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finalfourheadercenter.gif (2633bytes) 1996 Champs 1996 chart

Site: Charlotte (N.C.) Coliseum

Tournament MVP: Michelle Marciniak, Tennessee

Tennessee won its first of three consecutive titles. The Lady Vols shut down a Georgia team that averaged 82 points per game. Freshman phenom Chamique Holdsclaw led the way with 16 points and 14 rebounds in the final. Sophomore center Tiffani Johnson added 16 points. And Marciniak, a senior point guard, contributed 10 points and five assists.

The key, though, was Latina Davis holding Georgia's Saudia Roundtree, the Naismith Player of the Year, scoreless in the second half and to eight points (3 of 14 from the field) for the game.

High Scorer: Sheri Sam of Vanderbilt averaged 28.3 points over four games.

They Said It: "In a week, I'll probably still be shaking my head saying, 'Did this really happen?'" Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said after winning her fourth national championship.

Interesting Fact: Firsts: In order to make the final, Tennessee had to beat UConn, something it had never done. The Huskies forced overtime, but the Lady Vols held on, 88-83.

Bad Dog: The final tipoff was delayed slightly for cleanup, after Tennessee mascot Smokey broke open a stuffed red bulldog at midcourt. Smokey was banned from the court for the game.

SI's Take: "The Lady Vols had been waiting for this title chance since March 1995, when Rebecca Lobo and Connecticut knocked them off in the women's final. That Tennessee team had been awesome -- loaded with top-to-bottom talent and a trio of outstanding seniors. 'Last year we felt an awful lot of pressure,' recalled Summitt. 'We felt like we had to win the title.' "

Lopsided Loss: The Lady Vols' 18-point margin of victory was the second-largest in NCAA women's championship history. Tennessee held the record for the most lopsided title triumph, a 67-44 win over Louisiana Tech in 1987.

In Attendance: The women's final drew more spectators than the men's. A crowd of 23,291 -- the largest ever to watch an NCAA women's final -- attended the game. Only 19,229 could be accommodated at the Meadowlands, site of the men's final.

Record-Setters: Texas' Danielle Viglione tied the record for most three-pointers made (seven) in a tournament game. En route to winning the title, Tennessee sank 198 field goals over a three-game sequence. Against Oklahoma State, Rhode Island went 15-for-15 from the free-throw line, setting the tournament free throw percentage mark (minimum 15 free throws).

All-Tournament Team: Michelle Marciniak, Tennessee; La'Keshia Frett, Georgia; Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee; Saudia Roundtree, Georgia; Tiffani Johnson, Tennessee.

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