With all-Americas Inge Nissen and Nancy Lieberman totaling 32 points, Old Dominion cruised to its second straight Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women college basketball championship today, smothering cold-shooting Tennessee, 68-53.
Nissen, a 6-foot-7 senior forward from Denmark, scored 20 points and Lieberman, a flashy point guard, had 12 for the Lady Monarchs, who never trailed in the game.
Old Dominion led, 32-24, at halftime and broke away in the early stages of the second half, outscoring the Lady Volunteers, 8-2, in the first two minutes. Old Dominion built its lead to as many as 18 points before sending in the reserves.
Tennessee shot a miserable 33 percent from the field and made just 13 of 23 free throws.
All-America Jill Rankin topped Tennessee with 17 points but sat out much of the game in foul trouble.
Center Anne Donovan, a 6-8 freshman, had seven points for Old Dominion and blocked a half-dozen shots.
The Lady Monarchs finished the year on a 27-game winning streak with a record of 37-1. Tennessee, which finished third in the AIAW finals a year ago, is 33-5.
Despite the graduations of Lieberman and Nissen, "We've got a great nucleus of players coming back," Old Dominion Coach Marianne Stanley said. n
"We feel like we're going to be very good. We'd love to come back and defend our championship."
This game was not Old Dominion's best effort of the season, Stanley said.
"Offensively we did not get shots off our patterns in the first half," she said. "In the second half, I felt we ran our patterns much better."
"I'm very glad that we went out a winner," said Lieberman. "It proved why we're so good."
"At times she was brilliant," Stanley said of Lieberman. "I was very concerned when she got in foul trouble -- I wanted very much to get her back into the game as quickly as possible."
Lieberman's performance was not up to her usual standard of about 18 points per game, but her teammates still awarded the Far Rockaway, N.Y., native the net cut down from the hoop as a memento of the occasion.
Lieberman now heads for the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team trials -- but said she isn't sure whether the United States should send a team to Moscow for the Summer Games.
"That's a decision the president and the U.S. Olympic Committee should make," she said. "I'm not so sure I support our going to Moscow."
Lieberman said she might join the women's professional basketball circuit.