Four, and the first since LSU in 2004 (New Orleans â€“lost 52-50 to Tennessee in national semifinals). Other home-state Womenâ€™s Final Four qualifiers are: Old Dominion (1983 â€“ Norfolk), USC (1984 â€“ Los Angeles), Western Kentucky (1986 â€“ Lexington), Texas (1987 â€“ Austin), Stanford (1992 â€“ Los Angeles), Penn State (2000 â€“ Philadelphia) and Missouri State (2001 â€“ St. Louis). Those eight prior home-state participants went a combined 2-6 (.250) in the national semifinals — only USC and Stanford won their national semifinal contests, with both going on to win the national championship (Stanford won the most recent home-state title, defeating Western Kentucky, 78-62 in the 1992 NCAA final in Los Angeles).
- At 6-foot-8, freshman center Brittney Griner is the second-tallest player in Womenâ€™s Final Four history. Anne Donovan, who led Old Dominion to the 1983 Womenâ€™s Final Four, was the tallest at 6-foot-10.
Griner has a Baylor school-record three triple-doubles this season. There have been 11 triple-doubles in NCAA Championship history, but none in the Womenâ€™s Final Four. The last triple-double at any point in the NCAA Championship occurred on March 27, 2005, when Michigan Stateâ€™s Kristin Haynie had 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a Kansas City Regional semifinal win over Vanderbilt.
- Grinerâ€™s 218 blocks so far this season broke the Baylor, Big 12 and NCAA single-season records. Grinerâ€™s 14-block effort against Georgetown in a Memphis Region second-round game (at Berkeley, Calif.) set a single-game tournament record.
With 10 blocks against Tennessee in the Memphis Regional semifinals, Griner became the first player with 10+ blocks in multiple tournament games.
Grinerâ€™s 35 blocks have
- roken the NCAA tournament record previously set by Dukeâ€™s Alison Bales in 2006 (30 blocks in six games). Rebecca Lobo (UConn, 1995) and Courtney Paris (Oklahoma, 2009) are tied for third with 22 blocks.
- In the history of womenâ€™s collegiate basketball, only seven college women have ever dunked and only one has dunked in an NCAA tournament game (none in the Womenâ€™s Final Four). Tennesseeâ€™s Candace Parker had two dunks against Army in a 2006 first round game in Norfolk, Va.
- Baylor, Duke and Kentucky were the three schools that advanced both their womenâ€™s and menâ€™s teams to the regional semifinals (Sweet 16) of this yearâ€™s NCAA Championship.
- Kim Mulkey is the only person in womenâ€™s college basketball history to win a national title as a player (Louisiana Tech in 1982), an assistant coach (Louisiana Tech in 1988) and a head coach (Baylor in 2005).
- UConn is seeking the sixth undefeated season in NCAA womenâ€™s basketball history. The Huskies already own three of those marks. Other undefeated teams include 1986 Texas (34-0), 1995 UConn (35-0), 1998 Tennessee (39-0), 2002 UConn (39-0), 2009 UConn (39-0).
For the fourth time overall and first time in back-to-back seasons, the Huskies have brought an undefeated team into the NCAA tournament (1994-95, 2001-02, 2008-09 and 2009-10).
- If Connecticut runs the table, it will be the first NCAA Division I womenâ€™s team ever, and first team since John Woodenâ€™s UCLA teams of 1972 and 1973, to win back-to-back national championship undefeated seasons.
- UConn is the only school that has had its menâ€™s and womenâ€™s programs win national titles in the same year (2004).
- All three of UConnâ€™s perfect seasons (1995, 2002, 2009) have culminated with winning the Womenâ€™s Final Four in the Central Time Zone â€“ 1995 in Minneapolis, 2002 in San Antonio and 2009 in St. Louis.
- UConn is currently on an NCAA-record 76-game winning streak with its last loss to fellow 2010 Womenâ€™s Final Four participant Stanford in the semifinals of the 2008 Womenâ€™s Final Four. The Huskies have beaten their four NCAA tournament opponents this year (Southern, Temple, Iowa State, Florida State) by an average margin of 47.0 points per game and lead the nation in scoring margin (+36.1 ppg.) this season.
- The Huskies are making their eighth Womenâ€™s Final Four appearance this decade, tops among all schools ahead of Tennessee (7), LSU (5) and Duke (3).
- Head coach Geno Auriemma is 12-4 (.750) all-time in 10 career trips to the Womenâ€™s Final Four (semifinal losses in 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2008). He is one of only three coaches with a winning Womenâ€™s Final Four record among those with six-or-more games coached, joining USCâ€™s Linda Sharp (5-1) and Tennesseeâ€™s Pat Summitt (21-10).
- In the last decade, UConn (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2009) and Baylor (2005) have combined for six of the last nine championship titles. The Huskies are 5-2 in NCAA semifinal appearances since 2000. They have never met Baylor in the 36-year history of the program.
