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      A Washington Coach Cheers For Washington
      Byline: Kathy Orton Special to The Washington Post
      Edition: FINAL
      Section: Sports

      PHILADELPHIA, March 31 --
          H.D. Woodson girls basketball coach Bob Headen wasn't able to
      go to the Final Four in 1995, when one of his former players, Jamelle
      Elliott, helped Connecticut win it all.

        But now that another of his former players, Rutgers guard
      Karlita Washington, is in the Final Four, Headen made sure to make the
      drive to Philadelphia.

        Headen, wearing the Scarlet Knights' colors of red and black,
      sat in the stands next to Washington's mother, Meriam, videotaping the
      event.

        "I want to make a souvenir tape for Karlita," he said.

        Headen has been to four Final Fours and was honored by the WBCA
      at the 1998 Final Four for his 500th win as a high school coach.

        Washington "was talented when I first met her," Headen said.
      "She's gotten better every year."

        Two rows up from the Washington cheering section was Rutgers
      sophomore forward Davalyn Cunningham's contingent, which included her
      parents, Ronald and Searcy, and brother Dante. Ronald Cunningham
      brought a sign for her daughter, who graduated from St. John's, that
      read: "Faith and Destiny. Davalyn Cunningham. #44."

        "I always tell her about perseverance, working hard," he said.
      "These are the benefits."

        Now Dishing Words

        Hillary Howard played in the national championship game last
      season as the point guard for Duke, which lost to Purdue. Howard was
      back in the Final Four this year, covering the games as a reporter for
      an Internet site.

        "It's different. I'd rather be out there playing," Howard said.
      "I'm sure I'll be a little antsy."

        Howard planned on continuing her career playing overseas in
      Germany or Italy, but a stress fracture in her left foot forced her
      "to find a job." Though she majored in history, the transition to
      sports writing wasn't difficult.

        "It's a new experience, but my sports background helps," she
      said.

        Media Frenzy

        The NCAA issued 669 credentials for the women's Final Four,
      most ever in the history of the tournament, officials said. The number
      exceeds the credentials issued for the 1997 Stanley Cup finals and the
      U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1998, said a spokesman for
      Comcast-Spectacor, owner and operator of the First Union Center.

        "We expected a lot of media, and having Rutgers and Penn State
      here just added to it," said Cathy Andruzzi, executive director of
      Philadelphia Women's Basketball 2000, the host committee for the Final
      Four.

        Finally . . .

        Spotted in the Penn State cheering section were several
      Immaculata nuns, including the woman who was the first-grade teacher
      for Nittany Lions Coach Rene Portland. Portland played for and was an
      assistant coach at long-ago women's power Immaculata College. . . .

        Following a recent fashion trend, the Rutgers players all wore
      black headbands. They first wore the headbands when they beat Georgia
      in the West Regional final in Portland, Ore. . . .

        Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt surpassed New Mexico men's coach
      Lou Henson and moved into 14th place in career coaching victories. In
      her 26th season, Summitt has a record of 728-149. The only woman ahead
      of her is Texas Coach Jody Conradt at 746-235. . . .

        George Washington's Elisa Aguilar and Virginia's Rene Robinson
      will participate in Saturday's WBCA all-star challenge. George
      Washington Coach Joe McKeown will coach one of the teams.

      Keywords: News National / Sports/Women's College Basketball

      Kathy Orton Special to The Washington Post, A Washington Coach Cheers For Washington. , The Washington Post,
      04-01-2000, pp D06.