N. Carolina challenging Maryland after Tennessee win
Posted: Monday December 4, 2006 12:26PM; Updated: Monday December 4, 2006 1:14PM
It may be early in the season, but North Carolina proved Sunday it has all the pieces to contend for a second consecutive spot in the Final Four. After breezing through a lightweight schedule, the Tar Heels tackled a tougher opponent, Tennessee.
The results were the same -- a win.
The Tar Heels out-rebounded Tennessee and forced 24 turnovers. It all led to the to the fast-break pace the Tar Heels love to play, and a 70-57 win that will keep them No. 2 spot of this week's rankings. Look out Maryland.
NCAA Basketball Power Rankings
Maryland Terrapins (9-0)
Maryland just keeps on rolling. Marissa Coleman was in championship form on Saturday. She came through with the program's first triple-double: 15 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. Those 10 assists are also another example of the unselfish play that makes the Terrapins so successful. They're averaging 21.1 assists as a team.
Next three: 12/04 vs. Sienna; 12/06 at Northern Iowa; 12/10 at Temple
North Carolina Tar Heels (8-0)
As long Erlana Larkins, Ivory Latta and Camille Little are on the floor, the Tar Heels have a chance. The trio produced 40 points and 23 rebounds in Sunday's win over Tennessee. Little snatched four steals that helped lead to some easy points for Carolina, which shot 59 percent in the second half.
Next three: 12/06 vs. Wofford; 12/10 vs. Western Carolina; 12/16 vs. South Carolina State
Oklahoma Sooners (6-0)
The Sooners haven't played on their home court since the State Farm Classic on Nov. 12. Doesn't matter, they're still winning. Their time on the road will only prepare them further for a bigger goal -- the NCAA tournament. With Courtney Paris coming off her 34th consecutive double-double, there's no reason to think they won't get there.
Next three: 12/07 at South Carolina; 12/10 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff; 12/17 vs. Northern Colorado
Tennessee Lady Vols (6-1)
Yes, Tennessee lost its first game. But a loss at North Carolina isn't enough to make me drop the Lady Vols. I'd pick Candace Parker and Tennessee over any team behind them in these rankings. So, yes, they're staying put. Parker continued to show why she's the most complete player in the country on Sunday with 27 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks against UNC.
Next three: 12/05 vs. Tennessee-Martin; 12/07 vs. George Washington; 12/17 at Texas
Duke Blue Devils (6-0)
Guard Abby Waner continues to grow in her role at Duke. She leads the team in scoring (15.2 ppg) and steals (25). Her accuracy from the field isn't bad either. Waner is hitting 54 percent of her shots and 46 percent from three-point range. But the Blue Devils are getting solid production from just about everyone. Seven players are averaging at least four rebounds and four starters are in double digits on offense.
Next three: 12/04 at Rutgers; 12/07 vs. Vanderbilt; 12/10 vs. Texas