Tonight's national anthem was sung by award-winning, multi-platinum country recording artist Jo Dee Messina, who is a native of Holliston, Massachusetts (located less than 30 miles west of downtown Boston).
Tonight's officials were Lisa Mattingly (referee), Bob Trammell (umpire) and Tina Napier (umpire). Mattingly worked her sixth consecutive NCAA Championship Game (2001-06), the most consecutive title game assignments ever for one official, and tied Sally Bell's record for overall championship game appearances by an arbiter (Bell officiated the 1990, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2001 NCAA finals). Meanwhile, Trammell oversaw his third title contest (1998, 1999) and Napier earned her first national championship game assignment this evening.
This year's Final Four marked the fourth time, and second in as many years, that every head coach was female. The other years were 1982 (the first NCAA Championship), 1997 and 2005.
Tonight was the 19th and last appearance in 25 Final Fours as press room moderator for Old Dominion senior associate athletics director Debbie Harmison Byrne, who also served as Final Four host on two occasions while at ODU (1982, 1983). Byrne is retiring from her duties as press room moderator following this year's Final Four.
OVERALL GAME NOTES
The 2006 Final Four All-Tournament Team was: Alison Bales (Duke), Monique Currie (Duke), Laura Harper (Maryland), Kristi Toliver (Maryland) and Erlana Larkins (North Carolina). Harper was chosen as the Most Outstanding Player of this year's Final Four after averaging 20.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in the two-game series.
This marked the second overtime game in NCAA Championship Game history. On March 30, 1991, Tennessee defeated Virginia, 70-67 in overtime at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. This also was the fifth Final Four game to go to overtime, with three semifinals needing an extra session (Ohio State 73, Iowa 72 in 1993; Tennessee 88, Connecticut 83 in 1996; Old Dominion 83, Stanford 82 in 1997).
Entering tonight's game, Maryland and Duke had been a combined 7-0 in overtime games this season (Maryland 5-0, Duke 2-0), with all seven games coming away from home.
This was the third time in tournament history two teams from the same conference (ACC) played in the NCAA Championship Game. Tennessee and Auburn (SEC) met in 1989 (UT 76-60 in Tacoma, Wash.) and Tennessee and Georgia (SEC) met in 1996 (UT 83-65 in Charlotte, N.C.).
Maryland becomes the fourth school ever to win NCAA championships in both men's and women's basketball. The other double winners are Connecticut, North Carolina and Stanford.
Maryland and head coach Brenda Frese are the second team and coach in as many years to walk away with the title in their initial trip to the Final Four. Baylor and head coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson hoisted the hardware in 2005.
Maryland head coach Brenda Frese would become the fifth-youngest coach ever to win an NCAA Division I women's basketball championship (35 years, 11 months, five days). The only younger coaches on the list are: Old Dominion's Marianne Stanley (31 in 1985), Southern California's Linda Sharp (32 in 1983), Purdue's Carolyn Peck (33 in 1999) and Tennessee's Pat Summitt (34 in 1987). By comparison, the youngest NCAA Division I men's basketball coach to win a championship is Indiana's Bob Knight (35 years, five months, four days in 1976). Billy Donovan, the 40-year-old coach of 2006 champion Florida, is tied for second on the men's list with Knight, who won his second crown at IU in 1981.
The ACC becomes the fourth different conference to have multiple NCAA champions among its current membership. The others are the BIG EAST (Connecticut and Notre Dame), Pac-10 (Southern California and Stanford) and Big 12 (Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech). North Carolina was the first ACC school to win a national title, doing so in 1994.
Tonight's match-up was the fourth of the season between Duke and Maryland, making it the most frequent match-up in NCAA Championship Game history. Tennessee and Auburn played for the third time in 1989 when they met for the NCAA title, while the Lady Vols and Georgia had their third meeting of the 1996 campaign in the national championship contest.
Of the 25 NCAA tournaments, 17 have been won by a No. 1 seed, while a No. 2 seed has won six times and a No. 3 seed has won twice.
The No. 2 seed has won each of the past three NCAA championships (Maryland 2006, Baylor 2005, Connecticut 2004). Prior to that, a No. 1 seed had won the tournament for six consecutive years.
For the third consecutive year, the top-ranked team in the final Associated Press poll (taken before the NCAA Tournament) has failed to win the national championship. Duke was first in 2004 (L, 82-75 to Minnesota in East Regional final), Stanford held the top spot in 2005 (L, 76-69 to Michigan State in Kansas City Regional final) and North Carolina was No. 1 this season (L, 81-70 to Maryland in national semifinal). Connecticut was the last AP No. 1 team to claim the NCAA title, doing so on April 8, 2003 with a 73-68 win over Tennessee at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
With Duke's appearance in tonight's title game, this was the second consecutive year a private institution made the finals. Duke is one of five private institutions ever to play in the NCAA Championship Game (the Blue Devils also lost to Purdue, 62-45 in the 1999 title clash). The others are Southern California in 1983-85 (2-1), Stanford in 1990 and 1992 (2-0), Notre Dame in 2001 (1-0), and Baylor in 2005 (1-0).
Duke head coach Gail Goestenkors has 34 NCAA Tournament wins to her credit, ranking second all-time among coaches without an NCAA title. Georgia's Andy Landers holds the top spot with 43 NCAA Tournament victories to date.
