KNOXVILLE, TENN. The ceiling at Thompson-Boling Arena would be crowded if the Tennessee Lady Vols hung a banner for all their trips to the Final Four. There already are six national title banners squeezed up there, and coach Pat Summitt would like to make room for another.
But as she prepares for her 16th Final Four, Summitt still believes that just making the national semifinal is a great accomplishment -- no matter whether the Lady Vols win or lose.
"I'm proud of the teams that have been there and played in championship games and just got us to the Final Four. That's no easy task," she said Thursday. "I think sometimes when you're in the role we're in, people think if you don't win a championship, you've somehow failed. That's not true."
The Lady Vols (30-4) face Michigan State (32-3) in the national semifinals Sunday, while LSU and Baylor meet in the other game.
Tennessee last won it all in 1998, but has come up emptyhanded in four trips to the Final Four since then, losing to Connecticut in the title or semifinal game each time.
"There's no shame to playing in a national-championship game and losing to a team that has really been dominant for the last three years like a Connecticut," Summitt said. "I think you have to accept it for what it is and then try to keep getting back there. Because if you get back there enough times, hopefully you put yourself in a position to win."