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Women's Final Four

Rutgers boosters in red and Louisiana State University fans in purple and yellow both showed equal enthusiasm for their woman's basketball teams last night.

But the Rutgers player showed their superiority early on in game one of last night's semifinals at Quicken Arena, grabbing a 10 point lead within five minutes of tipoff and dominating LSU 37-19 by half time.

Twenty-two of those points came from Rutgers Guard Matee Ajavon, who made 100 percent of her three point shots.

AJAVON: My team mates did a great job of recognizing that I was hitting the shots and passing it back to me... It was just in the flow of the game.

After half time, LSU's 20 point deficit was still manageable, but the team was only able to get within 8 points of Rutgers the whole night. LSU's star center Sylvia Fowles was essentially shut down by Rutgers. Fowles says Rutgers Center Kia Vaughn and others prevented her from getting a rhythm early in the game that she never recovered from.

FOWLES: She did all she had to do to keep me off the blocks and off the boards, double and triple teaming me-whatever.

LSU was able to double its 3 point averages and slow Rutgers down in the second half, but the lead was too great to over come. Rutgers, a team that started out its season with 7 losses, triumphed over the experienced LSU, 59-37. Rutgers Head Coach Vivian Stringer says without any seniors on the team, Rutger's Scarlet Knights perhaps focused less on getting to the Championship and more on the game at hand.

STRINGER: We're not supposed to be here, nobody expected us to be here.

Rutgers University was able to run away with its win Sunday, but a win wasn't so easy for the teams in last night's second game. The universities of North Carolina and Tennessee filled every minute with suspense as each struggled to gain and keep a lead in the first half. After half time, Carolina came up from behind to close a 4 point gap and then increase it to 11 points in about 8 minutes. North Carolina Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell says that's when it looked like the team might gain a comfortable lead.

HATCHELL: We got some steals and we got some fast breaks off the steals and we got the ball out and we were running the ball pretty good, especially over Rashanda McCants.

But no sooner had Carolina pulled ahead then it lost 3 of its players, two to fouls and one to injury. Those fouls and others by Carolina gave Tennessee shots on the free throw line. Tennessee Forward Candice Parker says those open shots coupled with a pure desire to win helped the team climb out of it's 11 point deficit.

PARKER: To be honest with you we just did not want to go home. We were looking at our selves and thinking of all the stuff we have been through to not seize the moment would have been a total waste.

Parker says knowing her team can come back to win against a solid team like Carolina gives her confidence to play Rutgers on Tuesday. But battling both their offense and defense, says Tennessee Guard Alexius Hornbuckle, will be a challenge.

HORNBUCKLE: They shot the ball great today so obviously they have a lot of weapons, Ajavon and Kia Vaughn so obviously we have our work cut out for us.

Rutgers and Tennessee will meet each other on the court at Quicken Loans Arena this Tuesday, to battle for the NCAA Woman's Basketball Championship.

Lisa Ann Pinkerton, 90.3