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Hey basketball fans, let's not forget about the women
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Allow me to take a moment to acknowledge the NCAA women's basketball tournament has been just as exciting as the men's tournament.

Sadly, nobody is paying much attention.

For the uninformed, the women's Final Four is today, featuring the top programs in the country.

The teams consist of No. 1 seeded Connecticut (36-1, 15-1 Big East), who is led by All-America and Collins Hill graduate Maya Moore (17.8 PPG). Her squad faces No. 3 seeded Stanford (34-3, 16-2 PAC-10) and three-time All-America Candice Wiggins (20.2 PPG).

Two SEC champions will also square off - No. 1 seeded Tennessee (34-2, 16-1) and No. 2 seeded LSU (30-8, 10-4). The Lady Volunteers are led by All-America Candace Parker (21.6 PPG), while the Lady Tigers are led by All-America center Sylvia Fowles (16.9 PPG).

Yet while filling out my men's bracket, I ignored the fact that women's basketball was still going on strong. But I'll be the first to admit I don't watch a lot of women's hoops because they play so well fundamentally that it gets boring really quick.

Let's face it: Women who play basketball tend to show more intelligence and discipline when it comes to ball control, defense and working toward getting the better shot.

On the other hand, fans pay to see that high-flyingslam dunk, hopig to experience that pure adrenaline rush.

Somewhere Dr. James Naismith, inventor of basketball, is turning over in his grave regarding the evolution of his beloved sport.

However, he must be smiling on women's basketball because it has stayed true to what he intended it to be - a game that develops the body and mind.

But when was the last time you filled out a women's bracket?

My point exactly.

Female basketball players are great students of the game and possess an immense deal of character both on and off the court. It is quite rare in women's hoops that you hear of a player in trouble with the law, disciplined for breaking team rules or being academically ineligible.

According to the NCAA graduation success rates, 97 percent of women's basketball teams graduate, compared to just 52 percent for men's.

So it is only fair to make as much noise about the women's tournament. And it is only fair, particularly from a media standpoint, to create enthusiasm for both; it's the right thing to do and a shame we do it as infrequent.

Besides the four remaining teams left, other programs, especially those located within the state of Georgia, enjoyed successful runs this year.

The Georgia Lady Bulldogs (22-8 overall, 9-6 SEC) were not only as good as their male counterpart, but they also advanced to the second round of the NCAA women's tournament.

Honestly, they made a lasting impression on me, and I was soon reminded that these ladies have definitely got game.

In fact, former Newton High standout Brittany Carter showed great potential in her freshman debut for Georgia this season.

The Covington News 2006-2007 All-County Player of the Year competed in 14 contests (7.4 minutes per game), averaging 3.4 points and 1.6 rebounds.

Meanwhile, the Georgia Tech Lady Yellow Jackets (22-10, 7-7 ACC) also displayed mad skills on the floor, earning them a spot in the big dance, if only to fall to Iowa State in the first round.

Three of Georgia's smaller schools this season have made incredible runs in their respective tournaments.

Gulf South Conference representatives West Georgia (25-5, 9-1) and Valdosta State (26-6, 9-3) participated in the Division II tournament, with both falling in the second round.

Oglethorpe University, my alma mater, went 27-7 overall, reaching the Division III Final Four for the first time in school history. It ended the season ranked sixth in the nation by

My best friend, Darrel Quinn, who is a hoops fanatic, has mentioned on several occasions that basketball is a universal game of patience, finesse and passion.

Sticking with that, I'm going to watch the women's Final Four today. After all, it's good to come across a lost art in sports every once and awhile.

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