Friday, March 21, 2003

Women: Midwest Regional team capsules



1. Duke (31-1)

Atlantic Coast Conference

Coach: Gail Goestenkors

Top players: G Alana Beard, F Iciss Tillis, G Vicki Krapohl

Comments: The Blue Devils were No. 1 before losing to UConn on their home floor Feb. 1. Behind Beard and Tillis, the two best players in the ACC, Duke won its fourth straight ACC Tournament title.

2. Texas Tech (26-5)

Big 12 Conference

Coach: Marsha Sharp

Top players: F Plenette Pierson, G Gia Perkins, G Erin Grant.

Comments: Pierson and Perkins made the Big 12 first team for the Raiders, who were first in the conference in scoring offense and rebounding. Grant, a freshman, runs the floor.

3. Mississippi State (23-7)

Southeastern Conference

Coach: Sharon Fanning

Top players: F LaToya Thomas, G Tan White, G Rebecca Kates

Comments: Thomas, who led the SEC in scoring (25.4) for the fourth consecutive season, is the first Bulldog to be named the SEC's Player of the Year. State posted its best regular-season record in history.

4. Rutgers (20-7)

Big East Conference

Coach: C. Vivian Stringer

Top players: G Cappie Pondexter, G Mauri Horton, G Chelsea Newton

Comments: Stringer's teams usually excel on defense, but these Knights have won with offense as well. Pondexter, one of the top point guards in the country, was the Big East's Rookie of the Year.

5. Georgia (19-9)

SEC

Coach: Andy Landers

Top players: F Christi Thomas, G Alexis Kendrick, C Kara Braxton

Comments: The Bulldogs, picked in the preseason top 10, got off to a slow start before turning it on in the second half. The young team (six freshmen and sophomores) came together behind Thomas' leadership.

6. New Mexico (22-8)

Mountain West Conference

Coach: Don Flanagan

Top players: C Jordan Adams, F Chelsea Grear, G Mandi Moore

Comments: The Lobos won the MWC Tournament and earned their second straight trip to the NCAAs. Jordan, a 6-foot-3 senior, has a strong game at both ends of the court.

7. UC Santa Barbara (26-4)

Big West Conference

Coach: Mark French

Top players: Lindsay Taylor, Jess Hansen, Kristen Mann

Comments: The Gauchos won their seventh straight Big West title, and they also beat Purdue and took LSU to three overtimes before losing. Taylor, a 6-8 center, was the Big West Player of the Year.

8. Utah (23-6)

MWC

Coach: Elaine Elliott

Top players: F Kim Smith, G Shona Thorburn, C Carley Marshall

Comments: The Utes rebounded from their lowest conference finish in history last season, led by the versatile 6-1 Smith, a Canadian national team player who was the MWC Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.

9. DePaul (22-9)

Conference USA

Coach: Doug Bruno

Top players: F Jenni Dant, G Khara Smith, C Jamie Smith

Comments: The No. 3 team in C-USA played a tough schedule and went undefeated at home. Bruno, who has taken DePaul to the NCAAs nine times since 1988, has one of his deepest teams. Khara's cousin Charlene is a big contributor.

10. Xavier (20-9)

Atlantic 10 Conference

Coach: Kevin McGuff

Top players: G Amy Waugh, G Reetta Piipari, F Tara Boothe

Comments: The senior backcourt of Waugh and Piipari led Xavier to a solid, 20-win season that ended in the A-10 semifinals. Rookie head coach McGuff, a former Notre Dame assistant, is a good fit for the school.

11. Miami (18-12)

Big East

Coach: Ferne Labati

Top players: G Tamara James, G Meghan Saake, G Yalonda McCormick

Comments: An upset of Rutgers and a close game with Villanova in the Big East Tournament made the 'Canes a surprising seventh Big East team to get in. James, a sensational freshman, led the conference in scoring.

12. UNC Charlotte (21-8)

C-USA

Coach: Katie Meier

Top players: F Alicia Abernathy, G Peaches Harris, G Monica League

Comments: Second-year coach Meier guided the 49ers to their first Conference USA regular-season title and first NCAA appearance. The 49ers start two freshmen and a sophomore.

13. Western Kentucky (22-8)

Sun Belt Conference

Coach: Mary Taylor Cowles

Top players: F Shala Reese, F Leslie Logsdon, G Tiffany Porter-Talbert

Comments: Western proved it was for real when it upset Louisiana Tech in its opener. The Lady Toppers, under former player and coach Cowles, won their first Sun Belt championship in eight years.

14. Manhattan (20-9)

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

Coach: Sal Buscaglia

Top players: G Siobhan Kilkenny, F Rosalee Mason, G Tiffany Schettig

Comments: Kilkenny is from Ireland, Mason from London and Serra Sangar, another starter, is from Hungary. The Jaspers head into their first NCAA Tournament since 1996 having won 17 of their last 18.

15. SW Missouri State (18-12)

Missouri Valley Conference

Coach: Katie Abrahamson-Henderson

Top players: G Kari Koch, G Jenni Lingor, F Meg Tierney

Comments: The Bears knocked off Creighton and Indiana State to take their fifth conference tournament title and make the NCAAs for the 11th time. Koch, a freshman, and Lingor, a sophomore, provide the points.

16. Georgia State (20-10)

Atlantic Sun Conference

Coach: Lea Henry

Top players: F Evita Rogers, G Angelina Miller, F Holly Coates

Comments: Georgia State turned back UCF to win its third consecutive conference title. The Panthers have tournament experience with four returning starters, including senior stars Rogers and Miller.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel




UC BEARCATS
Gonzaga 74, UC 69
Referee to Machock: 'You're out'
Bobbitt wastes last shot
UC football staff set for 2003

XAVIER
Muskies planning to seize moment
Near upsets get XU's attention
Coach's intensity bringing out best in rookie Boothe

OTHER NCAA TOURNAMENT
Wildcats trying to keep their focus on IUPUI
Harper visits IUPUI
Daugherty: Crenshaw torn about playing during war
Satellite viewers at CBS' mercy
Three upsets and four that were close
East: Midgley shoots, California advances
Midwest: Tulsa upends Dayton; Wisconsin moves on
South: Okafor, UConn bounce BYU
West: Superior 'Zona handles exhausted Catamounts
NCAA Tournament at a glance

WOMEN'S REGIONAL TEAM CAPSULES
East | Mideast | Midwest | West

REDS / BASEBALL
How to customize your ballpark tour
Time for starters to take the field
Pirates 7, Reds 2
Bad outing good for closer Williamson
Players to decide on new All-Star format next week

NFL
Smith may return to Redskins

PREP SPORTS
Crusaders set sights on another crown
Boys state tournament goes as planned
High school hoops schedules

HORSE RACING
Favored Lion Tamer draws outside spot
Pins not all-access passes to Derby

GOLF
Tiger's spot not affected by mediocrity

PLAN YOUR DAY
Friday's sports on TV, radio