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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Five teams to watch in women’s NCAAs

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Detroit Free Press sports writer Mick McCabe picks his five favorite teams to cut down the nets at the Final Four in St. Louis.

Connecticut

The top-rated Huskies (33-0) should win NCAA title No. 6 for coach Geno Auriemma (690-120). UConn has been so dominant its two closest victories were 10-point wins over Notre Dame and Rutgers. As a team, UConn hits a remarkable 50.8% of its shots while its opponents make 32.8%. The Huskies have forced 150 more turnovers than they have committed.

Maryland

The Terps (28-4) have one of the best guards in the country in Kristi Toliver (18.4 points), who played so well in helping Maryland win the national title three years ago. No one in college basketball has a better step-back jumper.

Oklahoma

Besides a couple of recent losses to Texas A&M;, the Sooners (28-4) have had a terrific season, and who wants to see 6-4 Courtney Paris repay her scholarship as she promised if OU doesn’t win the NCAA title? Paris (16.4 points, 13.7 rebounds, 58.6%) is the most difficult player in the country to guard because she is so strong. Guard Danielle Robinson (12.8 points, 54.7%) can hit the mid-range jumper, and 6-3 Ashley Paris (12.7 points, 9.5 rebounds, 53.9%) is tough inside.

Duke

So this is why Joanne P. McCallie left Michigan State. The Blue Devils (26-5) run their offense through 6-5 center Chante Black (14.5 points, 8.5 rebounds), but have good scorers on the perimeter in guards Jasmine Thomas (10.2 points) and Abby Waner (9.8 points), an excellent playmaker.

Louisville

Two of the losses for the Cardinals (29-4) have been to No. 1 UConn, but those losses should help in the tournament. The offense revolves around 6-1 forward Angel McCoughtry (23.5 points, 9.3 rebounds), who scores inside and from the perimeter.

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