The 2008 Lady Vols brought home an unprecedented eighth NCAA women’s basketball crown. Tennessee Alumnus tips its hat to all the championship teams in Pat Summitt’s storied reign
Defeated Louisiana Tech 67–44 in Austin, Texas, for the championship . . . Pat Summitt, NCAA coach of the year, said “The monkey’s off my back,” after what was her eighth trip to the Final Four . . . Team was led by Tonya Edwards, NCAA tournament MVP, and by future all-American and Olympian Bridgette Gordon . . . The last Lady Vol game in Stokely Athletic Center, before moving to Thompson–Boling Arena, was a 77–61 win over Auburn in the finals of the NCAA Mideast Regionals on March 21, 1987 . . . A week later, the Lady Vols returned to Stokely to celebrate UT’s first NCAA basketball title with thousands of their fans.
Lady Vols had a 35-win season and defeated Auburn for the NCAA championship in Tacoma, Washington . . . Lady Vols also defeated Auburn to win the SEC tournament . . . Bridgette Gordon was the SEC female athlete of the year and player of the year as well as NCAA final four MVP . . . Dena Head was SEC rookie of the year . . . Pat Summitt was NCAA coach of the year.
Defeated Virginia for the NCAA championship in New Orleans in the first overtime championship game . . . Dena Head and Daedra Charles were on the final four all-tournament team . . . Daedra Charles was the season high scorer and rebounder and SEC female athlete of the year . . . Kelli Casteel was the Mideast Regional MVP . . . New on the team was Nikki Caldwell, who made the All-SEC rookie team and went on to become a Lady Vol assistant coach and head coach at UCLA . . . Pat Summit got her 400th career win against South Carolina.
Lady Vols captured their fourth NCAA title, this time in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a 83–65 win over Georgia . . . Defeated UConn in overtime to advance to the championship game . . . Before the championship game, Smokey literally beat the stuffing out of a stuffed Georgia Bulldog, sending foam stuffing beads all over the court. The start of the game had to be delayed to clean up the mess, and Smokey was banished from the arena floor . . . Chamique Holdsclaw was selected an All-American as a freshman . . . Lady Vols won the SEC championship in Chattanooga.
Five games into the season, Tennessee beat Marquette 83–68 for Pat Summitt’s 600th coaching victory . . . Despite losing 10 games on the season, the Lady Vols upset Old Dominion 68–59 in Cincinnati for the program’s fifth national championship . . . Chamique Holdsclaw was named Kodak All-American, SEC female athlete of the year, and NCAA tournament MVP . . . Despite winning the NCAA championship, Lady Vols finished the season ranked 10th in the country . . . “Of all our runs to a championship, this one is really the most unexpected,” said Summitt.
Defeated Louisiana Tech to “three-peat” for the NCAA championship . . . Lady Vols’ first undefeated regular season . . . Pat Summitt was national and SEC coach of the year . . . Team was never ranked lower than first in national polls all year . . . Scored the most points ever among Lady Vol teams—3,464—and put together the program’s longest winning streak with 39 wins . . . Tamika Catchings scored the most points ever by a Lady Vol freshman and was named an All-American.
Bounced Rutgers 59–46 in Cleveland, Ohio, for the NCAA championship, ending a 9-year hiatus in which Tennessee won no NCAA basketball titles . . . Finished the season ranked number one nationally . . . Pat Summitt was SEC coach of the year, and Lady Vols won the SEC championship . . . Candace Parker was NCAA tournament MVP . . . Pat Summitt debuted as a cheerleader for the men Vols during their home game against Florida.
Defeated Stanford 64–48 at St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa to post back-to-back national titles . . . Candace Parker’s injured shoulder was the subject of much speculation . . . Despite an injury, she repeated as NCAA tournament MVP, was named national player of the year, and was the number-one pick in the WNBA draft . . . Bested LSU in Nashville to win the SEC tournament . . . Thompson–Boling Arena, Lady Vols’ home, got a renovation and facelift . . . Pratt Pavilion basketball practice facility opened . . . .Pat Summitt became the first female to win the “Legends of Coaching” award.
Coming This Fall
In the Footsteps of Champions: The University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers, the First Three Decades, by Debby Schriver, spotlights all the great Lady Vol sports teams and includes first person stories and a huge collection of photographs. Order from utpress.org.