Tennessee's 65-64 victory over the U.S. women's national basketball team yesterday in Knoxville was a wake-up call for somebody. Either the U.S. team that's tuning up for the 2000 Olympics needs to pick it up a notch, or the college basketball world had better look out for Tennessee.

Freshman Kara Lawson, The Post's All-Met player of the year last season from West Springfield High, hit a running eight-footer that banked in with 10 seconds left to win the game.

Former Tennessee star Chamique Holdsclaw, now with the WNBA's Washington Mystics, didn't play with the U.S. team. She pulled a groin muscle in practice a couple of weeks ago.

MOORE A FINALIST: Virginia Tech DE Corey Moore, Penn State LB LaVar Arrington, Penn State DL Courtney Brown and Florida State DL Corey Simon were picked as finalists for the Lombardi Award, which is given to the outstanding college lineman of the year. . . .

Southern Methodist University reportedly is investigating a former football player's allegations that a recruiter suggested he cheat on his college entrance exam.

Assistant coach Steve Malin agreed to pay $100 to have a stand-in take the American College Testing exam for Corlin Donaldson in 1998, Donaldson alleges in yesterday's editions of the Dallas Morning News.