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Tennessee women take title

BY Doug Feinberg
Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. ó Though bruised and braced, an injured left shoulder hardly prevented Candace Parker from hoisting that championship trophy on high for one last time.
Parker scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds to help Tennessee capture its eighth NCAA womenís basketball title with a 64-48 victory over Stanford on Tuesday night. The Lady Vols also became the first repeat champs since Connecticut won three straight from 2002-04.
iObviously, my shoulder is a little sore,î Parker said. iBut winning the national championship is making it better.î
About the only problem Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt seemed to have all night was cutting down the net. She celebrated as each of her players cut down a piece of string, then climbed up the ladder to take the rest of the net.
She needed three tries to get it ó hardly looking like an eight-time champion whoís done it more often than anyone but UCLA menís coach John Wooden. Summitt is now two short of his record.
When she finally cut the thread, she waved it high above her head and blew kisses to the Tennessee faithful.
iNo. 8, itís all about this team,î Summitt said. iIíve been very blessed with this team, these people I have around me.î
Parker will leave the Lady Vols (36-2) with a year of eligibility remaining, but has accomplished one of her goals by winning multiple national titles.
iYou know, itís funny because some players donít get one, and Iím fortunate enough to have two,î The Associated Press player of the year said with both hands raised and two fingers up on each.
Parker also became the fourth player to win back-to-back Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four honors. She joined Connecticutís Diana Taurasi (2003-04), Tennesseeís Chamique Holdsclaw (1997-98), and Southern Calís Cheryl Miller (1983-84).
Stanfordís loss ended Candice Wigginsí remarkable run through the NCAA tournament. She scored 14 points and finished with 151 over the six games ó the fourth-best total in tournament history. Sheryl Swoopes holds the record with 177 points, when she led Texas Tech to the championship in 1993. Wiggins is the first player to have two 40-point games in the tournament.
Wiggins ended her stellar career by taking the Cardinal (35-4) further than theyíd been since 1992, when the program won it all. Stanford hadnít reached the Final Four since 1997 or advanced to the championship game since the í92 team.
iIím sad that itís over because of how much I love this program, this institution, this team, and my coaches teammates,î Wiggins said, breaking into tears. iItís that amazing. This season, I could not ever have dreamed of this, so itís more than I could ever ask for.î
She came in averaging 27.4 points in the tournament and opened the game with a 3-pointer, but she couldnít find an open look after that and finished 6-for-16 from the field.

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