There will be no need for introductions among members of the four teams competing for the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women national basketball championship this weekend in Greensboro, N.C.
The final four have played a total of six games among one another this season. UCLA, which meets Old Dominion in tonight's 7 p.m. semifinal at Greensboro Coliseum, has faced each of the other three teams and the Bruins stand 0-3. Tennessee has played four times against the other semifinalists and will face Louisiana Tech for the second time in the 9 p.m. semifinal.
Tonight's winners vie in Sunday's 4 p.m. nationally televised championship game (WRC-TV-4). The consolation game starts at 1:30.
The defending champion Bruins, ranked sixth nationally, recovered from a disastrous midseason road trip to finish strong, winning their two West Section games by a total of 49 points. UCLA (24-8) lost four times in January's East Coast swing, including a 30-point setback to top-ranked Old Dominion and a 14-point decision to Tennessee.
Bruin sophomore forward Denise Curry is the leading scorer among final four participants, averaging 23.2 points on a 60 percent shooting mark. Senior guard Anita Ortega, who scored 26 points in UCLA's 92-73 West final victory over Wayland Baptist, chips in with 16 points per outing.
Old Dominion's Lady Monarchs grabbed the No. 1 ranking away from Tennessee in mid-December and have stingily guarded the honor, winning 33 of 34 games. ODU's only blot was a 73-49 loss at South Carolina when junior center Inge Nissen sat out with an injury.
Since then, the Lady Monarchs have won eight games by an average margin of 24.5 points. The 6-foot-5 Nissen spearheads a tough zone defense that has limited foes to 59 points per game and a field-goal percentage of 37.
Nissen, a native of Denmark, leads ODU scorers with a 22-point average, pulls down nearly 10 rebounds and blocks 4.5 shots per outing. All-America point guard Nancy Lieberman also boasts sparkling statistics: 17.3 points, seven assists and four steals per contest.
Freshman forward Pam Kelly, who plays most of the game, although a sustitute produces 19 points and 10 rebounds per game for a second-ranked Louisiana Tech (33-3). Kelly shoots 64 percent and the team nearly 52 from the floor.
The Lady Techsters, who like to run, own victories over Tennessee (64-56) and UCLA (85-81). Their losses came at the hands of 12th-ranked Valdosta State, McNeese State and No. 5 Stephen F. Austin.
Three-time Kodak All-America guard Cindy Brogdon and 5-7 playmaker Holly Warlick will lead a veteran Tennessee team. The sixth-ranked Lady Vols opened the season ranked No. 1 but lost eight games against 29 victories. Brogdon averages 19.8 points and Warlick contributes five assists and four steals.