For the first time since the NCAA embraced women's sports in 1981-82, the state of Utah will send three teams to the 12-team national finals field. Top-ranked, second-seeded Utah will be accompanied to the NCAA finals Friday and Saturday at Tuscaloosa, Ala., by sixth-ranked, ninth-seeded BYU and seventh-ranked, 11th-seeded Utah State.

"It's great for the state," says Utah Coach Greg Marsden, whose team will be profiled later this week in the Deseret News. "I know the Southeast Conference is excited to get five teams in there, but I think it's even neater to have three teams from the same state."What I'm most excited about," Marsden says, "is I've known Ray (USU's Corn) and Brad (BYU's Cattermole) a long time, and I'm really plased to see their programs continue to develop."

Marsden says it helps the Utes to have nearby natural rivals who are competitive because it brings out fans and trims the travel budgets.

And now it gives the state some bragging rights. - Linda Hamilton