Barmore announced his retirement last spring only to have his golden years come to an end 26 days later when school officials asked him to return following the sudden departure of longtime assistant and heir apparent Kim Mulkey-Robertson, who took the coaching job at Baylor. Overcoming the departure of four starters would have been tough enough, but that loss was compounded in September when star sophomore power forward Catrina Frierson suffered a season-ending ACL injury during a pickup game. Barmore needs junior centers Takeisha Lewis and Ayana Walker to be not merely good but outstanding. "There's no doubt that this team has talent and will at some point be in the Top 10," he says. "If people write us off now, they may see us at the end."
Perhaps. More likely, folks will be looking at Auriemma to make good on his guarantee and win his third national title. "We have everybody back from a team that won it all, and we've added a couple of good players," says Auriemma. "If everybody does what they are capable of doing, then we should win it all."