Old Dominion Coach Marianne Stanley could probably make money by packaging and retailing her halftime talks.
Stanley addmitted she "lit a few fires" today and the Lady Monarchs responded by burning Louisiana Tech in the final 20 minutes for a 75-65 victory and the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women national championship.
Top-ranked Old Dominion of Norfolk, Va., dominated the No. 2 Lady Techsters in the second half, limiting them to a 27.6 percent shooting from the field, while forcing 18 turnovers.
Tech did not score its first field goal of the half until Jane Ellen Cook sank a 20-footer with 12:43 left. By then the Lady Monarchs had made up a five-point halftime deficit and moved into a 44-38 lead. Tech was never able to get closer than four points thereafter as ODU built the margin as high as 12 points.
"We came out a little scared," said All-America point guard Nancy Lieberman. "We might have also been too complacent and we definitely weren't taking it to Tech.
"In the second half, we started running and playing tighter defense. Our defense creates our offense."
ODU junior center Inge Nissen provided much of the defense in the final half, holding Tech center Elinor Griffin to two points. Griffin had scored 14 in the opening half. The 6-foot-5 Griffin missed all 10 of her secondhalf shots, getting several rejected by the 6-5 Nissen.
Lieberman contributed six steals, turning several into assists to Jan Trombly and Angela Cotman. Lieberman and Rhonda Rompola stole the ball from Tech (34-4) on successive possessions, producing two baskets to pull ODU within 34-33.
Tech then turned the ball over three times and missed shots on its next four possessions; Nissen hit two free throws, scored on an offensive rebound and Cotman then tallied on still another offensive board to propel the Laby Monarchs (35-1) to a 39-34 lead.
Lieberman, who connected on eight of 12 shots in a 20-point effort, showed in a 120-second span moments later why she is a two-time All-America.
ODU led, 46-42, when the 5-10 junior hit a fadeaway from the free throw line. She then stole the ball at the other end and hit a running, fadeaway shot off the backboard for a 50-42 advantage.
Lieberman was called for her fourth foul with 6 1/2 minutes left, but afterward made still another steal, assisted on three more baskets and sank a fast break layup.
ODU played miserably in the first half, missing open shots and losing easy passes. Trombly missed all four of her shots, but made up for it in the final half by sinking six of seven. The Lady Monarchs missed 21 of 33 attempts and were behind the final 15 minutes of the half.
Trombly said, "Nancy told me at halftime, 'You're supposed to be a star on the top team in the nation.' I knew she would keep passing me the ball, she had that confidence in me. She relaxed me by saying that."
The game resembled one played under international rules. Referees called nothing short of felonious assault. Nissen, who has played in international competition as has Lieberman, said that the physical play worked to ODU's benefit.
In the consolation game, third-ranked Tennessee (30-9) blew past 1978 champion UCLA, 104-86. All-America Cindy Brogdon scored 24 for the winners; sophomore Denise Curry tallied 38 points in a losing cause.