Head Summitt is counting on Ostrowski and her two-way hook to get the Lady Vols just one game further than they went last season, when Tennessee was ousted by Old Dominion in the AIAW finals. But the Lady Volunteers' chances of getting that far will be enhanced if Ostrowski improves her speed. She has agility aplenty, but, as she says, "Sometimes I take too long to move." Those training sessions with the Tennessee track coach—Ostrowski calls them "Remedial Running 101"—are gradually providing added quickness, but she's impatient. "I need to be faster now," she says.
Ostrowski's total absorption with basketball leaves her scant time for much else. Sure, she goes to class—she plans to major in physical education—but book learning usually takes a backseat to ball playing. One afternoon after a tennis class, her fashionably crinkled hair still dripping from a recent shower, Ostrowski lamented, "I'm living in sweats. I never get to wear regular clothes anymore." And don't bother to ask if she has any hobbies. "Oh, I like to cook, if ever I get a chance," she says. It might be better if she never gets an opportunity, according to a teammate, who says, "She can't cook. Once she made pancakes that were supposed to come out really thin. They were an inch thick."
Even so, the Lady Vols should be cooking all the way to No. 1 this year. The other high school All-Americas in Head Summitt's stable are Guard Pat Hatmaker, Guard Mina Todd and Forward Tanya Haave, who also plays volleyball for Tennessee. Ostrowski is the only freshman who will crack the starting lineup, which includes Noble at center, Debbie Groover at forward and 5'4�" "Little Lea" Henry at guard. Susan Clower will line up beside Henry, who, Like Ostrowski, spent her summer playing on a U.S. team that participated in a tournament in Taiwan.
Two-time defending champion Old Dominion has some spots to fill, what with losing Nancy What's Her Name and Center Inge Nissen to graduation. But the Lady Monarchs still have 6'8" Anne Donovan, who scored 17 points a game last season as a freshman. And 6'5" freshman Janet Davis from Alta Loma, Calif. provides some size up front. To win three titles in a row, however, Davis and ODU's yearlings must develop in a hurry, because Forward Jan Trombly, a senior, who suffered a knee injury last season, may be slow coming back to the lineup.
Rutgers, 28-5 in 1979-80, has seven players back plus a newcomer, Guard Lorrie Lawrence, whom Coach Theresa Shank Grentz calls the finest recruit around. Lawrence, from Morristown, N.J., was not heralded nationally, but she's a superquick ball handler who should build a big reputation fast. The Lady Knights also have 6'4" Center Kris Kirchner, a transfer from Maryland.
Louisiana Tech has every starter back from the only team that beat Old Dominion last season, while at Kansas Lynette Woodard hopes to become a four-time All-America. Last year she had averages of 23.8 points and 10.5 rebounds and paced the Jayhawks to a 25-8 record. Woodard will get plenty of help: 5'11" senior Forward Shebra Legrant averaged 15.7 points a game and the freshman contingent includes high school All-Americas Mary Myers and Tracy Claxton. At Southern Cal, Coach Linda Sharp will be seeing double on the Trojans' fast break. Identical twins Pam and Paula McGee led their Flint (Mich.) Northern High team to a pair (what else?) of unbeaten seasons. They could take USC to its second-ever postseason tournament.
South Carolina is high on 6'6" Philicia Allen, a freshman who averaged 26 points and 19 rebounds as a senior at Florida's Okeechobee High.
Penn State's new coach, Rene Portland, claims she's going to turn the school into "the Eastern capital of women's basketball," which is what a lot of people thought Old Dominion was. To help do the job, the Lady Lions have 6'3" Mary Donovan and Guard Corinne Gulas returning to the lineup. Gulas' twin sister, Chris, is recovering from knee surgery and should be available in January.
Long Beach State imported senior Forward Sharon Carroll (22.7 points and 14.7 rebounds per game) from the University of Illinois and picked up 6'4" freshman Center Nina Leonard from Chicago to add size to the front line. LaTaunya Pollard, a sophomore guard, led the 49ers in scoring last year with 19.4 points a game. UCLA's 6'1" senior Denise Curry has scored 2,268 points in her career, an average of 28.6. Jeanne Beauprey is also back for the Bruins, and Cheryl Kelsey, the 5'9" high school Player of the Year from Vancouver, British Columbia, is one of six freshmen who could help get UCLA back near the top.