Site: Richmond (Va.) Coliseum
Tournament MVP: Charlotte Smith, North Carolina
It was one of the most exciting conclusions to an NCAA championship game. But Charlotte Smith didn't even get to see her game-winning three-pointer fall through the net, giving North Carolina its first national women's title. "I just prayed and shot," said Smith, a junior forward. "Then the mob hit me."
Those who did see Smith's bomb won't soon forget it. It came from 20 feet out and, literally, in the nick of time, after junior forward Stephanie Lawrence's perfect inbounds pass from beneath the Carolina basket with seven-tenths of a second left. It came just 14 seconds after senior guard Pam Thomas had put Louisiana Tech up 59-57 with a 16-foot jumper, and four seconds after Carolina's Tonya Sampson missed a layup that would have tied the score. Fortunately North Carolina kept the ball on a jump ball after a mad scramble ensued on Sampson's miss.
High Scorer: Sampson averaged 20.7 points over six games.
They Said It: "That shot by Charlotte wasn't hard work, that shot wasn't luck," said Tar Heel junior forward Carrie McKee. "That shot was God."
Interesting Fact: Just a freshman, track and field star Marion Jones was North Carolina's starting point guard.
All in the Family: Charlotte Smith's uncle is David Thompson, whose Final Four star turn in 1974 brought North Carolina State its first national title.
SI's Take: "Ranked fourth in the country despite being only three years removed from the ACC cellar, the Tar Heels were alternately considered overrated and underappreciated going into the tournament and in any case not a particularly good bet to reach the Final Four."
Record-setters: In the final, Smith tied Cheryl Taylor's 1985 record for most rebounds in a tournament game with 23. Alabama's Betsy Harris swished a tournament-record 20 three-pointers.
All-Tournament Team: Charlotte Smith, North Carolina; Pam Thomas, Louisiana Tech; Tonya Sampson, North Carolina; Vickie Johnson, Louisiana Tech; Betsy Harris, Alabama.