LSU has a mighty one-two punch in senior guard Allison Hightower (14.9 points) and sophomore forward LaShonda Barrett, who was the league's co--freshman of the year (11.4 points, 5.7 rebounds). If a third scoring option emerges, the defensive-minded Lady Tigers, who led the SEC in fewest points allowed (52.4) for the fifth straight year, will be a tough out.
10 Each spring TENNESSEE coach Pat Summitt takes a two-week sojourn to her vacation home in Destin, Fla., but this year's trip included a third week—the better to get past the Lady Vols' first-round loss in the NCAA tournament. Junior sharpshooter Angie Bjorklund (40.8% on three-pointers) and sophomore guard Shekinna Stricklen (13.3 points) should provide enough offense to prevent another postseason meltdown. "Last year some of our players could not handle being challenged," says Summitt. "Now I think they understand they are going to be challenged—and they are going to have to step up and meet the challenge."
TEAM // CONFERENCE // RETURNING STARTERS
11 NORTH CAROLINA / ACC / 2 /
With forward Jessica Breland unlikely to play after undergoing treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma, much is expected of freshmen Krista Gross, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Cierra Robertson-Warren.
12 TEXAS / BIG 12 / 3 /
The Longhorns have a talented backcourt in senior Brittainey Raven (13.4 points) and junior Kathleen Nash (11.4), but the development of freshman center Cokie Reed is the key to a deep run.
13 DUKE / ACC / 2 /
Duke's streak of 11 consecutive trips to the Sweet 16 ended last season, but a new one should begin if junior guard Jasmine Thomas (10.2 points) has anything to say about it.
14 MIDDLE TENNESSEE ST. / SUN BELT / 5 /