- UConn has won every game this season in double digits and has the chance of repeating its 2008-09 run to become the first team in NCAA history, menâ€™s or womenâ€™s, to go undefeated and win each of its games by at least a 10-point margin.
- For the second consecutive year, junior forward Maya Moore has been named the recipient of the State Farm Wade Trophy, becoming the third two-time Wade Trophy winner in the awardâ€™s 33-year history â€“ the other two-time honorees were Old Dominionâ€™s Nancy Lieberman (1979 and 1980) and LSUâ€™s Seimone Augustus (2005 and 2006).
- The Sooners are making their second consecutive appearance and third overall in the Womenâ€™s Final Four (2002, 2009, 2010).
- Oklahoma is the only team in the 2010 Womenâ€™s Final Four that has not yet won a national championship.
- Oklahoma is a #3 seed. Only twice in the history of the NCAA tournament has a seed other than a #1 or a #2 won the national championship. North Carolina won the 1994 championship as a #3 seed and Tennessee won the 1997 championship as a #3 seed.
- OU is 4-0 in overtime games played this season including a 62-60 victory over Baylor during the Big 12 regular-season slate, and a 77-72 victory over Notre Dame in the Kansas City Regional semifinals.
- Stanford is the only team in this yearâ€™s Womenâ€™s Final Four that the Sooners have not played this season. OU was 2-1 against Baylor and lost a 76-60 decision to Connecticut in a mid-February game played in Norman.
- Oklahoma is the only Womenâ€™s Final Four team to have two different student-athletes with major professional sport athletes in their immediate families with junior forward Carlee Roethlisberger (sister of NFL quarterback Ben Roethlisberger) and senior center Abi Olajuwon (daughter of NBA great and 2008 Naismith Hall of Fame member, Hakeem Olajuwon, who played for the University of Houston in the 1983 and 1984 Menâ€™s Womenâ€™s Final Fours, helping the Cougars to national runner-up finishes behind North Carolina State and Georgetown, respectively).
- Stanford is 5-6 all-time in the NCAA Womenâ€™s Final Four, 60-21 (.741) in the NCAA tournament, and has made 23 consecutive appearances. This is the ninth Womenâ€™s Final Four for Stanford, and the eighth under head coach Tara VanDerveer (she did not lead the Cardinal to its 1996 Womenâ€™s Final Four berth, having taken a sabbatical to coach the U.S. Olympic Team â€“ Amy Tucker and Marianne Stanley served as Stanfordâ€™s co-head coaches that season).
- Stanford is one of six schools to reach at least three consecutive Womenâ€™s Final Fours, doing so three times (1990-92, 1995-97, and 2008-10). Other teams are Louisiana Tech (1982-84; 4 in a row from 1987-90); Tennessee (4 in a row on 3 occasions – 1986-89; 1995-98; 2002-05); Auburn (1988-90); Virginia (1990-92); Connecticut (5 in a row from 2000-04; 3 in a row from 2008-10); and LSU (5 in a row from 2004-08).
- VanDerveer is third on the all-time coachesâ€™ tournament appearances list with 25 (one with Ohio State and 24 with Stanford) behind Tennesseeâ€™s Pat Summitt (29) and Georgiaâ€™s Andy Landers (27). VanDerveer is fourth on the all-time Womenâ€™s Final Four wins list with five, trailing Summitt (21), UConnâ€™s Geno Auriemma (12) and former Louisiana Tech mentor (and current Baylor assistant) Leon Barmore (6), and she is fourth on the all-time NCAA tournament victories list (58).
- Of the 12 trips to the Womenâ€™s Final Four by current Pac-10 Conference schools, Stanford has nine of them, while the other three have been by USC
- Stanford is 4-2 all-time against Oklahoma, including a 2-1 record in the NCAA Tournament, the last meeting in the tournament vs. the Sooners came in the 2006 regional semifinal in San Antonio (game was played at the AT&T Center, home of the San Antonio Spurs), with the Cardinal earning an 88-74 victory.
- Stanford enters the Womenâ€™s Final Four riding a 26-game winning streak. This is the fifth Womenâ€™s Final Four appearance in which the Cardinal have brought at least a 20-game winning streak in the national semifinals. The Cardinal brought streaks of 23 (1996), 25 (1997), 22 (2007) and 20 (2009) into four of its previous five appearances. Three of these previous four trips resulted in losses in the national semifinals.
- The Sacramento Regional final victory over Xavier was just the second Stanford victory decided by single digits, while 33 of the Cardinalâ€™s wins have been decided by 10 points or more, 24 by 20 points or more, 11 by 30 points or more and two by 40 points or more.
- Senior center Jayne Appelâ€™s 22 blocked shots in her NCAA tournament career are two shy of ninth on the NCAA Tournament career blocks list.