Lady Vols Fight Back Debuts March 26 A basketball dynasty. A dominating star player. A grueling regular season. A championship year. The Chicago Bulls? No, it's the Tennessee Lady Volunteers, gunning for their second consecutive NCAA women's basketball crown, and their fifth in a decade when the documentary special A CINDERELLA SEASON: THE LADY VOLS FIGHT BACK debuts THURSDAY, MARCH 26 (7:00-8:15 p.m. ET), exclusively on HBO.
Other playdates: March 29 (3:15 p.m.) and 30 (4:30 p.m.), and April 6 (10:15 a.m.) and 11 (9:45 p.m.).
In March 1996, the University of Tennessee women's basketball team completed a 32-4 dream season to win its fourth NCAA championship in nine years, creating high expectations for the next season. Combining on-court action and revealing behind-the-scenes footage, A CINDERELLA SEASON: THE LADY VOLS FIGHT BACK shows how the squad struggles through a disappointing regular season before regaining its championship form with a late-season string of heroics to take a second straight NCAA crown in March 1997 -- a feat no previous UT team had accomplished.
A CINDERELLA SEASON: THE LADY VOLS FIGHT BACK marks the first time a women's collegiate championship basketball team has been filmed over the course of an entire season. Jon Alpert and Maryann DeLeo were allowed unprecedented access to the team's players, coaches, families and friends, compiling eight months' worth of footage on court, on campus, and on the road during the arduous 39-game, 4-1/2 month-long season.
The architect of the Tennessee dynasty is head coach Pat Summitt, considered one of the finest basketball minds, male or female, of all time. In her 23 seasons with the Lady Vols, Summitt has won five NCAA titles (second only to John Wooden's ten), compiling a 625-143 record. Adding international teams (in 1984 she helmed the first U.S. women's basketball team to win Olympic gold), Summitt boasts a 688-147 record.
A key player in the Lady Vols' title run is All-American forward Chamique Holdsclaw, the 1997 USA Basketball Player of the Year. Sophomore sensation Holdsclaw and her teammates cope with the demands of being a student athlete, fighting a regular-season lethargy (10 losses) before regrouping in time to win their second consecutive championship on March 30, 1997, by defeating Old Dominion, 68-59.
A CINDERELLA SEASON: THE LADY VOLS FIGHT BACK was produced and directed by Jon Alpert and Maryann DeLeo, whose collective HBO credits include the documentaries "Life of Crime," "Rape: Cries from the Heartland," "Lock-Up: The Prisoners of Rikers Island," "High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell" and "Six Months to Live." Executive producers, Sheila Nevins and Ross Greenburg; co-executive producer, David Hoffman; supervising producer, Jacqueline Glover.