All signs pointed to Texas making the Final Four of the women's NCAA tournament. After all, the Longhorns were the top-ranked team in the country in the final regular-season poll. They were the top seed in the Mideast Regional and would have had the luxury of playing before their home crowd in Austin if they had won.
Western Kentucky had other ideas. That's why the Hilltoppers will be facing Georgia tonight in the second game of the Final Four in Austin. The first game features a tournament fixture, Old Dominion, and the hottest team in the nation, Northeast Louisiana.
Western Kentucky (28-5), playing on its home floor in Bowling Green, upset Texas, 92-90, in the Mideast semifinals, then pulled off another surprise, defeating the No. 2 seed, Mississippi, 72-68, in the final.
Western Kentucky will have to contend with the hot shooting of Georgia. The Bulldogs (28-4) shot 53 percent during the regular season and 54.7 during the tournament. U.S. Olympian Teresa Edwards had 26 points and Janet Harris 25 in Georgia's 97-82 West Regional final victory over Long Beach State.
The winner of the Old Dominion-Northeast Louisiana game likely will be favored in the final.
Old Dominion (29-3) was one of the first schools to be recognized as a national power in women's basketball. The Monarchs won the AIAW national title in 1979 and 1980 (this is only the fourth year the NCAA has conducted the national tournament, with Louisiana Tech winning in 1982 and Southern California winning the last two years). Old Dominion had four players in double figures in beating Ohio State, 72-68, in the East Regional final in Norfolk.
Northeast Louisiana lost once this year, to Louisiana Tech, and enters tonight's game with a 15-game winning streak. The Indians (30-1) defeated Louisiana Tech, 85-76, in the Midwest Regional final in Monroe, La.
Both of tonight's games will be televised by ESPN, the first live and the second on a tape delay at 12:30 a.m. The Sunday afternoon final will be carried live nationally by CBS.