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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA TOURNAMENT

There Will Be Half of a New Look at the Top

Women's basketball: Two teams that made the Final Four the last two years will be eliminated tonight.

March 24, 1997|From Associated Press

Connecticut, Tennessee, Stanford and Georgia will be in the business of dismissing half of the last two years' Final Fours.

Old Dominion will be trying to repeat history.

Notre Dame, George Washington and Florida are still trying to figure what this NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Elite Eight stuff is all about.

Four games tonight will set the women's Final Four, sending four teams to Cincinnati and four others home to ponder what might have been.

Connecticut (33-0) plays defending champion Tennessee (26-10) at Iowa City, and Stanford (33-1) plays Georgia (25-5) at Missoula, Mont., in games that match up the four schools that have made up the last two Final Fours.

Old Dominion (32-1), once a power and in 1985 a national champion, plays Florida (24-8) at West Lafayette, Ind., and George Washington (28-5) and Notre Dame (30-6), teams that have never advanced this far in the tournament, meet at Columbia, S.C.

Connecticut and Tennessee will play each other for the sixth time since January 1995. UConn has won all three regular-season games, including a 72-57 victory on Jan. 5 of this year, and they split two Final Four games.

"It was nice to play them in January because it didn't mean anything," said Connecticut Coach Geno Auriemma. "That's what creates a big-game atmosphere, because all of our other games with them had so much riding on them."

Stanford has made the most impressive run of anyone through the NCAA tournament, winning by margins of 52, 22 and 22 points.

George Washington doesn't consider itself a surprise in the Elite Eight. "We're not a team that suddenly showed up," said Colonials' center Tajama Abraham, whose school has seven consecutive 20-victory seasons.

Florida finished third in the Southeastern Conference and is playing a team with a proud women's basketball history.

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