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Davis Spearheads Defensive Effort Against Roundtree

April 1, 1996

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ Tennessee’s Latina Davis didn’t need any additional motivation. Georgia’s Saudia Roundtree gave her some anyway.

Davis spearheaded a defensive effort that helped the Lady Vols put the wraps on Roundtree in Sunday night’s NCAA women’s championship game, sending Tennessee to an 83-65 victory.

Afterward, Davis talked about drawing inspiration from Roundtree’s vow to Georgia coach Andy Landers to give him a national championship.

``I don’t see how anybody can say that unless they’re 100 percent positive,″ Davis said. ``I realize she has a lot of confidence in herself and her team, but that’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself.″

From all appearances, it was too much pressure for Roundtree, a first-team All-American and the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year.

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt called Georgia’s Roundtree-directed offense the most explosive in the women’s game. But on this night, Roundtree’s normally overwhelming speed was no match for the hustle of Davis, who guarded her when Tennessee was in a man-to-man defense.

Roundtree, who came in averaging 17 points, never got on track. She missed 11 of her 14 field-goal attempts and finished with eight points _ all in the first half. Roundtree, who had four of her points when Davis was on the bench taking a rest, added six assists, but Davis also harassed her into six turnovers.

``I saw it in her eyes,″ said Davis, who like Roundtree is a senior. ``She just didn’t have that I’m-taking-it-at-you look that I’ve seen in the past. She usually just brings it down and no matter if you’re guarding her, she just pulls up and shoots it. She didn’t do that tonight, and I kind of fed off of it.″

Roundtree made her vow to lead the Lady Bulldogs to the pinnacle of the sport upon her arrival at Georgia, and she repeated it often in the days leading up to the championship game.

Afterward, Roundtree fought back tears as she said she didn’t think all the hype surrounding her promise made her press too hard and contributed to her poor showing.

``I don’t think it had anything to do with that,″ she said. ``I just didn’t play well.″

Davis, who entered the game averaging 17.8 points in the NCAA tournament, tops on the team, had eight points, matching her lowest offensive output in 20 games. But she also led all players with eight assists and four steals.

Davis’ stifling defense was all the more impressive considering what Roundtree had done on Friday night. She scored 26 on an array of dazzling shots to help the Lady Bulldogs defeat Stanford and reach the title game.

That performance left Landers feeling a little testy Sunday when questioned about the difference in the two performances.

``Two nights ago, we sat here and sang her praises,″ he said. ``And we know that some of the things that she did, only she can do. You saw the dipsy-dos. You saw the 1-on-3 pull-up jumpers, and we all thought it was great.

``And now we question the same shots. I don’t question Saudia, because I know Saudia is not a selfish player. It’s amazing what a difference two nights makes. If all those shots go tonight, we all want autographs.″

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