Cos, J.J. and a championship
Posted: Monday April 03, 2000 09:43 AM
By Trisha Lucey, Sports Illustrated for Women
Just before tipoff I spotted Bill Cosby on the side of the court. He grabbed my pen and used it to give the man he was talking to his phone number. The man happened to be Don Sundquist, the governor of Tennessee. I barely got my pen back before Cosby was whisked away by security guards.
Shea Ralph and Paige Sauer were greeted as they entered the First Union Center by J.J. Jumper, the official mascot of the NCAA, who looks a lot like a fitter version of Barney, only with green fur and an orange Afro. Sauer has had a video camera with her for most of the weekend and she taped Shea giving J.J. a hug. Shea also asked him how high he could jump. Not high.
Vol of tears
As you might expect, there were a lot of tears in the Tennessee locker room after the game. Pat Summitt's 9-year old son, Tyler, who is very close to all the Lady Vols, was doing his best to console a red-eyed Michelle Snow. Soon after, the consoler became the consolee as former Tennessee star Chamique Holdsclaw scooped him up into her lap and gave him a hug.
Over on the winning side, the Connecticut players were busy taking pictures with the championship trophy. When the time came to disperse for media interviews, Tamika Williams wasn't taking any chances. She grabbed the trophy and hugged it close to her as she crossed to the other side of the room. "I don't want anybody to steal this," she said, laughing. "I don't trust any of you."
Svetlana Abrosimova was the only player I saw not wearing her championship ring. She left it in the box and planned to try it on later in the night.
They'll be back
Nobody, least of all the Tennessee players, expected this game to be a 19-point blowout. But don't be surprised to see this matchup again in St. Louis for next year's championship game. No starter on either team is graduating, and both have stellar recruiting classes coming in. This rivalry is far from over.Sports Illustrated for Women writer Trisha Lucey is covering the Final Four in Philadelphia for the magazine.