A PROGRAM ON THE
Here's an unusual
Bluegrass tune: This season the Kentucky women's team had as many wins as the
school's heralded men's squad. Women's coach Mickie DeMoss, 50, who went to 13
Final Fours and was a part of six national champions at Tennessee as an
assistant under Pat Summitt, has built a Top 25 program in just three years in
Lexington. The Wildcats went 22-9--their best record since 1989-90--and earned
a tournament berth for the first time in seven years. ( Michigan State
eliminated Kentucky 67-63 in the second round.)
Look for the
Wildcats to take another step forward next season. Six of their top seven
scorers are back, including 6'6" sophomore center Sarah Elliott, who had 22
points and 11 rebounds against Chattanooga in the first round, and point guard
Carly Ormerod, Kentucky's 2005 Miss Basketball, who averaged 9.4 points as a
freshman. Joining them this fall will be 6'1" forward Arnika Brown, the
front-runner for Kentucky's 2006 Miss Basketball award.
ALISON BALES, C,
You want efficiency in the paint? The 6'7" junior shot 76.2% from the field
(16 of 21) in the Blue Devils' first three tournament games and also averaged
8.0 rebounds and 4.3 blocks.
BROOKE SMITH, C,
The 6'3" junior renowned for her hook shot--she's called Brooke the
Hook--scored a career-high 35 points (14 of 16 shooting) in a Sweet 16 win over
Courtney Paris and Oklahoma.
SHONA THORBURN, G,
The 5'10" senior averaged 16.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists in the
Utes' run to the Elite Eight. In a second-round win over Arizona State she
nearly had a triple double (24 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists).
KRISTI TOLIVER, G,
Teammate Crystal Langhorne, a sophomore forward, may be the tournament's
breakout star, but Toliver has handled the point like a pro in leading the
Terps to the Final Four. The 5'7" freshman had 12 assists in Maryland's
opener and then scored a career-high 28 points in the elite Eight win over
WISDOM-HYLTON (left), F, Purdue
The 6'2" sophomore averaged 15.3 points--5.6 above her average entering the
tournament--and 4.0 steals in leading the Boilermakers to the Sweet 16 and a
near upset of top-ranked North Carolina.