Even though she was named women's college basketball coach of the year Friday, Texas' Jody Conradt has had some identity problems.
Before her team's semifinal game, the public address announcer referred to her as Judy, and this morning, the local paper had her name under a photograph of Southern California Coach Linda Sharp.
But Conradt can shore up her name recognition Sunday when the Longhorns (33-0) play Southern California (31-4) at 1 p.m., in one of the more intriguing championship games since the NCAA women's tournament began in 1982.
Many will be watching this final, with one team undefeated and the other featuring four-time all-America Cheryl Miller, who will be going for her third title with USC. Texas, although having the best winning percentage in the country spanning the past three years, has not won a national championship.
"I wanted this to be the best matchup for women's college basketball," said Conradt, who is making her first appearance in the Final Four. "I think we have it."
It would be difficult to find a better one, with Miller, arguably the best player ever in women's college basketball, playing in her final game and Texas trying to become the first women's team of the NCAA Division I era to go undefeated.
Still, there doesn't seem to be extra pressure on either Miller or Texas.
"All year, people have been asking me, do I wish we had lost a game?" said Conradt. "My answer remains constant: 'I'm glad we have not lost a game.' I can tell you sincerely that the winning streak has not been a factor or distracted this team."
While a national championship game is nothing new for Miller, she admits to being "definitely motivated because it will be my last game. Once you get here, records don't mean anything. It's who wants it most."
Texas and Southern Cal won easily in Friday's semifinals, in games expected to be closer. Texas got 32 points from freshman Clarissa Davis in defeating Western Kentucky, 90-65, and USC beat Tennessee, 83-59, with five players scoring in double figures.
Hence, many believe Sunday's game should be high-scoring, as both teams have the depth to run the fast break and use full-court pressure.
"At times, it looks like we are just concerned about offense," said Conradt. "But we consider ourselves a good defensive team."
Still, to defeat USC, Texas all-America point guard Kamie Ethridge said the Longhorns will have to do better against Miller, who averages 26 points.
"I remember two years ago, we decided to [concentrate on stopping the entire team]. She [Miller] scored something like 43 points and had 22 rebounds. You just can't let her go wild. You can't let anyone roam around free."
Miller said the teams' meeting this season has "nothing to do with this game coming up. The problem with the other game is that we didn't show up. We'll dismiss that as a bad night."
"I really feel like defense is the key," said Sharp.
"To get this far, you have to stop the offense. We'll try to play aggressively. Defensively, we will try to have everyone involved in the press. Depth will be a key. We can't play only our starting five with the emotion involved."
The teams met during the season, the Longhorns winning, 94-78, on their home court. In that game, Miller scored 31 points. Now, Miller is getting help from freshman forward Cherie Nelson, sophomore forward Holly Ford and senior guard Cynthia Cooper.