Despite the Cavaliers' identical twin towers, 6'4" sophomores Heather and Heidi Burge, Tennessee mastered the glass at both ends to take a 27-26 lead at halftime. But the Burges (a combined 18 points and 17 rebounds) stiffened, and with 1:25 to play, Virginia reclaimed a 60-55 edge. Then, as she had all day, Head got help from a high screen to break free for a left-side bank shot, and a foul by Cardoza made it a three-point play. Staley came down and missed a wild runner, and as Head was penetrating once again at the other end, she was hammered by Staley with seven seconds to play.
Head drilled both free throws to tie the game at 60. Then Staley made one last mad end-to-end dash, shaking past Head and barreling into the lane. With her left hand cradling the ball, she had a clear path to the basket that would give Virginia the national championship. But Head hadn't quit. "The only thing I could do was try to block her shot from behind," she said. "I just got a small piece of the ball, but that small piece prevented it from going in." Acknowledged Staley, "It was just a great defensive play."
The overtime had drama, too, but it was minimized by Virginia's five misses in as many free throw attempts. Summitt slyly switched from her bread-and-butter man-to-man to a matchup zone, and Head continued to sink clutch shot after clutch shot. "One thing she kept saying to me was, 'Daedra, this is for you, this is for you,' " Charles said. "That made it even sweeter, because she wasn't just playing for Dena. She was playing for me, playing for the university, playing for Pat."
Hmm, playing for Pat. Sounds like a good way to win a national title.