All-women crew officiates women's Final Four for first time

DALLAS -- The NCAA has an all-women officiating crew working the national semifinals and championship game at the women's Final Four this weekend.

It's the first time that's ever happened, according to the organization. The NCAA is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX this year.

"We celebrate this accomplishment with all of those who paved a way and broken barriers as we play our role in growing this great game," NCAA coordinator of officials Penny Davis said.

Dee Kantner will be officiating her 26th Final Four while Lisa Jones will be doing her 11th. It's the first Final Four for Katie Lukanich and Tiara Cruse.

The officiating crew has a combined 293 seasons of Division I experience that includes 48 Final Four and national championship assignments. Nine of the 11 women have played college basketball, including seven former Division I players.

"I hope that the student-athletes and fans see these women as an inspiration and the opportunity to contribute to the game through officiating," Davis said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.