The three ACC teams in this year's Final Four ended up with a combined record of 97-10 (Maryland 34-4; Duke 31-4; North Carolina 33-2). Of those 10 losses, nine came against one of the other two ACC Final Four teams - the only other loss was Maryland's 80-75 setback to Tennessee on Nov. 26 in the championship game of the Paradise Jam (at St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands).
Tonight's championship game pitted two of the top three scoring teams in the country, both for the season and the NCAA Tournament. Entering tonight's game, Duke was averaging a national-best 86.3 ppg. for the season, followed by Maryland at 83.5 points per game. Through five NCAA Tournament games, the Terps were leading all teams at 82.8 ppg., with Duke not far behind in third place at 78.8 ppg.
Not only did this year mark the first time any conference ever had three teams advance to the Final Four, but it also was the first time the ACC had multiple teams in the Final Four. In addition, with North Carolina and Duke being No. 1 seeds, it marked the sixth straight year the ACC had a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
This year represented the 12th time a conference had multiple teams in the Final Four. Conferences with multiple teams in the Final Four have had the champion seven of 12 times. (SEC - seven years and three champions; BIG EAST - two years and two champions; ACC - one year and one champion; Big Ten - one year and no champions; Sun Belt - one year and one champion).
Maryland is the eighth national champion with red as a primary color, but the first since Texas Tech in 1993. Three other teams won two titles each while sporting a shade of red - Louisiana Tech (1982 and 1988), Southern California (1983 and 1984) and Stanford (1990 and 1992).
Tonight's crowd of 18,642 matches the record for a women's basketball game in the state of Massachusetts, first set Sunday night for the national semifinals.
At 6-foot-7, Duke junior C Alison Bales is believed to be one of the tallest players ever to participate in the Final Four. Texas' Ellen Bayer was the tallest (6-10 in 1987), followed by Old Dominion's Anne Donovan (6-8 in 1983) and Vanderbilt's Heidi Gillingham (6-8 in 1993). Other 6-7 players include: Connecticut's Kara Wolters (1995) and North Carolina's Gwendolyn Gillingham (1994).
FINAL FOUR GAME RECORDS
Duke attempted just three three-point field goals this evening, tying for the sixth-fewest in a Final Four game. Three teams have failed to make a trey in a Final Four contest (Auburn in its 1989 semifinal vs. Louisiana Tech; Tennessee in its 1989 semifinal vs. Maryland; Auburn vs. Tennessee in the 1989 title game).
Duke made 22 free throws in tonight's contest, which ties for eighth in Final Four history for a single game. The record is 34, held by Connecticut vs. Stanford in a 1995 semifinal affair.
Duke's 28 free throw attempts are tied for 10th in Final Four history. The current top mark was set by Connecticut, which tried 46 foul shots vs. Stanford in the 1995 national semifinals.
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME RECORDS
Maryland's 13-point comeback victory ties the second-largest in NCAA Championship Game history. In 1988, Louisiana Tech rallied from 14 points back to defeat Auburn, 56-54. In 1983, Southern California came from 13 points behind to knock off Louisiana Tech, 69-67.
Tonight's three-point margin ties for the sixth-closest title game ever in the NCAA Championship Game. North Carolina edged Louisiana Tech, 60-59 in 1994, while four other games were decided by two points or less (USC 69, Louisiana Tech 67 in 1983; Louisiana Tech 56, Auburn 54 in 1988; Texas Tech 84, Ohio State 82 in 1993; Notre Dame 68, Purdue 66 in 2001). In addition, Tennessee defeated Virginia, 70-67 in overtime in 1991.
The combined 153 points scored tonight ranks fifth in an NCAA final. The record is 178 points (Texas 97, Southern California 81) in 1986.
Duke's 22 free throws made ties the Blue Devils for third in national championship game history (record: 31 by Stanford vs. Western Kentucky in 1992), while their 28 foul shots attempted is tied for fifth in the NCAA final (record: 37 by Stanford vs. Western Kentucky in 1992).
Maryland junior G Shay Doron went 6-for-6 from the free throw line, tying for the fourth-best foul shooting performance in the NCAA Championship Game. Texas Tech's Sheryl Swoopes holds the all-time title contest record by going 11-for-11 at the stripe vs. Ohio State in 1993.
FINAL FOUR TWO-GAME RECORDS
Maryland scored 158 combined points in this year's Final Four, tying for 10th in the record book with Notre Dame (2001). The record of 187 combined points was established by Texas in 1986.
Maryland's 43 free throws in the two-game series earns the Terps a share of fourth place in Final Four history with Tennessee (1991) and Notre Dame (2001). Connecticut has the top spot with 52 foul shots made in 1995.
Duke's 13 blocked shots at the Final Four are third all-time for the two-game set (record: Notre Dame with 16 in 2001).
Maryland committed 42 turnovers in the two-game series, tying for the third-highest total in Final Four history with Western Kentucky (1992). Southern California (1983) and Tennessee (2000) share the record with 44 giveaways.
Maryland was whistled for 43 personal fouls in this year's Final Four, making the Terrapins one of four teams tied for fifth in the record book (most recently: Auburn in 1989). Western Kentucky is first after being assessed 59 fouls in 1992.
Duke junior C Alison Bales blocked nine shots in this year's Final Four, tying for third on the all-time list with Tennessee's Teresa Geter (1998) and Michelle Snow (2000). The two-game record is 12 by Notre Dame's Ruth Riley in 2001.
Maryland freshman G/F Marissa Coleman had 28 rebounds in two games, ranking fourth in the Final Four record book. Old Dominion's Tracy Claxton, who had 37 rebounds in 1985, holds the record.