MINNEAPOLIS -- A member of the Western High School basketball sorority was honored by a national organization, but it wasn't Tennessee senior Dana Johnson.
Johnson, who was thought to be a candidate for the 10-member Kodak All-America team, the most prestigious in women's basketball, was left off the team, announced yesterday.
Her high school coach, Breezy Bishop, however, was named national High School Coach of the Year by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, which also conducted the voting on the Kodak team.
Stephanie Gaitley, coach at St. Joseph's and one of the nine-member Kodak voting panel, said Johnson, who leads the Lady Vols in scoring and rebounding, was among the 45 players nominated nationally but didn't make the final cut, despite averaging 24.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in NCAA tournament play.
"It's not just tournament play but how you perform over the entire season. Dana was very well thought of by the committee," said Gaitley.
Johnson's teammate, senior forward Nikki McCray, who was selected for the second straight year, said she expected Johnson to join her on the winners' platform.
"I was surprised. Right now, it's a disappointment, but we won't worry about it. Hopefully, we'll get her a national championship," said McCray.
Other Kodak All-Americans are Connecticut's Rebecca Lobo and Jennifer Rizzotti, Virginia's Wendy Palmer, North Carolina's Charlotte Smith, Colorado's Shelley Sheetz, Kansas' Angela Aycock, Louisiana Tech's Vickie Johnson, Alabama's Niesa Johnson and Purdue's Stacey Lovelace.
Lobo was named Associated Press and Converse/WBCA Player of the Year, and her coach, Geno Auriemma, was selected AP Coach of the Year. Tennessee's Pat Summit received similar honors from the WBCA and Converse.
Auriemma was a font of humor, much of it in questionable taste, during his 30-minute news conference yesterday.
When asked about the matchup between his center, Kara Wolters, and Stanford's Anita Kaplan, Auriemma said the battle could be a test of hair twirling, adding that the winner could be the one that "has the best hair spray."
Later, he said that Lobo, who did not attend the news conference, was absent because she had gotten lost in the Mall of America, the country's largest shopping center.
Stanford freshman Kristin Folkl has attracted a fair amount of attention this weekend, as she plays for her second NCAA title this school year.
Folkl, a 6-foot-2 forward from St. Louis, led the Cardinal volleyball team to a four-game win over UCLA in the national finals with a team-high 478 kills. Since joining the basketball team in late December, she has averaged 9.4 points and 5.3 rebounds, boosting those figures to 17.0 and 8.3 in the tournament.
"I don't think I'm stretching myself playing both sports," said Folkl.
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis.
TV: All games on chs. 13, 9.
TENNESSEE (33-2) vs. GEORGIA (28-4)
When: Today, 12:15 p.m.
How they got here: Tennessee won the Mideast Regional, defeating Texas Tech, 80-59, in the final. Georgia won the Midwest Regional, beating Colorado, 82-79, in the final.
Outlook: The Lady Vols blasted Georgia, 83-61, in the regular-season finale for both teams three weeks ago, taking a 12-2 lead in the first eight minutes. The Lady Bulldogs are a
young, talented team with four sophomores and may get back to the Final Four in the next two years, but Tennessee has been pointing to the championship game all season, and Georgia doesn't have enough to deny it that opportunity.
CONNECTICUT (33-0) vs. STANFORD (30-2)
When: Today, approximately 2:45 p.m.
How they got here: Connecticut won the East Regional, defeating Virginia, 67-63, in the final. Stanford won the West Regional, beating Purdue, 69-58, in the final.
Outlook: The Huskies, though the only men's or women's Division I team without a loss, are a clear underdog, thanks to Stanford's pronounced height advantage, with seven players 6 feet 2 or taller. If the Cardinal can shoot over Connecticut's zone, as well as neutralize consensus Player of the Year Rebecca Lobo, the Huskies could be in for a long afternoon.
When: Tomorrow, 3:45 p.m.