Jerry Busone, Old Dominion assistant basketball coach, was standing in a hotel lobby today when Louisiana Tech's team strolled past en route to a practice session.
"Good, they're headed outdoors," Busone said. "I hope that breeze outside cools them down."
Busone and Marianne Stanley, the head coach, must find a way for their Lady Monarchs to shut down Tech's high-horsepower offense in Sunday's Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women national championship game (WRC-TV-4 at 4 p.m.).
Form has prevailed in the tournament. After four weekends of AIAW state, region, section and national semifinal playoffs, the nation's No. 1 - and No. 2-ranked teams are meeting for the top prize.
ODU is riding a nine-game win streak and has won 34 of 35, while carrying the top ranking since early December. The Lady Techsters are 34-3, have won 11 straight and took over the No. 2 spot two weeks ago.
The Ruston La., school has no press guide, starts five players who were raised within 60 miles of the campus and has a coach who nver played or taught organized basketball until starting a womenhs team at Tech five years ago.
But, Wit the x's and o's technical-type aid from assistant Leon Barmore, the head coach, Sonja Hogg (rhymes with vogue, has guided the Lady Techsters to nine victories in 11 games against top 20 teams. They have defeated defending chamipon UCLA, Wayland Baptist, Stephen F. Austin and Tennessee (twice).
Tech was awesome in Friday's semifinal victory (102-89) over a very good Tennessee team. "Hogg's Heroes" swished home an astounding 71 percent of their field-goal attempts, destroying the Lady Vols with the inside combination of 6-foot-5 elinor Griffin and 6-foot Pam Kelly.
Kelly is the team's leading sorer, although she does not star. The bulky frshman played only 25 minutes Friday, But made good use of the time as she hit nine of 11 shots en route to a 23-point effort.
The lanky Griffin was similarly unstoppable when she got the ball inside. The unsung junior socred 35 points, hitting 17 of 21 shots.
"She's the best I've seen," said Rutgers' Theresa Grentz, one of many coaches who were among Friday's 3,000-plus spectators.
The matchup between Griffin and Old dominion's 6-5 junior Inge Nissen will be a key to the sucess of their respective teams. Both are great inside scorers and intimidating shot-blockers.
"Hogg's Heroes" were relaxed following their victory over Tennessee, valiantly fighting boredom in their hotel lobby. A quintet of Lady Techsters was able to laugh off an incident that probably typifies their quick rise to fame.
A well-wisher approached the group and said, "Y'all played real well last night. You're from Tennessee, right. Oh, yore're Louisiana Tech. Well, y'all played even better."
"I can't believe how relaxed these girls are," said Grentz, who played for Immaculata's national champions. "They're laughing and joking before games, staying loose. There was more pressure on ours and Delta Statehs champion teams."
In contrast, Lady Monarch Coach Stanley, also a member of Immaculat's former powerhouses, is not allowing her team much opportunity to think about anything but the title it is supposed to win.
Players have all their phone calls screened and cannot talk to the media without prearrangement through the school's sports information director.
Another key matchup will be UDU All-America guar Nacy Lieberman against Tech freshman sensation Angela Turner. Turner, who refused offers from Delta State and Louisiana State, showed a good mid-range jump shot and general all-round polish Friday.
"we're just glad to be here," said the 5-8 Saline, La., native." "But just being here is not enough, not when we're this close to winning the whole thing.
"Nobody on the team cares who gets the credit. Thaths one reason I came to Tech: everybody is friendly and unselfish."
Several dozen Techster rooters made the trip. Those who couldn't kept the phone lines busy today with congratuations; flowers and telegrams from home also cluttered the player's rooms.
The Kodak women's All-America team was announced today. The squad is notable more for who did not make it: Nissen, North Carolina State's Genia Beasley, Griffin and Brigham Young's Tina Gunn all were left out.
Coaches in attendance complained about the format of the selections: A limit of three players from each of the AIAW's 10 regions was picked by coaches in the regions: then a panel of coaches picked the top 10 players from that list of 30. That hurt talentrich areas which may have, more than three players worthy of consideration.
Selected this year were Lieberman, Tennessee's Cindy Brogden, Rosie Walker of Stephen F. Austin, Denise Curry of UCLA, Pat Colasurdo of Montclair State, Frani Washington of Ohio State, Jill Rankin of Wayland Baptist, Lynette Woodward of Kansas and two from Valdosta State Carol Chason and Susan Taylor.