Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 19, 2004
Meanwhile, across the country ...
The Vols find themselves in a familiar spot: No. 1. Tennessee lost to UConn in the national championship game last year and is the favorite to win the crown this year.
Sophomore All-America candidate Tiffany Jackson has the Longhorns poised to break down the door of Tennessee and Connecticut's dual women's college hoops dynasty.
Seimone Augustus could be women's college basketball's answer to the departure of Diana Taurasi and Alana Beard. She's probably the most talented player in the nation and is the chief reason the Tigers are No. 2.
Will surely miss National Player of the Year Taurasi, but head coach Geno Auriemma always has the Huskies contending for a title, as evidenced by the last two championships.
Tina Taylor, Katie Frye and Jessica Pierce make up a strong core for the Bulldogs and could give Tennessee a run at the SEC title.
The suspension of Lindsey Harding coupled with the departure of Beard will make it tough on the Blue Devils to return to the Final Four.
One of only two Pac-10 teams in the AP poll; will have to cope with the loss of All-American Nicole Powell.
Texas's biggest challenge in the Big 12. The Bears reached the Sweet Sixteen last season with a load of underclassmen.
9. North Carolina
A very athletic team that could make the rivalry between the Tar Heels and Blue Devils just as competitive on the women's side as it is on the men's.
10. Notre Dame
The Irish are just a few years removed from a national title and Jacqueline Batteast will play a huge factor in Notre Dame's return to national prominence.
10. Ohio State
Tied with Notre Dame for 10th, the Buckeyes are the best the Big Ten had to offer. Youth could be the Buckeyes' one downfall.
12. Texas Tech
Bobby Knight might get all the press at Texas Tech, but the women's team is the one who should get all the attention this year.
This team made a late-season charge last year and went deep into the NCAA tournament. If they can build off that success, they could be trouble for opponents this season.
Janel McCarville is rebounding from a broken hand but should return to her All-American status and will have a big say in how far the Gophers go this year.
15. Michigan State
Another Big Ten team with plenty of talent. The Spartans return all five starters from a NCAA tournament team that defeated Arizona in the first round last year.
What the Big Ten lacks in a top-tier team, they make up for in depth. Purdue is one of five teams from that conference in the top 25.
This team had one of the best incoming classes in the nation and will need all the help they can get with the early loss of one of the best point guards in the nation, Cappie Pondexter.
18. Boston College
The Eagles play a good team game, but much was lost with the departure of Amber Jacobs.
19. Kansas State
The Wildcats are solid from behind the arc and could pose trouble for any top-ranked team if they get hot from three-point land.
Khara Smith is working her way into the national spotlight as Depaul does the same.
21. Penn State
The Lions took a huge hit when Reicina Russell transferred to Georgia; a lot of the team's success depends on they deal with that loss.
The Big 12 is another conference loaded with depth and the Sooners just added to the league's competitive nature.
The Terps need good production out of their freshman and need more quality play out of their young backcourt.
The co-Pac-10 reigning champs return one of the best inside-out combos in the nation with Dee-Dee Wheeler and Shawntinice Polk. Two first-round exits have the Wildcats hungry for a longer NCAA run.
25. Louisiana Tech
This team used to be in the top 10 every year, but have fallen a bit lately. The Techsters have looked shaky in their preseason contests.