Sunday, March 21, 1999

MIDEAST NOTEBOOK


Francis' shot a lift for ISU

        A key basket for Iowa State in its 64-58 upset of Connecticut in the Mideast Regional on Saturday afternoon came a split-second before the halftime horn sounded.

        When UConn's Tamika Williams, a graduate of Chaminade-Julienne High School in Dayton, missed the front end of a one-and-one with five seconds left, the ball kicked out of bounds on a UConn player, and ISU in-bounded.

        UConn was defending, but Megan Taylor caught a long lob downcourt at the top of the key with her back to the basket. She quickly zipped the ball to teammate Desiree Francis, who was farther out on the perimeter. She took two dribbles away from a defender, calmly squared up and launched a 13-footer.

        Swish.

        Beeeeeeeep!

        Tie game, 28 apiece.

        “I thought back to the UK-Miami game (Friday) night when the coach's son (Saul Smith) hit either a two or a three and their heads are held high and the other team's are dropping,” ISU coach Bill Fennelly said. “That was a big lift for us.”

Freshman freeze?
        Williams showed why she was such a coveted player coming out of high school and why she sometimes leaves UConn coach Geno Auriemma scratching his head at her untapped potential.

        She led all UConn scorers with 14 points. She was 6-of-9 from the floor and had nine rebounds (second-best on the team), one block and a steal.

        But she had only two of her points in the second half. It wasn't that she disappeared in the second half — she had four of her rebounds then — but she hadn't found a way to get in flow with the Huskies offense.

        Auriemma said his freshmen have been a mystery to him at times this season.

        And talent alone doesn't get one to the Final Four, Auriemma said.

        “If I read one more time about how talented our freshmen are ...” said Auriemma, his voice trailing off. “Listen, there's no substitute for aggressiveness. This time of the year, nobody cares how talented you are. People only respond to aggressiveness.”

Coco puff
        Coco Miller was held scoreless for the first time in her Georgia career. For Miller, who was 0-of-7 from the field against Clemson, it also marked the first time this season she hasn't scored in double figures.

        Bulldogs coach Andy Landers limited her to 17 minutes in the game because of her struggles. “She was anxious and forcing it a little bit offensively,” he said.

Arrowheads
        Georgia wants to be like and arrow, shooting through the NCAA Tournament.

        As a reminder of this goal, the Bulldogs, coaches and all, drew arrows in magic marker on their hands.

Rooting interest
        Georgia's Tawana McDonald has a big interest in the Elite Eight of the men's tournament this year.

        Her cousin, Antonio Smith, plays for Michigan State, which will play Kentucky today in St.Louis for a trip to the Final Four.

Hot from the line
        Clemson senior Amy Geren was 4-of-4 from the free-throw line against Georgia.

        With that performance, she ends her career as the best free-throw shooter in school history at 84.8 percent.

       



Women's Mideast Stories
Mideast gets surprise final
GEORGIA 67, CLEMSON 54
IOWA STATE 64, CONNECTICUT 58
- MIDEAST NOTEBOOK
MARCH MADNESS PAGE