By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN Women’s Hoop Notebook
CONNECTICUT — With Selection Sunday just over a week away, we take a look at the top contenders for the Women’s NCAA Championship. Here’s how we see it.
1. UConn: This is one of the strongest UConn teams in history. They have possibly the best freshman in the history of women’s college basketball in Maya Moore. She has poise, intelligence and deft shooting touch from the outside. Tina Charles is a great inside scoring threat and Renee Montgomery is a top guard. Geno Auriemmo is the best coach in women’s college basketball history.
2. Tennessee: They have the best player in the college game in Candace Parker and one of the best coaches of all time in Pat Summitt. They have struggled in stretches this season but are the defending national champions and have most of the pieces of that national championship puzzle in place.
3. Maryland: The Terps along with LSU are the deepest teams in the country. Maryland is led by guard Kristi Tolliver who can score from the inside and from the outside. Their coach Brenda Frese is back at full strength after delivering twins in February.
4. North Carolina: Erlana Larkins is a huge threat inside. She has come up big in some of the biggest games. North Carolina was a Final Four team last year under Sylvia Hatchell and have most of those parts back this year. They played UConn to a very tough game at Gampel earlier in the season.
5. Rutgers: They were the national runners-up last season and if they had not lost veteran player Myia McCurdy they would be a threat to win it this year. They have beaten UConn and play the vaunted number 55 press. McCurdy was key to that press. They still have the best senior duo in the country in Essence Carson and Mate Ajavon. Sophomore Epiphanny Prince is one of the top scorers in the country as is evidenced by her second half performance against UConn at the Rutgers Athletic Center in February.
6. Stanford: Candace Wiggins is one of the best guards in the country. Stanford is deep but they are anchored by a lot of youth. They have beaten Rutgers and Tennessee and lost badly to UConn. They can probably put together four strong games but it is doubtful that they can put together six to win it all.
7. Baylor: Once again a deep and veteran team but a team that historically has lost the big one in the NCAA Tournament. Look for them to be an Elite Eight team. They could advance further if their outside shooting is as strong as it has been in spurts throughout this season.
8. Oklahoma: The Paris Twins are as tough as they come underneath. Oklahoma’s outside shooting has been suspect and they have been prone to a lot of turnovers this season. They haven’t beaten any of the truly top teams in the country but do have a top coach in Sherri Coale who has been there before. They could surprise and make it to the Final Four. They are probably not a National Championship team as evidenced by their upset loss to Texas this past weekend.